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All for a Smile
We’ve found our girl,
Her name is Samantha Drake,
Her sadness we must take,
Our journey must begin,
Sit back and relax my little children.
Samantha Drake used to be such a happy soul. She volunteered at the animal shelter, organized parties for her friends, and she always smiled. That has all changed since her mother’s death in a car accident six months ago. Samantha and her mother were best friends, they did everything together. No secrets were kept between them. They shared everything from their shoes to their smile. Life was good, the Drake’s were happy. Mrs. Drake was the heart of the family. Always ready to “turn that frown upside down!” Mrs. Drake always said that her favorite flower, the Frangipani is the source of all happiness. There was always a Frangipani in her house and still is. Now she’s gone along with her husband and children’s spirit.
In my world, Zoozooza, everyone is dedicated to making those depressed humans happy, the good ones at least. In Zoozooza the air is crisp and the sun is warm. The buildings tell their own story, no words needed. Our language is poetic without effort. We’re always ready to help those we don’t know. I, Farez, seem to be the only one amazed by this. Our next endeavor is Samantha Drake. Her whole family needs her right now. According to our studies she is the only one of the Drakes strong enough to bring smiles back to her brother and father. It is time for me to tap into her thoughts and find the perfect time to pick her up.
“Another day of school is just another day of my life without my mother. I have no reason to be living. My hair is just as dull as my eyes. These stupid clothes don’t even fit me because of how much taller I am than every normal human being. No one wants to be my friend, but I’m not sure if I want to be theirs either. Seth spends his time just… crying. Still, none of us has it as bad as dad, having to work and take care of a fourteen and seventeen year old, while coping with all of this mess. Life is stressful; it would be easier for everyone without me. Whatever, I’d better get in the shower. I love the hot water going through my hair; ah crap I still have my clothes-”
I’ve been in her head long enough, time to pick her up. I think I’ll take the shower route since she’s still dressed. Now just to find the poem that brings her to Zoozooza. “Aha! Here it is:”
Down the drain you go,
Come join us in Zoozooza,
It’s time to stop feeling low,
Now one, two, three,
Hoorah you’re with me!
“Ah! I’m going down, down the drain! I’ve decided that this isn’t really happening. Whoa, maybe it is. Where am I?” Samantha shrieked as she slid down the slimy pipe. A deplorable feeling went through her for a moment and then it was total darkness. All that was heard was the hastening of water around her. Oddly enough the smell was chocolate (It’s always fun tapping into human senses and chocolate Zoozooza Delight is what she smelled! It’s our worldly desert).
“How ya doing? I’m Farez Yellow. I hope the commute wasn’t too bad, was it?”
“You’re tiny. You’re purple. You’re last name is Yellow. You’re tiny. You’re purple. You’re last name is Yellow.”
“No need to repeat yourself, no need to repeat yourself! Anyway, if you are going to say the same thing over and over again use some emotion, like I just did! Yes, I’m purple as are all people of my kind. I’m not tiny, neither are those in my world. You’re huge and pale. By the way even I’m not sure why my last name is Yellow.”
After calming Samantha down and letting her know why she was here and that she couldn’t leave until I let her, things got a lot easier. I took her into Zoozooza central. She looked dazed by the architecture of my world. I could tell she had the eye of an artist, an artist that could be brought back along with her happiness. I grinned in thought of my own ingenuity. This might actually work.
People of my kind don’t dilly dally, so I quickly brought Samantha to Sonja, the leader of this particular mission. When we arrived at her regal home, an elegant yet young woman opened the door. It was Sonja. She immediately began the first part of our operation. All the lights shut off in Sonja’s sky room. I mean sky quite literally. There is a projector that makes the ceiling look like moving clouds, the walls are full of swaying trees, and the floor is soft, delicate grass. The one thing I’m not sure of is how she makes it smell and even taste so amazing. I feel like I’m outside on a beautiful day with fresh air eating chocolate Zoozooza Delight. Now she has our movie rolling.
“It’s time to bring back some memories.”
“What are you talking about Farez? Hey that’s me when I was little. Why is my eighth birthday playing on the wall? Why do you even have this on video? What’s going on here?” Samantha solicited anxiously.
“Shh, just watch,” Sonja snapped.
Make them remember, that’s the first step. It’s hard to think tomorrow can be a good day when you don’t remember what it’s like to have a good day. Kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and third grade went by. We just started to receive smiles from Sam. Fourth grade, fifth grade, and sixth grade strolled past us. She began to laugh. Then came the hard part to watch, Samantha’s last year with her mom. School shopping for Sam’s first year of junior high. Ice cream after she broke her leg playing basketball. Thirteenth birthday party at the mall. First day of eighth grade. Fourteenth birthday. The day before the car accident she had a fight with her mom. Sam and her mom rarely fought, sadly this was the one day they did. Samantha began to cry. Step one was over. Step two was about to begin: we needed to get her talking.
“I think I’ve done enough, I’ll come back later.” Over course, as Sonja knows, I’m still listening in on their conversation.
“Thanks Farez,” Sonja whispered.
“What’s going on here? Why would you show me this? I know why I’m here; you told me you want me to be happy. Why would watching the argument I had with my mom before she died make me happy?” Samantha demanded in a distressed tone.
“You’ll see just be patient. Good things come with time. I lost my mother as well. I’m twenty-five and I lost her ten years ago. We’re not as different as you thought, are we?” Sonja acknowledged. “I realize that some of that was hard to watch, but do you remember all the heart warming memories? Dwelling on the past won’t get you anywhere. But if you focus on the bright future I know you have, I promise, you will go places.”
This conversation went on through the night. Samantha really connected with Sonja. I think Sonja even got something out of it. It took much convincing to help Sam realize that her family loves and needs her. I think with the third and final step she’ll be ready to go home.
This step can either be the most fun and exciting or sad and heart breaking. Sonja and I now had to send Samantha out into social circumstances and make sure she can cope properly. We will put her through two very different situations, the first being a kind one to see if she can put her guard down. The second is a harsher one, usually the heart breaker, she will have to go through someone ridiculing and making fun of her. We’ve dropped Sam off at our simulation situation site. We have already notified her that we will have holographic humans that will be acting as if they have known her for years.
“Hey Samantha, how has it been going since the accident?” our hologram human said sympathetically.
I heard Samantha take a deep breath and reconsider walking away when she said, “It’s been really hard. My mom was my best friend. But we had a lot of good times. I know I’ll make it through.”
“Is there anything you want to talk to about? You know I’ll always be here for you. Your mother was an amazing woman.”
“Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to talk.”
Here in Zoozooza we have never seen a person of her age do so well so quickly. Sam spoke to our artificial human for at least two hours. We already knew she was ready for the other type of situation so we decided to let her go back to her life. Samantha has a different type of personality than other people, adults included. All she needed was someone to believe in her. Both Sonja and I are sad to see her go. Time goes very slowly in our world. What may have felt like two days to Sam was a mere minute on Earth. Our goodbyes were said and tears were shed. As tradition follows we let her go with a more delightful poem than one from which she entered (the drain just didn’t seem like a proper goodbye!):
Remember this world is only shown
When an unhappy person is known,
We’re here to bring light to your day
But a secret we must stay,
We’ll remember you forever,
Forget you, never
Now go on and have fun,
Our work here is done.
We kept on eye on Sam when she got home. We noticed her give her dad and brother a hug. As weeks went by she started to make friends. We knew she wouldn’t be changed immediately but we’re always happy to give someone a head start. So if you’re ever feeling down just close your eyes and dream of Zoozooza.