Do you remember that day you spent in the Pokémon world?
It was such a normal, wonderful day, like any day in your own world.
In fact you nearly mistook it for a trip you made in your own world until the memories come into focus with such clarity and realism, the sights, and sounds and sensations all coming alive again, bringing you back.
You remember walking down the street because you had just missed the Ampharos powered streetcar whose steel tracks were set within the autumn colored cobblestones that reflected the afternoon sun.
You noticed a man walking his Herdier, and reminded that this was now possible, you let one of your Pokémon out to accompany you as you tried to navigate the city without a map.
Your Pokémon, thrilled to be with out in world with you, tugged you down a side street, leading you to a canal. You had smelt and heard the waterway, but hadn’t yet seen yourself.
Then you made your way along the street beside the water, loitering here and there, glimpsing the water Pokémon swimming beneath the surface. As you focus on the water, you’re pleasantly startled by the whistle of a Lapras shaped ferry packed with children returning home from school.
That day plays out like a film in your mind, and you point out details to yourself as you watch, things you nearly forgot and are delighted to have retained, like that row of shops adjacent the canal bustling with activity.
A man and his Smeargle are painting signs to go in front of their grocery store. Organic Apricorns will be on sale tomorrow, a deal you’ll be sure to avail yourself of. And then there was that pizza parlor a few doors down where a Kricketune is playing appetizing music to the outdoor diners as the smell of coal oven smoke and baking pies wafts out the door.
You pass a little cart on the corner where a young lady is selling big fluffy waffles covered with powdered sugar. Her Cyndaquil’s flames help keep the giant waffle iron hot, its fire glistening in the canal as her Furret pours the batter.
The streets gradually darken, the lamps are put on. People are buying groceries, getting off from work are walking or biking home, or commuting to their favorite pub or theater, some with Pokémon at their side, some without, and no one taking much notice either way.
Two trainers are having a battle in the square while giant monitors display the region’s evening news, some good, some bad. It seems even here there are problems the presence of Pokémon alone can’t provide solutions for, but this only balances the normality and novelty of this world and make you feel all the more at home.
This all seems so fantastic and wonderful to you thinking back, but when you were there, it was the most normal place in the universe, a place your heart had lived a thousand years even though your body was a universe away. No one was taking photographs, no one gawking at what sets this world apart, but just living their lives and minding their business.
But the magic sensation of being somewhere wonderful was present too, and you feel it again as you remember being there.
It was real. As real as anything else your brain had ever told you was real. As real as the fondest dream or your favorite waking memory. The means by which you found yourself in this world are but a frivolous detail, something you care not concern yourself in recalling now, and if asked later, would acknowledge only with a sardonic, knowing, grin.
No matter how you arrived, you were there. Focusing, you’re bombarded by so many details, the Patrat that scurried across the street holding a bagel in its cheeks, the wild Skitty that was curled up in a tree you walked beneath, the Pidgeys and Pidoves loitering around people’s feet, pecking at waffle crumbs or whatever edible else was dropped.
The Pokémon Center was in between a tailor’s shop and a video store, and you walked right past it, having no need to visit at the moment. The line was out the door anyway.
And then there was the park you took a break in that evening. So easy to forget a park in a city so calm and verdant already, with benches everywhere and people young and old people playing or resting with their Pokémon. All your Pokémon were running all around and playing with the Pokémon of others nearby, and with the wild ones that called the park home.
The electric tramway ran right through the park, the polished rails set in the grass, and the Galvantula silk trolley wire hung discretely from the boughs of trees as the streetcar, almost unnoticed, slithered down the path, glowing from within with soft lamplight.
You laugh as you recall the clever Murkrow that were perched on the trees above the tracks, dropping thick-shelled nuts onto the rails to be crushed open by the train when it passed so they could eat the buttery flesh within.
It was warm that evening, just as you liked it, but a refreshing breeze grazed the city, and it carried the scent of the canal’s trickling water and somehow even the golden lampglow that painted the city with gentle light and swaying shadows.
You watch your Pokémon play, and regret as you often did that you can only carry six Pokémon as you think of all the others who would have loved to have shared that moment with you. You wish for their sake more than your own that you all could live in this world forever.
You fondly envision yourself in the park, sitting on that bench, resting your legs and daydreaming still as that Meowth rubbed up against your leg. It belonged to that little girl whose hat was adorned in fragrant flowers.
“Ah, there you are, we were looking everywhere for you! Where were you?” She asks, smiling mirthfully.
You knew that voice. You had spoken to it before, but hadn’t seen its owner until now. Though you weren’t at all worried before, her having found you was a relieving turn of events as you return all your Pokémon but one to their Pokéballs and follow the girl.
Missing the trolley, and the exploration that ensued, delayed your arrival, and she and her Meowth set out looking for you. She brought you to a bed and breakfast in a narrow, tall house squeezed in between a host of others in sight of the canal.
There were guests within the house, and the host’s family members too, almost hard to tell apart so at ease they all were in spite of their diversity. A few were sitting around the table, helping themselves to the giant pot of potato soup sitting atop the stove for people and Pokémon alike to eat from.
You pulled out a chair and sat in the dining room, with your own, closest Pokémon sitting obediently by your side as you set your small suitcase on the floor at your feet. Just a single change of clothes is packed within the little suitcase, by this time tomorrow you’d be back in your own world, a fact you force from your mind and enjoy the moment.
It seemed so calm inside, but there was so much activity you now recall. People coming and going, others who were strangers just yesterday sharing the stories like old friends while their Pokémon speaking in their own tongues did the same. You wonder if any of them might also be from your world, but the thought was fleeting, the present held you captive.
You realized after a while that this house hadn’t a single television within it, at that moment all the sounds were real, the flesh and blood voices speaking of things incredible and mundane with the same casual tone. The music filling the room was a traditional local piece the host’s grandfather was playing on his fiddle.
You pet your Pokémon as they lay beside you, eating from the bowl someone had set before them.
And you didn’t tell anyone at home you were visiting the this world today. You aught to have left a note, not that they would have believed you. But you could call and tell some one, just to touch base and say you’re out of town. You check out your mobile phone, but the battery is almost dead.
“Need a charge?” Asked a slightly uncouth middle ager across the table from you. You notice the Joltik asleep in his lap, nestled with a bushel of other guest’s small electronics that were charging, and keeping the man’s laptop powered as he typed throughout the day.
Seeing your own phone amongst the Pokédexes and other devices manufactured in this world makes you realize how the “telephone” you used and carried casually was really more of a handheld computer than anything else, and hardly looked exotic amongst all the other machines there.
You forgot all about the charging phone until the next morning though. In thinking of home, you remember the reason you came here to begin with, that old book in the town’s underground archives that the librarian sent you a letter about.
He offered to mail it, but you insisted you come and receive the book in person, not trusting the postal service in your world, which unlike the Pokémon delivered mail of this world, was not all that reliable.
And then you ate, and sat around the parlor once things settled down and listened to chamber music and news playing on a big old radio console with a few of your smaller Pokémon enjoying your company, as the others in the room were doing as they relaxed after their meal or prepared to head out into the night for some meeting, or show, or just for a stroll.
The flower-hat girl’s mother, who herself had a Persian constantly in her shadow, gives you a cup of hot chocolate.
Even now, you suck your lips and inhale deeply as you remember the perfect, spicy smell of the family recipe piping through your nostrils as you sipped. The drink was so hot you were forced to take your time, savoring each sip for many minutes as you struggled to keep yourself awake.
Guests pass around a basket of fresh baked poffins from the town bakery, made from berries plucked from local trees, with flour ground on a water wheel just a few doors down, and broiled in an oven fired by the baker’s Numel.
You give a Poffin to each of your Pokémon as as late night snack, and as other guests around you are doing, you take one for yourself, washing it down with hot chocolate. Delicious. This isn’t some factory produced pet food, the baker wouldn’t bake anything she wouldn’t be willing to eat herself.
Only later do you realize what a joy it was simply to feed your Pokémon, and to watch them eat.
After the chocolate and poffins, you finally return your Pokémon to their balls and make your way upstairs, escorted by your host and her Persian. Some guests share rooms in something of a hostel, but you have your own little room, all ready for you and untouched but for the little impression Meowth left on the blanket, as she naps on the bed here often when no guest has taken the room.
The warmth of the chocolate in your belly and the soreness of your legs after a long day’s wandering is weighing you down, but you’re intent on exploring the room a bit before you turn in.
There were black and white photos hung on the ivy wallpaper. None of them even slightly fantastic. Oh, but those were Mareep and Flaffy in that one pastoral photo and not sheep, only now do you consciously realize.
One of your favorite moments that night was examining the old writing desk sitting not far from the door. In a less rustic abode this would have been the spot where a computer terminal would sit, but here there were notebooks strewn haphazardly that you wouldn’t dare dare re-arrange to make space for your laptop.
In the undulating, candle-like glow of the antique ceramic lamp shaped like a Lanturn, you open the top drawer of the desk and look inside.
Fountain pens, pencils, some dried out erasers, a little glass Octillery ink pot, a yellowed newspaper you cant help but pick up, very carefully as the aged pulpy paper wants to fall apart at the slightest touch. A photo is on the front page of men accompanied by Drifblims and Drifloons helping tie down a gigantic old dirigible. Old now, in its day state of the art.
Thinking back it’s funny how even in this world where people can fly on their Pokémon, they still invented and built such fantastic flying machines.
You put the newspaper back in the shelf and you close it. You can explore it in detail later, in daylight, and when you’re more alert.
But there’s a bookshelf between the writing desk and the bed, and you couldn’t help but take a glance.
The light from a streetlamp outside the window illuminates parts of the shelf and casts shadows onto others. Some books might have been a decade or two old, but others could be easily have been printed fifty or a hundred years ago. Some are hand written journals, most are purchased. You see a photo album stuffed to point where the memories within were nearly oozing out.
Not wanting to dishevel the delicate album, you browse the shelf’s selection of books. Some are this world’s versions of literary classics, like Charlotte’s Web where Charlotte is an Ariados and Wilbur is a Tepig. Some familiar books were almost entirely unchanged, and were entirely unique to this world.
You nearly squeal with delight as you discover a book of regional myths and fairy tales. You make a mental note to go to a book store tomorrow and find as many old books from this world as possible to bring home with you, and perhaps even plant somewhere for others to find, and scratch their heads at, or to read to your future children.
This idea made you think about the book you came here to receive, that special book that you had seen only once in a dream long ago. But you need to get to bed. You’re tired, you need to get ready for tomorrow. The librarian will be waiting for you, and time would be rare and valuable.
Your little suitcase is sitting open on the bed. Your computer is at the very top. You think of opening it to blog boastfully of where you were spending the night, but why bother? Anyone who cared that much would know where you were and how to find this place for themselves if they truly wanted to.
There’s a book in your suitcase. One of your favorite book that you always loved to travel with, in which you had written your name upon the inside cover. You wonder if this book had ever been written in this world. With subdued glee, you place it on the shelf with all the others, to be found by someone, some day.
You whip off your clothes, throw on your night suit and curl into the bed, sharing it with two of your suitably sized, suitably warm Pokémon while another lays beside the bed, keeping watch and dozing contentedly.
The bed was comfortable, the springs old and creaky, but also old and sturdy. The sheets were woven of Whimsicott cotton and the blanket knitted with Mareep wool. You’d later learn they were crafted by a woman and her Leavanny, both of whom had passed on long ago, their labor of love now giving comfort to you and your Pokémon.
Just laying there, nestled with your Pokémon, you somehow sensed somehow that beneath this roof, the hearts of humans and Pokémon had for generations found comfort in each other and would continue doing so for ages to come.
Even though you’d never sleep in this bed again, that tingle you felt inside as your Pokémon pressed themselves to your heartbeat, and the dreams you’d soon share together, would be a part of this city’s history forever.
You thought of all the humans and Pokémon that shared this bed in the past, and felt a connection with them; and then consider all the others throughout this house right now, and throughout this city, taking that real, tangible closeness for granted while you and your Pokémon savored it fiercely. And then, and now as you recall that precious moment, you shed a tear.
The sky outside the window was bright with moon and lamplight reflected off the canal, but the light when filtered through the glass was just bright enough for you to see yourself beneath the covers with your beloved Pokémon.
You gazed out the window at that other cityscape as your brain stirred. You imagined the book you came here to retrieve, resembling a golden yellow breviary bearing a coat of arms. A book so incredible and important that this journey to retrieve it nearly paled in comparison.
But even so, a night spent close with your Pokémon was so much like any other night, even here.
The tramcar sparked under its wire below on the streets, now mostly empty of people. Dustox and Venomoth orbited erratically around the streetlights.
It just felt so right, so good and natural deep in your heart that for a fleeting moment you wonder how a world without Pokémon could possibly exist, as you fall asleep, and dream peacefully of being exactly where you were, your soul perfectly at rest under the stars of that impossibly distant other universe.
But for now, the present is beckoning you, here in your own, near and familiar world, where those memories remain as real as the brain which experienced them and tucked them away to be treasured forever.
Your world, as unlikely and strange as any other, which your brief adventure opened your eyes to the unceasing magic of.
Your own world, where against all odds you somehow were born, and somehow more unlikely still you found a way to that other world where you were sent for no purpose other than to love and appreciate it like no one born there ever could.
That other world where you were given those priceless gifts you brought back with you; that book with all its incredible knowledge, those Apricorn tree seeds you planted all over your town of that would flourish and bear for centuries to come, and that oddly static-prone yellow wool blanket you‘ll make your child’s bed with some day.
But the everyday hustle and bustle of your own world shoo those thoughts and memories aside.
Perhaps later you’ll sit down again and recall what happened after you opened your eyes the next morning to the sound of Starlys singing outside your window, or how the day you spent in that strange, precious, ordinary city of humans and Pokémon, searching for that librarian unfolded, and all that you learned within the pages of that book that’s now on your shelf among the ordinary books of your own world.
But no matter what, neither you or your Pokémon will ever forget that day.
I wrote this a while ago and my friend asked me to put stuff here so I did.
That was most precious and written with such true fondness!
I think you captured the feelings every 90s kid had when it came to Pokemon in this story. I used to pretend I had Pokemon following me around when I was little and I know others did too. I love the description and the little details- the Mewoth sleeping on the empty bed, the townsfolks' Pokemon helping them sell their wares, the different books- make this world so real. I loved it.