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January 19th, 2010 (7:27 AM).
Oatmeal? Are you CRAZY?!
In the middle of nowhere.
Belle stretched luxuriously, feeling like a Persian as she rolled over on her belly and pushed her borrowed sunglasses up on her head. Tomorrow was Alyssa’s graduation. Her week in Almia had been very fun—they had spent almost every morning out on the beach, and Alyssa had taken them on tours. They had even been up to Pueltown, a large, historic city. They had met Ian, and Belle was convinced that he was smitten with Alyssa. He couldn’t take his eyes off her. Belle looked over at her green-haired friend, lying on her back next to her.
“What?” Alyssa turned her head and blinked at Belle.
“Nothing,” Belle replied. She propped herself up on her elbow. “Are you excited about tomorrow?”
Alyssa sighed happily. Cassandra sat up on her other side. “You
“It’s bittersweet.” The graduating girl thrust her hands up to the air, examining her arms. “I mean, I’m so glad to be done with it all, but…there are so many memories in that school.”
“Where’s your uniform?” Cassandra asked, always concerned about clothes.
“It’s in my room. We have to wear them for the ceremony, and then, after that…no more.” Alyssa put her arms down and laid her hands on her stomach, pushing her fingernails into the fabric of her one-piece bathing suit.
Belle looked over at the beach. She and Cassandra had let their Pokemon out to play. Swifter and Swablu had taken to the skies; Swablu seemed to be teaching Swifter the graceful maneuvers she had learned from Cassandra. Finny swam around in a circle close to the shore. Poochyena sat with Charmy, who was too afraid to even go near the water, and Mankey sat by itself, focusing intensely on the sand castle it was making.
“Do you miss your family?” Alyssa asked suddenly. Belle and Cassandra both looked at her.
“Who?” Belle asked.
! You’re the only one of us that has actually gone off. You’re in a whole different region.” Alyssa turned her head to look at her. “Do you miss your mom and Derek?”
“Of course. But…my journey is something I have to do, so…I live with it.”
“But doesn’t it hurt?” Cassandra inquired softly. She had never been away from her family before. Her eyes were wide and scared.
Belle nodded. “Yeah.”
“Don’t you cry?”
“Sometimes,” Belle admitted. “But it’s not like I can stay with Mom and Derek forever, y’know? And it helps that I have a friend that takes my mind off it.”
“That Derrick kid?” Alyssa asked, pushing her sunglasses up and glancing sideways.
“By the end of it, that guy’s gonna be head-over-heels in love with you.” Alyssa put her sunglassses back over her face.
?” Belle spluttered, flabbergasted. Cassandra burst out laughing.
“No, I’m totally right,” Alyssa said. “Look at him
he’s already following you around like a lovesick Poochyena.”
Belle got to her feet. “He is not!” she yelled. “You’re wrong!”
“Why are you getting so defensive?” Cassandra pulled her legs up to sit cross-legged.
“Because that’s gross! Derrick’s just a friend. He’s got the same name as my
“That’d be awkward during sex,” Alyssa piped up.
Belle gasped. Cassandra burst out laughing and threw herself facedown on her towel.
“What?” Alyssa asked, removing her sunglasses and setting them beside her on the sand. “It
. Could you imagine? ‘Oh, Derek!’” she moaned, sitting up. “‘I-I mean,
.’ You’d have to pronounce them different.”
“Mankey!” Belle called, and the Pokémon came shooting to her side. She pointed at Alyssa. “Seismic Toss, into the water!”
“What?” Alyssa yelled as Mankey grabbed her. “Hey, no!” But Alyssa went sailing into the ocean, landing with a large splash. She surfaced, spitting water and laughing.
“Finny, Water Gun!”
The jet of water completely doused Belle. She spluttered and headed toward Cassandra, grabbing her and pulling her to her feet. “No, no!” Cassandra laughed, but Belle wrestled her to the shallow part of the water, where she threw her down. Alyssa came up to join them, and soon they were all playing in the water, laughing and splashing.
When the sun began to set, the three girls reluctantly packed up their things and walked back to Alyssa’s house, all their Pokémon follwing behind in a tired group, and unwittingly being stalked by one Zigzagoon.
Alyssa grinned out at everyone, clutching both sides of the podium for dear life and trying not to let them see how nervous she was. This whole giving-a-speech thing was a lot harder to do than it was to think about.
She had already addressed everyone
family, friends, significant others, and fellow graduates
and thanked all the staff. Now it was time for the most important part of her speech.
“In my years in the Ranger School, I learned many things. But perhaps the most important lesson is something that I didn’t learn from the teachers at all. This lesson is better explained through anecdotes.
“When I was very small, I heard that my brother had gotten an A on a test in the Ranger School. My parents were so happy and proud when they heard this. When I myself joined the Ranger School, I decided that I would get an A, so that my parents would be proud of me, too. They were ecstatic about my good grade, and I made it my mission to get as many good grades as I possibly could to make them happy. Now here I stand before you, valedictorian of my class.
“A very long time ago, my family took a cruise on the
. My mother told me to go play in the kiddie pool. That’s not a very exciting story, is it? Well, that was when I met my two best friends I’ve ever had. Ever since we met as three disgruntled nine-year-old girls forced to play in the kiddie pool, we’ve been as close as three people who live in different regions can be. They have been so important to me over the years.
“Once, last year, I saw a boy in the hallway drop his books and papers. I helped him pick them all up before I went on my way to class. Sound insignificant? Well, this boy turned out to be a year older than me and is currently a Ranger. He remembered my kindness, and now he will be an excellent mentor for me as I work hard at the Vientown Ranger Base.
“While on the beach not too long ago, I saw a Zigzagoon being chased by a Krabby. I helped a Ranger rescue the Zigzagoon. Surely, you say, that was just a random occurrence of no great importance. You would be wrong. That Zigzagoon now follows me everywhere. I have plans to make it my Partner Pokémon.
“So you see…the greatest lesson that I have learned comes not from the teachers here at the Ranger School, even though they are
educators. It comes instead from real-life experience. So remember this, fellow graduates, as you embark on your journeys; be careful with what you say, because the most seemingly random person can end up being instrumental in your future. Be careful about how you act, because the most seemingly insignificant situation can turn out to lead to something much greater.”
Alyssa wrapped it up with a generic “congratulations” speech and went back to her seat amid cheers and applause. Before she sat, she caught sight of Belle and Cassandra in the crowd, beaming as they clapped loudly.
Belle smiled down from her place astride Skarmory. “Sorry that we have to leave, but I have to get Cassandra back to Verdanturf.”
“I’m just sorry that I have to miss our little beauty’s first contest,” Alyssa replied.
Cassandra adjusted her legs more comfortably on Skarmory’s back. “I’m so excited,” she breathed. “I wish you could be there, too, Alyssa.”
Alyssa smiled. “Yeah, but I start my Ranger duties tomorrow. ”
“That uniform is adorable,” Cassandra remarked. Both she and Belle had
ed over the uniform as Alyssa had pulled it on, arranging the short jacket and pulling up the black thigh-highs. “That ponytail even looks good with it.”
Alyssa patted her sloppy ponytail with a frown. “What’s wrong with the ponytail?”
“Nothing,” Belle told her. “We can’t all spend tons of time on our hair, Cassandra.”
Cassandra smiled prettily. After a few more good-byes, Alyssa took several steps back and watched her friends’ ascent into the clouds. As they flew away, she wiped away a tear.
Hey you guys,
left my yard, but I’m sending this because I want it to be in your inbox waiting for you when you check your email. I couldn’t say any of this without crying.
It really means a lot to me that you guys took all that trouble to come and see me graduate. You two are my best friends in the world, and I probably wouldn’t be where I am today if you guys hadn’t coaxed me to do my best. I’m so glad that I met you, and I’m so happy you could be a part of one of the biggest things that’s happened to me
. I know that we’ll all be busy with our different things for a while, so we probably won’t get as much chance to talk. But I just want you both to know…even if we don’t get to contact each other very often, I love you guys. I love you guys so much, and I will always and forever think of you as my best friends.
Ah, if you could see me, you’d hug me…because I’m tearing up.
Love your mushy crybaby friend,
Joined Aug 2009
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