Memories and Wishes
Author’s note: _Luisa_ is my pet. The other pets mentioned in this story are imaginary, and any similarity to actual people or Neopets is coincidental. Enjoy!
I stare up at the night sky.
Up on this hill, the whole of it is visible, and the stars shine down at me. It is such a shame that their luster is lost in the turmoil of the city. So I come here, where it is quiet.
The night sky stares at me.
A shooting star passes. I have not seen one of those in years. The last time was… oh yes, it was back then…***
“Look Kyle! A shooting star!”
The last time I saw a shooting star, I was in the pound. I was a young Xweetok then, still a basic colour. I cannot even remember which one, there were no mirrors there after all.
There are many conflicting reports of this place. I think your impression of it depends on whether you break down or not. Yet in a way, they are all true. The pound is a dark place, very large, and very loud. It is crowded, and has long since become too large for its staff to handle properly. They do their best though. We are all fed, and we are put in cages together to try and combat loneliness. Of course, if your roommate is not talkative, you may grow lonely anyway. The nice Unis talk to us sometimes while on their rounds, just a quick hello or word of encouragement, but it helps to know that someone still cares, at least a little bit. And Dr. Death is not that bad either, once you get to know him.
I shared my cage with a withdrawn, older blue Xweetok. His actual name was too long to pronounce, so I just called him Kyle. He had been there much longer than I, and had started to act rather depressed.
“Aww, would it kill you to show a little interest? They’re supposed to grant wishes you know!”
He glanced up finally, but his face was gloomy. “If wishes actually came true, none of us would be in here.”
I hated it when he was right. It is really hard to stay cheerful when your only roommate is such a downer. I sighed and curled up on the thin little thing that was once a mattress, long since worn down by years of use.
“Why are you so happy anyway? No one ever comes back here.”
We had had this conversation before, but I replied anyway. “My mother always told me to never give in to sorrow. That, as long as I hold onto hope, that eventually things will eventually change for the better.”
He sighed and buried his face back in his tail fur. He never responded when I told him that. At first I thought that it was because he thought I was naive, but one day I caught him smiling to himself after I had said that and I realized that he liked hearing it. Maybe it gave him hope. Whatever the cause, I never failed to recite it when he asked. I smiled to myself and fell asleep, my same wish on my mind.
“Universe, please, let me and Kyle and all the pound pets find kind owners soon.”***
The next day brought a surprise. I had always known that these cages were supposed to have three pets each, but had never really expected a third pet in ours. But in she came, a prissy little pink Xweetok. She took one look at the sorry state of our cage and immediately demanded to be let out.
“Just what is this Snorkle-sty?! You dare to keep pets of my class in such conditions? I demand release! Do you not know who I am?!”
The pound employee sighed and walked away, which set the girl off on a rather lengthy rant. I did not have a clock, but I would be willing to bet that she yelled for over an hour. Kyle and I just buried our heads in our fur and waited for her to stop.
Eventually, she did. This was when she finally noticed us.
“Greetings. I am Jasmine Raine Aerisun Le Bel. I suppose that we will be roommates for a time.”
I exchanged a glance with Kyle, who answered her. “Nice to meet you. I am Kyle, and this is Luisa. Is it okay if we call you Jasmine?”
“Certainly. My full name is a bit long. I am afraid that we will likely not have much time to get to know each other, as one with my status is sure to be adopted swiftly.”
She daintily crossed to be third mattress, and after some huffing at it sat down. Well, at least she was nice. Could not say that I liked her attitude though. I would not be surprised if she did get adopted soon however; I had learned that “avatar colours” like pink and grey were very desireable.
Later, I took a glance at her nametag on the outside of the cage and saw that her name was actually just a “J” with several numbers after it. She must have come up with Jasmine based on that J, but I wondered where she came up with the rest of it.***
Despite her insistences that she would be adopted soon, Jasmine hung around for a rather long time. The part of the pound we were in was very far back after all, and I had heard that a Gelert two cages down had been there for five years despite having a good name.
One day, I was looking out the window again. Kyle was asleep.
“Look Jasmine! A shooting star!”
She gave no response, which was strange. Last time I had pointed out a shooting star to her, she had gone on about light and beauty for several minutes. I looked over and was startled to see her crying into her tail.
“Jasmine? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing is wrong Luisa. Go to sleep.”
“No, something is wrong! Tell me.”
She sniffled, wiped her face, and looked up. I sat down next to her. “It’s just… no one is coming for me, is there? I tried to stay positive, tried to tell myself that any day now my new owner would walk down that aisle, but…”
“Oh Jasmine, they will come. Some day.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Listen. When I was little, my mother told me not to cry, not to give into sorrow. You know why? Because sorrow is our greatest enemy. Or so she said. She said to always keep hope, and that as long as you keep hope alive, that one day things will change. Her advice has sustained me ever since I lost her. She told me once that shooting stars are actually the spirits of lost ones, looking down at us. Every time I see one, I can almost hear her whisper in my ear…”
“Wow, Luisa… That’s… really beautiful.” She smiled at me. “Thank you. I feel better.”
“Yes.” She went over to the window. “Maybe all the stars are spirits. All our ancestors, watching over us. So, even if we never leave here… we’re not alone, right?”
“Of course not.” I whipped around to see that Kyle had woken up. “We have each other. If one day we lose each other, then we will still have our memories. And the stars.” He smiled too.
So we spent the rest of that night looking at the stars. A new memory.***
One day, we did part. Jasmine was adopted first. She still called herself by that long name, but she had long since changed for the better. I went second, to my current home. I was now a Faerie Xweetok, with a loving family. Those days in the pound are like a distant dream. But like Kyle said, we will always have our memories.
I look up and see a shooting star.
I remember all the people I have had to say farewell to, and whisper to the sky: