I immediately knew it was the sun. My already closed eyes tightened against the burning glare on them and I turned my head in a failed attempt to get away from the annoyance. At once, I sat straight up, my eyes wide open, sweat running down my face.
It was time.
I hadn’t fallen asleep until three that morning, but that didn’t stop me from waking up at...
The electronic Pidgeotto clock I’d had since I was about five years old, sat on my dresser, revealing that it was six in the morning. I wasn’t due to be at Prof. Oak’s Lab for another three hours.
Stretching, I got out of bed, shaking with anticipation from my head down to my toes. I wasn’t tired in the slightest and I certainly didn’t want to risk being late. After all, today was a special day. An agreed upon day. A highly awaited moment in time for many kids around the world that I, having turned ten today, was about to start.
The time when I was finally allowed to become a Pokemon Trainer.
My knowledge in Pokemon was unmatched by any of my friends. I had been studying them since I was about three years old, reading books on them and watching the latest findings on TV from the great professors from all over the world. My favorites were the shows Prof. Oak had. Professor Oak’s Pokemon Live Caster was one of them, and of course, I had to tune in to Professor Oak’s Pokemon Talk with DJ Mary. I never thought DJ Mary was necessary at all. In fact, I found her outright annoying. I got lost in my thoughts as I took my shower, washed my hair, and brushed my teeth. Once fully dressed, I walked downstairs and into the kitchen.
It was so quiet. My mom wasn’t even awake right now.
I worried about her often and was surprised she finally agreed to let her only child left go out on a Pokemon journey.
My sister, Melissa, had left to become a Pokemon Trainer, too. That was a year ago and she wasn’t having the easiest time. The last I had heard about her, about a month ago, she had only three Badges, which is extremely minimal for the time frame she’s had. She needed to defeat eight of the powerful Pokemon Trainers known as Gym Leaders in order to win their Badge and be allowed to compete in the Pokemon League, so she couldn’t compete in the last one. Melissa wanted to quit several times during her journey and called home a lot, crying on the phone.
My mom had to snap her out of her depression and encourage her to continue. “You’re not allowed back home until you’re a Pokemon Master and have captured all one thousand Pokemon,” my mom would say. She was only joking about not allowing my sister back home, of course, and me and Melissa knew it. But my mom very well may think there are one thousand Pokemon. Her knowledge on Pokemon is very minimal.
I, of course, know there are only around seven hundred or so confirmed species of Pokemon, but not a thousand!
What surprised me the most about my mom allowing me to leave home to be a Pokemon Trainer was that my dad had died two years ago. He went on a Pokemon journey, attempting to become stronger and better connected with his Pokemon. His intentions were to make a living off of it and gain notoriety for raising Pokemon and help put more food on the table for us. He sought to become so strong, he may have even earned the status of a Gym Leader. Or, he dared to state, an Elite Four member. I’m not sure how he died. My mom never discusses it. I only know that she misses him badly.
What bothered me was not understanding why my dad left in the first place, though. We live in the beautiful location of Pallet Town, in the same neighborhood as the legendary Prof. Oak, and while not rich, we live a fairly privileged enough life. Just how much better did he want it? I often think to myself that he was just selfish and greedy, seeking out more than was necessary. Other times, I think it was my mom who was partly responsible for him leaving. My mom can be a nail in the freaking head, often. He may have just wanted some peace from that. I know that if I wasn’t becoming a Pokemon Trainer, I may have ran away myself by now. I also know that my mom was in love with him, and he loved her, too. They were so close, it made me puke. But I miss it now...
“What are you doing up so early?”
I turned around with a start to see my mother. “Mom!”
Her eyes were puffy and filled with tears.
I ran up to her. “Are you okay?” I knew she wasn’t, and I hugged her tight.
She hugged me back. “I’m fine, Gary. Thanks.” She sniffled and rubbed at her eyes a bit.
“I love you, mom.” I squeezed her even tighter.
“I love you too, Gary.” I felt her arms pull me into a tighter hug. “But why are you up this early? It’s only seven. You don’t have to be up until at least eight. Couldn’t sleep, huh?” She smiled at me.
I smiled back. “Yeah. How could I? This is day one of me becoming a Pokemon Master! And catching every Pokemon out there!”
She laughed a little. “Gosh, one thousand sure is a lot,” my mom said thoughtfully.
I considered telling her how many there are, but I stopped. Why bother? It wasn’t important. And with all the new Pokemon being unveiled almost yearly, one thousand wasn’t too far off anymore. It was all just a matter of confirming current information at this point.
“Well, I’ll make you a biiiig breakfast today. A special feast,” my mom said happily.
Although she smiled, I could see the pain in her eyes. Had she said and done the same thing for my sister? I wondered. For my dad? I smiled happily, forcing it.
She went to the fridge and began pulling out eggs, milk, butter, and many other things.
I sat at the table eagerly.
My mom turned to me, looking at me expectantly. “Did you wash and brush your teeth?”
“First thing I did, mom.”
“Okay, Gary,” mom snapped at me suddenly. “Don’t give me any attitude, mister. I was just asking.”
I stared at her silently. “I wasn’t giving attitude, mom,” I spoke calmly, slowly, trying to defuse a situation I could see was building. “I was just answering. Honest.” This is what I meant when I said she can be a nail in the head. Sometimes, you can do absolutely nothing but somehow, it becomes something. I sighed to myself and stayed silent as she cooked and I began to think of my friends, and of Pokemon.
My three closest friends.
I never understood who would name their child after a fruit, but whatever...
The four of us were set to meet at Prof. Oak’s Lab at the same time today to collect one of three Pokemon. I wasn’t sure how that was going to work. The three Pokemon we would be going for were the Starter Pokemon of the Kanto region.
Bulbasaur, the Grass and Poison type.
The Fire type was Charmander.
The last choice was the Water type, Squirtle.
But how would they be divided amongst the four of us?
As I got lost in my thoughts, my mom dropped a plate of pancakes, sausage, bacon, and eggs, soaking in delicious syrup, down on the table, loudly. “Here,” she said harshly, and swiftly left the kitchen.
I sighed angrily. I get so tired of her crap. Good thing today was my last day here. Everything was delicious and was finished quickly, but I couldn’t truly enjoy it with her crazy behavior spoiling what should be a great day for me. What a way to treat your child on his last day being home. Maybe she’s just scared, I considered. After washing my dishes, I sat in the kitchen alone, thinking. Shaking. Nervous. Excited. With a deep breath, I left the table and climbed upstairs to my room, stopping in front of my mirror. Black jeans, slightly baggy, with a clean, fitted white T-shirt was my attire. I was also sporting my favorite Pokemon jacket with the baddest of bad Pokemon on the right breast. Mewtwo. Oh, how I dream of the day I might meet that very Pokemon. Dare I even consider the thought of actually catching one! I grabbed my black fitted cap with a red and white Poke Ball design on it and set it on my head backwards. The Poke Ball was on the back of the cap, so it seemed it was designed to wear it backwards. I felt it would look stupid if the only design on the entire cap was to be on the back of it. My right hand reached out for my backpack, but grasped thin air. “Huh?” I looked around my room. It wasn’t on top of my bed, nor under it. It wasn’t in my closet, either. Where in the world is my bag? I thought, starting to panic. I can’t go on my journey without that thing! I was ready to destroy my clean room to find it, my heart beating quicker.
“Looking for this?”
I turned fast to see my mom holding my black backpack and ran up to her. “Yes! Where did you find it?”
“I had it,” she said, tears filling her eyes again. “I filled it last night with clean clothes, soap, snacks, food, and other things I purchased from Viridian City that I was told are good for starting Pokemon Trainers, like this thing I think the lady at the Poke Mart called a Potion, or something.” She opened the bag and pulled out a bottle of Potion and an Antidote bottle. “So you ought to be set.” She dropped them back into the bag and held it out to me.
I quickly snatched the bag from her with a smile.
She didn’t smile back.
“Well... I’m heading out now,” I said, my smile fading.
“Why?” She turned to my Pidgeotto clock. “It’s only eight. You still have time. Prof. Oak isn’t far from us at all!”
“I know. I just wanna get some fresh air and get a good stretch. I’m kind of scared, you know? I think getting outside will be good for me. I can maybe get all the info I can from Prof. Oak before the others get there.”
My mom frowned at me. “That doesn’t make any sense. It’s stupid to go so early!”
“I’m eager to begin my journey! I don’t wanna hang around here wasting time! Don’t you understand? I’m excited!” I smiled to show my enthusiasm, but her face only got more angry.
“Fine! Go! Do whatever you want!” She stormed out of my room.
My brain flickered with rage. “Why do you always have to act like that?? GAAAAAAAHH!!!” I angrily stormed for the stairs as my mom slammed the door to her room in the opposite direction. Soon, I was slamming the front door and angrily making my way to no real location. I just needed to get out of that house. I’d had enough. No more of her nonsense. She was just so irrational and crazy and was rarely able to say her feelings in a calm way. Angry thoughts flowed through my mind continuously as I stomped along the path, walking past several houses, including Kiwi’s, Aly’s, and lastly, Robin’s. It wasn’t long before I had stopped, looking up a winding trail of steps lined on each side by trees and shrubs that lead up, up, up, to the enormous mansion owned by Prof. Oak. What a life, I thought. Was this the kind of living my dad was trying for us to have? My eyes turned from his mansion, in the opposite direction, and saw Route 1. The beginning route for us folk from Pallet Town becoming Pokemon Trainers. I wondered what awaited me out there.
A movement to my left grabbed my attention and I turned to see a Rattata! It sat several feet away from me, in Pallet Town as opposed to its usual area in the grass of Route 1, and pretty much all plains.
We stared at each other for what seemed like forever, the anger I held for my mom completely forgotten, before I glanced away and looked back at Prof. Oak’s mansion. I looked back down at Rattata, but it was gone, so I looked back up to Prof. Oak’s mansion. From out the corner of my eye, I saw something near Route 1 again. A tail? Rattata? I thought as I turned towards it.
No. This tail wasn’t the gray tail of a Rattata. It was white. Or pink, maybe. And... it was in the air!! This was a flying Pokemon that just flew off into the tops of the trees! I didn’t get to see any of its body other than the tail before it disappeared. A tail like Rattata, only a different color? But something wasn’t right. That tail was tickling a memory of something else in the back of my head. But, of what??
I felt something from deep within urge me to go after it.
There was something about that tail.
Something deeper than a Rattata.
I ran away from Prof. Oak’s mansion and into Route 1.
Into the grass.
Into a possible abyss of secrets yet unrevealed...