Just Different, Just MorningGlory
Dedicated to all those who see life through different eyes; those not afraid to be themselves.
Early_MorningGlory sat at the window, watching the rising sun paint the pure white snow pink and gold. The yellow Lupe was curled up on the window seat, wearing an old fashioned dress. She was scribbling away on a piece of paper, attempting to ignore the chaos issuing through out the rest of the house.
“MUUFFFIIINSSS!” her sister, Kryshnaii, yelled. “Bartholomew and Tayla replaced the shampoo with ink AGAIN!”
“Just a second!” came the frazzled reply of their owner. “AURORANYOKO! We do NOT turn our brothers into MORTOGS, no matter HOW annoying they get!” There came a couple crashes and screams. “LYSSANDEREA! HOW many times have I told you, NO practicing archery in the house, ESPECIALLY NOT using your sister as a moving target! And would you turn off that racket!” Muffins yelled, presumably to Diana, who was blaring the latest Sticks N' Stones CD out of her room so loud it could probably be heard on Kreludor. To add this utter pandemonium, the sprinklers went off, soaking everyone.
“Breakfast is ready!” called Andromeda, as the smell of burnt, well, everything wafted up the stairs. MorningGlory shook her head as she held up her soggy poem. Just a normal Monday morning in a house of nineteen pets. She gingerly spread out the piece of paper, but it was far from salvageable. If she hurried, she might have time to recopy her poem and still have breakfast. Sighing, the Lupe pulled out a new piece of paper, quill, and bottle of ink. She preferred using a quill over a pencil or pen. Somehow, the old fashioned way of writing seemed more romantic to her, in the other meaning of the word. MorningGlory liked words, collecting unusual ones, using them, which was why she wrote poetry. She liked to pick each word carefully, savoring it. That was the reason she didn't talk much. By the time she had come up with a reply, the other person had usually lost interest in the conversation.
Uncorking the new bottle of ink, she delicately dipped her quill. Oh. The Lupe wiped the sticky goo off the end of the feather. She had found the shampoo. Struggling not to roll her eyes, she selected a new new bottle of ink and started again.
O hark at the sun, rising in the East...
Arriving in the kitchen, MorningGlory found the rest of her family seated around the table, happily eating. Apparently Andromeda had only burnt the toast and eggs, and the pancakes and sausages- made by Poppy- were perfectly fine. She slipped unnoticed into a seat across from Muffins, deep in an argument with Jefferson (“No, I am NOT signing you up for fire eating lessons”) who had been restored from Mortogness back into his red Gelert self. It was five minutes after she had served herself and begun eating that anyone noticed she was there.
“Oh, there you are, MorningGlory,” said Muffins, a startled look on her face. “I was starting to wonder if you had drowned in the sprinklers.” MorningGlory shook her head. She debated telling Muffins about where the shampoo had really gone, but that would take too much explaining. She compromised by sticking an overly large piece of pancake in her mouth. Now she couldn't tell anyone anything, even if she wanted to.
“Hey, M.G., did you finish that book report for Owen yet?”
MorningGlory turned to look at Bartholomew with wide eyes.
“Fine, Mrs. Owen. And of course you did, why am I asking?”
The yellow Lupe raised one eyebrow as if to say, and you didn't?
“Of course I didn't finish it,” the blue Kougra hissed. “I was too busy filling Kryshnaii's shampoo bottle with ink, as you already know.”
MorningGlory gave a shrug- which could have meant anything, but probably meant your loss- and went back to her sausages. The book report had been terribly boring, and she didn't blame Bartholomew for not doing it. But still, he was going to flunk Language if he didn't start turning things in. Though Tayla would probably let him copy hers. She made a particularly violent stab at her sausage.
MorningGlory walked down the hall of her school, breathing in the smell of pencils and books. She loved school, loved learning. School was her favorite place in Neopia, and probably would have wanted to live there, except for-
“Hey, loser. Watch where you're going.”
The yellow Lupe winced. Bumping (literally) into Tacia first thing in the morning was a sign that this was not going to be a good day. The camouflage Aisha, her papers and books, and MorningGlory's papers and books were strewn all over the floor.
“Sorry,” she whispered, and help out a paw to help Tacia up.
“Ew!” squealed the Aisha, drawing back. “I wouldn't touch you if I were falling off a cliff.” MorningGlory, trying to ignore her, knelt down and started to gather her things. She had just about gotten everything except- her poem! Where was her poem?!
“Well now, what's this?” asked Tacia, holding a piece of paper. Oh no, thought MorningGlory, a sinking feeling in her stomach as Tacia began to read.
“O hark at the Sun, rising in the East,
with thy beautiful beams so bright,
thou paints the sky with red and gold,
and banishes the dark to night.”
The camouflage Aisha looked up and sneered.
“Nobody uses 'thy' anymore M.G., and what the heck does 'hark' mean? Are you barking at the Sun? Is the Moon too insignificant for you?” All Tacia's friends laughed, as if on cue. MorningGlory felt her cheeks burn, and her eyes began to water.
“You think you're so special with your 'thee's and 'thou's and your weird dresses, but you're not.” Tacia ripped the paper in half. “You're no morning glory. You're just a common,” rip “ugly,” rip “smelly,” rip “old marigold.” With a flourish, Tacia tossed the torn paper pieces to the ground. “Come on, guys,” she said turning away. “We don't want to be seen associating with losers.” MorningGlory groped for the remains of her poem, fighting back tears. One of Tacia's friends, a faerie Peophin, took special care to tread on MorningGlory's outstretched paw.
“Weirdo,” the Peophin muttered as she passed. MorningGlory dumped the torn paper in her bag. Not one person had stopped to help her; everyone had just walked right past, pretending not to notice her crawling around in the middle of the hallway. She stood up with as much dignity as she could muster, wiped her eyes, and headed to her first class.
“I'm not a marigold,” she whispered to herself. “I'm not weird. Why does she have to pick on me?”
“Early_MorningGlory, may I inquire about the fascinating object outside the window that seems to be holding your attention?” Mrs. Owen always insisted on calling everyone by their proper name, much to Bartholomew's dismay as his proper name was Tiny138. MorningGlory sat bolt upright. A few people snickered.
“There's a pretty rock,” she answered lamely, though her red Pteri teacher did not seem to care much about her response, as long as she was now paying attention.
“As I was saying, would everyone please pass their book report on The Pterrible Pteri forwards?” MorningGlory turned back to the rock. It was a pretty rock, dark grey with specks of white. More people should just stop and look at rocks; maybe rocks would be appreciated more then.
Something hit her in the back of the head. She turned around. It seemed to be a piece of eraser. The yellow Lupe faced forward again. Another chunk of eraser hit her. She decided to just ignore it; maybe whoever was doing it would stop. Thunk. Thunk. Or not.
“Mr. Sylvester, would you please stop throwing erasers at Miss MorningGlory's head?” Mrs. Owen inquired (she never asked, always inquired) as she wrote that week's vocabulary words up on the boards.
“Teacher's pet,” someone hissed from behind her. MorningGlory ignored them. She didn't ask for good grades. She just did the work, something that some of them might like to try.
Mrs. Owen added the last word to the board. “You may now work in partners to find the definitions of this week's words.” There was a flurry of movement and noise. MorningGlory stayed put. She preferred working by herself. That way, she didn't have to say anything.
“Oh, look at me, I'm Marigold, and I'm going to ignore Mrs. Owen because this rock is soo much more interesting,” Tacia's voiced mocked from somewhere across the class. The yellow Lupe just decided to ignore it, though by this time she had made up her mind to rethink her ignoring method, as it wasn't seeming to be working too well.
“Hello, moldy Marigold,” said a voice in her ear. Tacia was sitting right next to her. “I figure, since you're so smart, you can give me the definitions.” MorningGlory shook her head.
Tacia scowled. “Fine, then-”
MorningGlory yelped. The bully had knocked over her ink bottle, and the ink was now covering her desk and dripping into her lap. She grabbed some paper towels out of her bag and tried to mop up the mess. Having been the victim of Tacia's abuse for a while now, she had found it wise to always carry paper towels.
“What is going on here?” Mrs. Owen towered in front of MorningGlory's desk. Mrs. Owen always towered when she was mad.
“MorningGlory knocked over her ink bottle,” answered Tacia, wide eyed and innocent looking. She grabbed the paper towels from the ink covered Lupe. “I'm helping her clean up.” Mrs. Owen still looked suspicious.
“Miss MorningGlory, why don't you head to the rest room to tidy yourself up, while Miss Tacia cleans off the desk.” Tacia sent MorningGlory a look of pure hatred.
“I'll get you for this, Marigold,” she hissed when Mrs. Owen's back was turned. “Mark my words.”
Unfortunately for MorningGlory, Tacia was true to her word. By the time she got home, the disheveled Lupe had had six bottles of ink spilled on her, been pushed down three times, had countless erasers bounced off her head, been hit with eleven balls in gym, had her own lunch dumped on her, and “someone” had “accidentally” poured acid on her science book. It was all she could do to keep from sobbing as she walked in the door.
“Super sour strawberries,” said Muffins, taking one look at MorningGlory. “It looks like someone had a bad day.” The yellow Lupe shrugged and flopped down on a chair. “Do you want a cookie?” MorningGlory gladly accepted. The cookie was good, the cookie was nice, the cookie wouldn't hurt her. Unless it had been made by Andromeda. Then, you never knew. Muffins must have seen her eyeing it warily because she said, “I bought them, so they should be safe.” MorningGlory munched on the cookie, being careful not to get any crumbs on the floor. She didn't want Poppy yelling at her too.
“Were they teasing you again?” Muffins asked.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
She shook her head, but before she could stop herself she blurted out, “I just don't understand why they're always picking on me. I've never done anything to them,” she finished with a sniffle. Muffins hugged her.
“It's just that you're... different. Sometimes people don't like other people who are different from them.”
“Tayla dresses like a pirate every day, and no one laughs at her for dressing differently. Jefferson's a complete klutz, and nobody makes fun of him. No one chucks erasers at Aurora because she gets good grades.”
Muffins was looking alarmed, probably because she had never said this much and one time before, MorningGlory figured. But she was on a roll, and nowhere near to stopping.
“Nobody rips up Dite's music because they don't like it. No one dumps food on Dancer only because they don't like her. Nobody steps on Lyssa because of her word choice.” Muffins looked about to interrupt, probably to comment on how Lyssa might want to work on her word choice, but didn't. MorningGlory continued. “Icy won't let people cheat off him, and nobody spills ink on him. Nobody throws balls at Diana if she gets them in trouble. Nobody-” Then she noticed how Muffins was looking at her and halted her monologue.
“Oh, MorningGlory,” sighed Muffins. “It sounds like you had a terrible day. And you know what? You're right. Nobody deserves to be treated like that. Especially only because they're different. And you need to tell them that. You need to stand up for yourself. They'll just keep picking on you if you let them.” MorningGlory nodded, sniffling. “Has it occurred to you that Tacia might be jealous?” The yellow Lupe started.
“How did you...?”
“Know her name? It's funny, but Andromeda has this habit of talking about everything. And I mean everything,” Muffins added with a shudder. It was true that the blue Gelert had a habit of rambling on and on.
“But why would she be jealous of me? She said I'm nothing more than a common, ugly, smelly old marigold.”
Muffins scowled. “I'm liking this girl less and less. But really, mightn't she be jealous that you get good grades? Or that you're not afraid to be yourself, even under torment?”
Muffins held up a hand to stop MorningGlory. “I'm not saying she is jealous, but she might be. And you really do need to work on standing up for yourself, M.G. Let's practice now. Go to your room!”
Without speaking, MorningGlory hopped out of the chair and started across the room.
“M.G.!” said Muffins, exasperated. “You're supposed to stand up to me.”
“But I was going to my room anyway. I want to get off this disgusting dress.”
Muffins walked back to the kitchen, shaking her head.
The next morning, again the yellow Lupe sat at her window seat, watching the sunrise. She wondered what the sunbeams would taste like if they were edible. Maybe honey. MorningGlory was certain that if the color streaked clouds were edible, they would surely taste like cotton candy. She smoothed out her newly fixed poem. It had taken forever, but she had pieced her poem back together and secured it with tape. Granted, it probably would have been easier to recopy it, but fixing it had made her feel better. And now, if- no, WHEN- the sprinklers went off again, it would be water proof. MorningGlory grinned as she listened to the ruckus downstairs.
“CRAYONDITTY! HOW many TIMES have we been over this! MARKERS are for drawing on PAPER! NOT WALLS!” Crash. “JEFFERSON! I have told you COUNTLESS times to NOT practice your juggling in the HOUSE. And ESPECIALLY NOT with PLATES!”
“Y'know, knives make a lot less sound when you drop them.”
“LYSSANDEREA, DON'T EVEN START!”
Poor Muffins, she thought. And she hasn't even discovered Bartholomew and Tayla's latest prank. Whatever it is. But knowing them, there was bound to be a 'surprise.'
“And DIANA, for the LAST time, would you TURN DOWN THAT MUSIC?!”
MorningGlory giggled, and headed down to the kitchen, fully prepared with an umbrella for Andromeda's shout of, “Breakfast is ready!”
Pouring milk on her cereal, MorningGlory wondered how in Neopia Andromeda had ruined storebought coffee cake. She decided she really didn't want to know.
“M.G., can you pass the milk?” asked Diana.
“NO!!!” she shouted, clutching the jug. The table suddenly got very quiet as everyone stared at her.
The blue Korbat leaned away from her. “I didn't mean to, uh, upset you or anything.”
“Um, M.G.?” muttered Muffins. “I think you can lay off the whole standing up for yourself thing for now.”
“Oh, yeah.” Truthfully, she hadn't meant to snap at Diana, but she had startled her. Then she grinned devilishly. “Not unless you can ask me that, using proper grammar.”
“Oh, um, would you please pass the milk, M.G.?”
“Certainly,” she replied, handing the milk to her bewildered looking sister.
Back in Language class, MorningGlory was again staring out the window. Not the rock this time, but a little Snowbunny burrowing at the foot of a tree.
“Mrs. Owen! Mrs. Owen!” said Tacia, waving her paw in the air. “I wrote a poem for extra credit.”
“That is very nice; you can leave it on my desk-” but Tacia had already stood up and started reading.
“O hark at the Sun, rising in the East,
with thy beautiful beams so bright,
thou paints the sky with red and gold,
and banishes the dark to night.”
MorningGlory froze. That was her poem. But if she tattled on Tacia, then her life would be miserable. No, Muffins told you to stand up for yourself. So without having a clue what she was doing in the least, she stood up.
“Yes, Miss MorningGlory?” The yellow Lupe opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. I could just sit down, just say I were going to sharpen my pencil. Oh, wait, I don't use pencils. Still... NO! Muffins told me to stand up for myself. And anyway,
“Tacia didn't write that poem, I did.” She hadn't realized she had said the last part out loud until she heard herself say it. The whole class gasped. The camouflage Aisha glared daggers at her.
“Miss MorningGlory, I say, I had thought you had a much higher standard, but apparently not, letting Miss Tacia copy off you-”
“I didn't let her copy! She stole it! See?!” She dug the repaired poem out of her bag. “After she ripped it up.”
“How could you! You went digging through my trash! Mrs. Owen, she's lying! I ripped up my poem because my handwriting wasn't good enough, and recopied it.”
“You liar! There were probably about thirty witnesses that saw you rip it up yesterday morning!” The rest of the class sat silently, turning from Tacia to MorningGlory as if they were watching a tennis match.
“Well,” said Mrs. Owen hesitantly, as if she wasn't sure she wanted to be involved in this argument. She looked at the battered paper MorningGlory was holding. “This poem is in Miss MorningGlory's handwriting...”
“I can't believe the depths you'd sink to get my in trouble!” Tacia screamed. “Copying my poem, and then ripping it up so you would make me say it was mine! What,” she turned to the class. “You don't seriously believe her do you? DO YOU!!” The class said nothing. “I HATE YOU!!” she screamed at MorningGlory. “You're just a moldy marigold!!”
“My name,” said MorningGlory, as calmly as she could muster. “Is MorningGlory.” She was also in shock about Tacia's outburst. “And there is absolutely nothing wrong with marigolds.”
Tacia shrieked. “Mrs. Owen, you can't possibly, she's always hated me, can't you see? She set me up! Mrs. Owen-”
“BOTH OF YOU, TO THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE. NOW!”
Behind her, MorningGlory heard Bartholomew call out, “Go M.G.!” And slowly, the rest of the class began to break into applause. Most likely because the argument had only left twenty minutes in class, figured MorningGlory.
MorningGlory took a big bite out of her peanut butter and banana sandwich. On sourdough bread. Everything tasted better on sourdough bread. The principal hadn't really been too bad. Though she and Tacia had to go through counseling together. Joy.
A shadow fell over the table. MorningGlory looked up.
“Hi,” said a green Kau. “Can I sit here.” MorningGlory nodded. She might have told the Kau to ask again using proper grammar, but she was still chewing her sandwich.
“I'm Glendiline,” said the Kau, sitting down. “But you can call me Glen. You're MorningGlory, right?”
The yellow Lupe raised an eyebrow quizzically. Had Bartholomew told everyone in the school about her little outburst?
“I'm in your science class,” Glen explained. “I'm new this year, so I'm trying to get to know everyone.” Glen smiled. “I like your dress.”
MorningGlory swallowed. “So you don't think I'm weird?”
The green Kau shook her head. “You're not weird, just different. Y'know, peanut butter banana sandwiches are a lot better on sourdough bread.”
MorningGlory smiled at her new acquaintance- possibly friend. Just like Muffins said. I'm not weird, just different. Just MorningGlory.
I again apologize for my poetry. And everything really does taste better on sourdough bread.