Abandoned HopesA Story by CinderBows
Pocko, a once-blissful imaginary friend has been forgotten, and so wanders the streets of Saskatoon trying to find a purposeful meaning to his life, which has been defined by meloncholy memories.
They looked like orange flowers, moving with flashes like lightning. Zigging, zagging, engulfing everything in sight, leaving dust as the only evidence that such a tragedy took place. Your blurred vision darts from one place to the next, searching for one place that is still tranquil as it was only moments before, moments before the flames. When giggles and bliss were not yet scorched to ashes. You cannot run, there is no place to hide. Then the heat, you are overcome by the scalding, horrifying heat. There is no escape. Your knees weaken, and you fall to the floor. There is no hope, you have no strength but the voice in your head, yet it still screams. ‘You have to live! Don’t give up! Get up! Get up!!’
“GET UP!!” a familiar voice bellowed. Slowly, I raised my eyelids. Not to my surprise, I was greeted by three gigantic, dazzling, purple eyes staring back. Lazily, I rolled out of the damp tube sock I was sleeping in. My body awoke before my senses after that frightening dream. The first thing my nose clued into was the smell of charred mint. ‘Ah, Breakfast!’
As my vision began to refocus, I saw Teddy roasting a large wad of gum over a rusty BICK lighter ignited by Flea, as if the gooey substance were kabob meat on a spit. I don’t know what the creator of my wakeup call was thinking, for his image is nothing like his sweet, cuddly name depicts. Teddy looked more like a gigantic, ominous figure with rippling muscles that bulged through his grey-green hair, abundant with matted patches and dully coloured globs of chewed gum. Not something you wanted to snuggle. I hoped our breakfast wasn’t directly plucked from his 7-foot body! After all, Teddy’s not the most hygienic, the musty odour just adds to the whole ‘tough guy’ image. Although his bright violet eyes are quite adorable, it’s a shame he has three.
And Flea? Well, there’s not much to be described about him. Other than the fact that he’s living proof that pets do have imaginary friends, lonely ones at least.
Yes, you heard me correct. I am an imaginary friend, a mere figment of a child’s imagination. I can fondly remember the joyous times we used to have, but I seldom to do. It only adds more heartache to my melancholy state.
So, what am I doing here? Living in the lowliest alley-ways of a city brimming of cheery vibrance, surrounded by a variety of un-pleasant odours? Sleeping in tube socks and eating chewed gum for breakfast? I suppose you humans are too blunt to decipher the answer yourself.
Let us go a few years back, to when you were only a wee little being. When you thought everything revolved around yourself, the most narcissistic period in your life. The people who deny themselves ever being so self-absorbed, are only the more ignorant today.
Nonetheless, to every bad there is a good. For your most bratty stage was also your most imaginative stage. You see, any object a young child imagines becomes a reality. It’s just that adults (with their terribly bland minds) become too reluctant to admit that such things exist that they lost their imaginative reality completely. Why, I’m sure you clearly remember exclaiming: ‘Mommy! Look at the big, purple, polka-dotted dinosaur playing croquet while singing Whitney Houston on the lawn!’ Much to your frustration, she would always reply: ‘What nonsensical whimsy is that!?’ Yet, she would always peek out the window just to make sure that the ‘all-too-friendly’ neighbour wasn’t up to his loopy antics again. That was all a joke. No dinosaur would sing Whitney Houston, they all know Mariah Carey was where it’s at.
Anyhow, being the eccentric tot you were, you may have thought up an imaginary friend. For those of you who didn’t, be reassured that it was for the best. You don’t have to haul around the invisible guilt many do for all their lives. ‘What? What guilt? I have no shame! I treated my friend with the utmost respect and I had the most whimsical of times with him!’ If this is what you are thinking perhaps you should take a long minute to ponder what a crime you have committed. Where is your friend? Where is he? You forgot!? A creator abandoning his creation, a mother neglecting her child! Being more mature than you were then, you have better things to worry about than foreseeing the future of your pal, right? WRONG. Do you think we just go to imaginary heaven? Contented by joyful things that surround us? Wrong again. We stay, we watch in dismay as our only friend’s imagination dwindles down to nothingness. We observe as they find better things to do than explore through the flowerbeds that contain the most magical of creatures. After watching until too much sadness heavies us, we wander. We wander to find others, to find some use of our ridiculous-looking selves. Eventually, most find a job.
There are many opportunities for career to the abandoned. We do all things that you know happen, but never see, nor hear. Common jobs include: Filling in for the tooth fairy when she has a dentist appointment, making bumps and creeks in the night, or being that mysterious ‘thing’ your cat always seems to chase. However, some of the friends are so devastated from the neglect they’ve received that they exploit utter anger towards you humans. You blame angry creations for the following: Tangling your i-Pod headphones when you aren’t looking, removing the bookmark from the very thick book you are reading, and turning your cell phone on silent and hiding it. Yet some seek to find their purpose in this dull world. They search for a job to make themselves feel valued, a contribution to make this world a better place. I belong to this category.
Hello. Bonjour. Hola. Salaam. Those words all have the same purpose, to greet. It’s an unfortunate shame that I have to greet every day with sorrow and emptiness. Excuse me; I have forgotten to introduce myself. Not that anyone cares about me, my history, and my story to tell. Someone did once. But that was in the climax on my life, when every step was filled with bliss and prosper. But this is now, present, my grim reality. I was once the king of the mountain, but now that I have been pushed off the top, I lie at the bottom, lifeless, among many jagged rocks. Metaphorically, of course, though sometimes the pain is so real that it feels as if a sharp rock has been pushed into my heart.
I am Pocko. My creator was quite eccentric, for the strings of her imagination wove me together with the colours of black, yellow, blue and pink. I basically look like a doll made of yarn, with big black buttons for eyes and a tightly cross-stitched mouth, almost a voodoo doll of sorts. What kind of child would think of something as chilling as that? My child did and she had perfectly good reason to do so.
Jane was a 7-year-old girl with short, brown hair that was always neatly kept up in a ribbon and large, adoring, creamy-brown eyes. She lived on an acreage, in a quaint little house with two loving parents and a Border Collie named Lola. She had no siblings, and enjoyed adventuring through the tall fields with her faithful dog following behind. Everything was delightful until some reckless kids decided to light some fireworks in the nearby field. One happened to stray from their line of vision and hit the house. Everyone inside was killed in the fire except little Jane, who was found unconscious on the kitchen floor.
After the paramedics had revived her, they took her to the nearest orphanage. It was an old Victorian mansion, turned into a building for foster care. It was 4-stories tall with creaky floorboards, marble staircases, and very few windows. It was quite an eerie place for children, if you ask me.
Being an only child on a farm, Jane seldom saw children, and usually passed off the opportunity to go to a playground. She was very timid after the catastrophe (which is quite understandable), and kept to herself. But the aching loneliness was just too much, so she had to create a friend for her own.
Jane was one of the oldest children residing at the orphanage, so she created an imaginary friend at an earlier age then most. Nonetheless, I remember the joyful times we had sliding down banisters, playing hide-and-go-seek, and searching through the antique closets for treasure. That was nearly 70 years ago.
Quickly, I began noticing changes in Jane’s character. Then, on her eleventh birthday, she got taken away. The image still burns in my mind, the big, black automobile pulling up to the bare gravel road. And Jane, running with a suitcase and a beaming grin painted on her face. Then she got inside, and the door closed. The second I heard that engine start roaring and sputtering smog into the clear air, I hollered. Then it left, and started speeding away. I chased after and screamed, running and running until I lost all sight of the monster that had swallowed up my creator. She gave me no goodbye, I was forgotten.
I found myself in a golden wheat field, passed out from exhaustion. I began to walk towards an unknown direction; fear struck my heart in concern of my future. After many days of walking, I found myself in a brightly lit city called Saskatoon.
Eventually, I did meet other abandoned imaginaries. Teddy was first, and he led me to the area that I live in today.
I’ve been searching for a job for the past 50 years, and as I watched the world evolve, so did the occupation options for imaginary friends. There weren’t many jobs back in 1940, and a lot less abandoned imaginary friends. Now the alleys of Saskatoon are overpopulated with the neglected creations. My fellow posse members suggested many jobs for me, but none of them seemed to have real meaning. Saskatoon seemed a city of opportunity, with the University, the broad essence of creativity that flows throughout the downtown streets, it seemed a place where people were not only accepted by their unique dreams, but they had all the resources and encouragement to do so. Yet I didn’t want something just to pass the time; I wanted something that would change the world. My life is meaningless, so why not try to make in meaningful?
I decided that I wasn’t looking the in right places. I’ve been stuck in one dank, graffiti-filled alleyway for the majority of my life, so maybe if I just start searching, I will find something miraculous. After preparing myself, I announced my departure to the creatures I had been raised by.
“But...Pocko! We’re your family! Family members never leave each other!” cried Wilson, a volleyball with arms, legs, and facial features.
I had just told my companions that I would be leaving them, to search for a better life for myself. “You guys have raised me, taught me these streets, and taught me how to survive,” I explained. “I think it’s best for the both of us that I search for my own path and that you wonderful creations continue with your life, enjoying your accomplishments and basking in your happiness. For me however, it is much more complicated for me to find happiness. We have gone through the same troubles, and mourned for the same losses, so we are able to relate. I hope you can relate to my wishes, and that you accept my departure. I will remember you all, and I hope my downhearted state propels you to do great things in life, as it would bring me great sorrow to see you sink to my level of discontentment.”
“Where will you go?” Questioned Fenella, a porcelain doll with emerald-blue eyes and a pink bow implanted on her blue-brown hair.
I pondered this for a while, and then gave my best response. “This, I cannot answer. I know not where my journey will take me, nor what tasks await me. All I know, is that I will not rest until my destination brings me happiness.”
Clyde, a very tall, lanky figure that slightly resembled liquorice had tears in his eyes. “Can we at least... At least- help you pack?”
I let them add a few objects to my pack, which was a napkin gingerly folded around a lollipop-stick. They added some gum, buttons, precious rocks, and crayon stubs. We imaginary friends don’t need much sustenance, so I wasn’t concerned about food or water, only the memories that my solemn heart would carry.
And so, I set off. My goal: To find the bliss that I remember.
I assumed it had been three months. Three months and I was losing my mind. I expected to have an epiphany, some big ‘AH-HA!’ moment that would guide me to a hopefully peaceful future. Or maybe a sign that said: ‘SIGN-UPS TO CHANGE THE WORLD TODAY!’ There was nothing of the sort. I started to believe that this was all a big mistake. I left the only place that allowed me to care for myself, the only place I was known by others. The public streets on Saskatoon were brimming with colourful people of all sorts, and yet I had never felt so alone. The streets emit a rich, vivid feel that makes on feel warm inside. Colourful signs and advertisements for an assortment of festivals are reflected by the shining lights. Comfortingly eerie brick buildings are abundant on the downtown streets, contrasting with ‘modern’ sense of people. Saskatoon’s cultures contrast in such a way it’s nearly a masterpiece, everyone singing their own song to create one marvellous medley. As I walked the streets, I developed this sense of home, this appreciation for the city that I had never felt before. I felt pride to be one part of the cogs and wheels that turn the clock of everyday life. Developing this sense of place and admiration really healed me. However, my brightest moment had been after some traumatic events in my wanders.
I had been caught in thunderstorms, with nothing but a leaf to keep my frail, 3-inch body dry. I had been chased by rabid dogs, resulting in the loss of one of my button eyes. I’m so very thankful that Fenella packed those buttons, even though now I have two different coloured eyes. I had actually become so fed up with my failure and bored rigid that I began to observe the beings that caused my misery in the first place; humans.
I watched them cuss at each other on the streets, hurt one and other with their hands, all in all, be utterly rude. But then, something caught my interest.
I noticed a select few of these seemingly mean-spirited creatures go out of their way to do things that gave no benefit to themselves, only others. Although, I do believe they did gain something. I saw strangers plug other strangers parking metres when their time was out, I saw people flip coins into lesser-fortunate people’s hats, and people, who weren’t even acquaintances, share umbrellas on the frigid days of rain. Every time a human presented these kind actions, something caught my eye. Something I truly admired and something I have longed for all my life. They appeared to have this spark of delight in their eye, and a broad smile crossed their faces. I stared in awe as these people helped others, just for the sake of lending a hand to their own kind.
I’ve wanted to gain that bliss for so long, that I decided to try doing my own little acts of kindness. I began by tying the elderly and frail’s shoelaces, when they couldn’t do so themselves. Seeing that toothless grin brought a warm sensation throughout my whole body. I had never experienced this before, so at first I was worried. Until, that feeling of happiness spread to my heart, and my mouth (which had been tightly woven into a frown) broke into a smile. I had found my place in the world.
I had come on this journey seeking to change the world, and I believe that you can change this world we live in for the better. You may not be able to stop global warming, find a cure for cancer, or solve world hunger, but just by doing these small acts of thoughtfulness are the baby steps to get you there, and you can be assured that it may be a small contribution, but a contribution nonetheless. Remember, you can change the world, one step at a time, and it’s never too late to start. Do not let your past hold you back. You cannot change your past, but you are in control of your future.
After this amazing experience, I craved more and more. I searched places to do good anywhere I could find. Whether it be finding shelter for a stray pet, returning fallen money to a stranger’s pocket, or performing motivational speeches for other abandoned imaginary friends who wish to find meaning in their life, it always brings me a great amount of contentment. Pocko, the once imaginary friend ridden by sadness, has found his place in this world. Isn’t it time you found yours?
© 2011 CinderBows
AboutBIO: I'm a young writer who feels at ease with a pen and paper, I feel I can express my feelings and opinions much better through what is written, than spoken. Music is my passion, and I aspire to tur.. more..