I am Aqua: Part Five
Every week or so we’d go shopping on the weekends and each of us got to pick out something we wanted that was under a certain price. We walked through the Plaza, and when I passed the pound, I couldn’t suppress a shudder and a small tear in my eye of guilt and sadness about Dolphinoras.
We walked into Pizzaroo and I lifted my head to inhale the fresh and cheesy aromas. I spotted an empty booth, so I slid into it followed by Reeses and Flame. Pet, Lucky and Star sat on the other side. Pet got up and took out a couple thousand neopoints.
”Hey guys, what kind of pizza do you want?” She gave Lucky, who I learned was the oldest pet, the money. “All of you buy your pizzas and make sure you don’t buy anything overpriced.”
Lucky took the money, murmuring thanks, then we all shot off towards the counter with Pet waiting at the booth to make sure no one stole our seats while we were swooning over all the different pizzas. I ordered a Mega Pepper pizza while Star ordered a Pepperoni Olive Pizza; Lucky a small slice of Smiley Pizza, Flame ordered a slice of Spicy Taco Pizza and Reeses quickly ordered a caramel pizza slice which caused Lucky to make a face.
After we paid, we brought all our food to the table and gave the leftover money to Pet, who got up to get her own pizza. I bit into the peppery pizza and smiled as the flavor seeped into my mouth and the cheese burst with flavor. Ellen restricted me to a healthy diet- though I did get a treat every now and then. It was a bit tough to eat with my new mouth, but I managed.
Then I heard a slightly familiar laughing. I couldn’t quite place who it was; but I was sure I had known that laugh once ago. It was from a time where the food was ok but it could’ve been better- a place where no one was loved. My bright, wide green Shoyru eyes became even wider as I took in the one who produced the laugh. A certain, cheerful blue Flotsam I had known so well...
It was Dolphinoras.
I shrieked, then pushed over Reeses and Flame, surprising the other four. I ignored them and ran to the booth behind us. There, grinning in her usual and familiar hyper way, was Dolphinoras. And she had an owner. Surprise and happiness gripped me and I raced over to her, shouting Dolphinoras’ name. Recognizing my voice, she turned around in my direction, and then frowned, not realizing that green Shoyru sprinting towards her was me.
I beamed at her as I appeared before her. “Dolphinoras!! I’ve missed you so much!”
“Um, I’m sorry, who are you?” she asked slowly, her eyebrow rose in confusion.
“It’s me!! It’s Aqua!” And as I stated my name, Dolphinoras’ eyes went wide and with a childish squeal, she launched herself at me.
We hugged and laughed together as if we had been separated for years instead of months. Then my mind drifted to my broken A necklace. I had always thought of it, but I refused to look at the remnants for fear of recreating a verge of tears. My mind faltered, but I resumed my reuniting with Dolphinoras.
“Dolphinoras, you’ve been adopted!” I gushed happily. “And I’ve got legs!”
The Flotsam stared at me, giggling. “Yes, you’ve changed a lot!”
When I got home, I raced upstairs and dove into my bag. I didn’t use it anymore as Pet had gotten me a new one, but yet I kept it as a souvenir from long ago. I pulled out a silver framed mirror and flashed it up. A green Shoyru stared back at me.
I have changed.
I placed that carefully onto the space next to me. Then as I fumbled to grasp something, my hand closed around something square. I pulled out the photo album and flipped through it carefully, looking through my past. I took out everything until the only thing left inside was the broken necklace. Holding my breath, I plunged my hand into the bag and closed it around the pieces, feeling around to make sure I had all of it.
I withdrew it from the bag and stared at it in the sunlight that filtered in from the window. It glittered meekly, holding a large chunk of my past and hope that I so desperately once needed. I pulled it close to my chest and closed my eyes. I did not cry. Then I heard a shuffle of footsteps behind me. I turned around to face the open doorway.
It was Pet.
Pet looked at me, seeing all my lost and mixed emotions portrayed in my eyes. “Hey, do you want to fix that?” she asked me, glancing at the necklace.
I was speechless. “You mean... you’ll actually bring me all the way to Terror Mountain’s peak for me?”
“Sure, why not? I miss the cold weather. Get bundled up and we’ll go.”
Pet took a uni carriage this time and we flew to Terror Mountain. From the base of the large mountain, we trekked upwards to reach our destination. As I arrived at Donny’s toy shop, I couldn’t help but smile as the elderly Bori fixed a baby Kacheek’s toy ahead of us, causing the infant to smile and giggle happily.
“What seems to be the problem, young one?” he asked gruffly, and I took out from behind my back the broken necklace.
I was a tiny bit reluctant to give it over, but I did so anyway. “My necklace is broken.”
Donny nodded. “I can see that- I can fix it. Since I haven’t seen one of those in a while, I’ll fix it for free.”
”Oh, thank you!” I cried, and I couldn’t help it, I launched myself at the Bori, hugging him. “Thank you, Donny!!”
The old Bori nodded. “Sure.” He took the necklace and took out a series of tools.
Suddenly he gagged and coughed. We watched in confusion as he began to gag and sputter. Fearing the worst, I and Pet began hitting him on the back, but it was still a while before his coughs subsided. When he did, he quickly fixed my necklace, securing the A back to the chain perfectly. I hugged him once more and with thanks, went home with Pet.
I wore my necklace all the time, except when going to the lab in case it broke again. A couple zaps after the necklace was fixed, I turned into a boy again. Not wanting to battle with the scientist again, I coped with it. Lucky pitied me greatly and said that she was sorry I turned into a boy as she said that as girls we were much better. Star and Reeses responded with an insulted ‘Hey!’
My life was much better; I had grown accustomed to switching genders and being a green Shoyru. I almost forgot about my past; which made me quite ashamed. One day I woke up and intended to slam down the beeping alarm clock, but instead I hit the album of me and Ellen. My heart clenched as I looked down at our beaming faces; at my green Peophin smile and her bright, freckled and green-eyed and red-haired face.
I turned to the first page which said: A happy pair; forever there. And then below that line were our names written with flair in script in a handwriting I knew all too well as Ellen’s. Taking a deep breath, I flipped to the first and earliest page. My baby pictures were there. The first one was Ellen standing in front of the Create-a-Pet Centre, a small bundle in her arms. I noticed a small string of orange hair and a green hoof peeking out from beneath the snow white blanket. One of her old neofriends probably took the picture.
The picture below that was in our neohome and I assumed Ellen herself took the photo as she wasn’t in it. I was lying on my belly on our expensive carpet, my baby smooth skin glistening. A cyan pacifier stuck out of my mouth and a bib with a sun on it hung at my neck. Beside me was a tipped over baby bottle filled with milk. A small puddle of warm milk was seeping on the carpet. My small brown eyes were wide and reflected the camera’s flash and my small hooves looked so tiny.
I thought I could handle it, but a tear slipped down my cheek. I didn’t mind losing my Peophin form, but I minded losing Ellen. I flipped the page. I was sitting in my baby chair, a bowl of oatmeal flipped over on the mini table. I was smiling, baby food smeared all over my cheeks. The food had spilled out of the rose pink bowl and the spoon stuck up right in the mixture. My bib was also splattered with the food and I could just imagine Ellen laughing at the sight.
I fingered a peach blur at the corner of the picture. Ellen was still learning how to use this camera, but she accidentally got a small part of her finger on the lens. I wiped my eyes and froze as I caught sight of my hand. I shook my head; nothing was the same anymore. I sniffled and looked at the next picture. I was a toddler by then; and my bib was gone in this picture, though I still had my pacifier. I was dragging myself around; learning to move on my own. The tears came.
Slamming the book closed, I threw into the nightstand drawer and slammed it closed. Tears spilled down my cheek and I heard footsteps coming. Racing to the door, I shut it closed and locked it, my body pressed against the door. I hate my life. I hated what I had become. I wanted to be a green Peophin again, but slowly I learned something. I may not have been the same, but it didn’t matter. I began to sob loudly and cried like a storm. Tears splattered onto my lap as they slid down my green cheeks.
I wanted Ellen.
Someone began to bang on the door. I recognized Lucky’s startled voice, high and shrill, demanding to be let in. Then the pounding doubled and Lucky’s voice was joined by Pet’s. I slouched against the door, not uttering a single sound or word. Suddenly the door groaned, but didn’t open. Eyes wide, I admitted a single sigh of defeat, put on a happy face and opened the door.
To be continued...