Truly, it is strange how older people and pokémon die so agreeably while younger people and pokémon rot so disagreeably.
The old are—hopefully, usually—satisfied. They goals are accomplished; they’ve raised enough money and love and happiness in their lives that they can go and hold the hands of those they don’t even know. They live with ghosts and they don’t mind, because the thing about ghosts is: they can never leave too soon. They spend time together redrawing each other’s bones and blood in the most perfect way possible…
The young are more delicate. Unfulfilled and unhappy about it, they struggle to cling to life, to breath. They will claw at each other just to get a chance at their own redemption. Never mind the idea that they all suffer from the same unfortunate fate—they just want to one up each other, at any costs. I don’t blame them. I would have done the same, but now…
Whenever death comes for me, I’ll be ready.
It’s just another bird. Just another bug. Just another branch that’s fallen and made a crashing sound.
That’s what I used to say, anyway. Now they mean everything to me. I talk to them in the most spacious of voices, able to be interpreted in many different ways. No matter what, the outcome is the same: there is no fire except the one in my heart.
“If I said—listen for a moment, okay—if I said that I had a tiny little pidgey, one just like you, only wounded and ready to die within one more foodless day, and so it needed my care in order to survive, and it looked at me with its sad, sad eyes… Well, if I said that this was all I needed to be content, this poor creature that was useless without me, would you think of me as odd? If I said that I was definitely going to take a nest and move into the middle of nowhere—into these woods, essentially—would you think of me as odd yet again? If I told you that I intended to never be heard of again, that I would become a legend in the making, would you offer to come with me? I think you would. I think you really would.”
They don’t offer to come with me, but at least I make them think about it.
I’m thankful for many things that I wasn’t thankful for before…
I’m thankful for the darkness which I can now defeat. I am thankful for a voice to tell my opinions whenever I have the strength. I’m thankful for both sleepless nights and nights full of dreams, of nightmares. I’m thankful for a world that gives people and pokémon a variety of choices to pick from. Thanks, life, for the simple things and the complex things that make me think. Thanks, life, for providing my team with a sense of toleration for my wavering self. Thanks, life, both for the love that we all deserve, and for the kind of love that is given yet not asked for. I’m thankful. Sincerely—thanks for friends like the one I’ve been able to come across.
I’m thankful to be a pokémon that can still do humane, helpful things. I’m thankful to live up to my expectations as a fighting-type. Above all else, I’m thankful for Sai’s safety and willingness to become stronger, mentally and physically…
The story of this totodile, the story of this croconaw, and the story of the future feraligatr, is a story of naivety and aggression, eventual friendship and supreme strength. She started out as a baby—mature for her age—in the hands of a man who gave her the power and the enthusiasm she needed for success. She was passed on to another boy, one who would treat her with the kind of gentleness that comes from years of wishing and hoping for something great to happen. She went on a journey, hoping to meet a legendary pokémon in the midst of a fantastical myth in the making.
Legends, to me, are the best of history, retold and embellished until they shine. After years of waiting and searching, I’ve met a legend.
His name is Sai.
I like leaders. Real leaders. Not a wannabe who sweetens the day with complaints and false promises. People and pokémon need someone who is bruised and bleeding, healing and suffocating. They need someone with a temper, a sense of humor, someone who throws obscenities at the wind as if they were born to do so. People and pokémon need someone who can both raise their voice and listen with silent intensity.
Fake leaders sit and wait. Real leaders play the game of life, and they play it right. Real leaders love hard, dreams endlessly, act with high ambitions. The real leader knows how to survive in the toughest of situations and watches as his comrades fall asleep so that he can reminisce on the day and think of ways to improve.
A real leader doesn’t hide from things he knows need validation, doesn’t lie when he says he will both live and die for you.
(I’ll never let you down.)