My mother seems so depressed at times. I wish I could do something, but I can't. When I was little, for bedtime stories she would tell me stories of her adventures that she had when she was a kid. I remember sometimes she would finish the stories while in tears. I would feel so awful for her and say, "Mommy why are you crying? Please don't cry, it makes me sad." She always gave me so many hugs and would say, "I'm so sorry, remember Anna, you mean the world to me. You are all that I have left." I miss those times when she could so simply comfort me like that. Things aren't that easy when you grow older.
My name is Anna. My mother, Katara, is all I have. I have never known my father and my mother never speaks of him. I used to wonder if my father was that boy she used to talk about all of the time in her stories; Aang was his name I believe. My favorite story that she told me was the one where Aang kissed her right before he left to face the Fire Lord on the Day of Black Sun, and that was when she decided that she loved him, not as a brother or a best friend, but as something else unexplainable. Mother will never tell me what happened to this boy. It must have been something horrible.
I am a waterbender. When I told my mom, it made her the happiest person on the face of the earth, but only for a few hours. That's the thing about happy things. They never last, and it only makes it hurt worse when the happiness stops. About 2 years ago I found out that I was a waterbender and by now, I am a very accomplished waterbender, almost a master. This also makes my mom happy. It doesn't last. I hate that happiness never lasts.
Today is my 16th birthday. After 16 years, you can probably imagine that I am getting pretty tired of all of my mom's moping around and being depressing. I am going to go talk to her today. "Hey mom, you got a sec?" She looks up from the book she was reading, I think the title is "When all you once had is gone". No wonder she is so depressed if she reads these kinds of books. "Sure, come sit." I walk over and plop down on the floor (we just got these new fancy plush cushions to sit on.). "Mom, why are you so depressed all of the time? It has to do with that boy… Aang… doesn't it? Mom, please tell me, I feel like it's my business to know." She looks hurt. Oh crap, I didn't mean to hurt her feelings. Why do older women have to be so sensitive? She sighs and I can tell she is willing to tell me the story. "Well, me, your uncle Sokka, Toph, you remember Toph right? And Aang, were going for the second time to face the Fire Nation capital. If we did not win it this time it would mean the end for us. It was life or death, kill or be killed. We were lucky enough to have two chances. We split up, Sokka went with Toph and I went with Aang. We were attacked repeatedly by hundreds of guards, and by the time we reached the Fire Lord's throne room, we were both so worn out that it was unbelievable. We were had third degree burns, all over our bodies, we were bleeding out of our mouths. We were so close to death. But suddenly Aang yelled, 'NOOO! We have gone through way too much for this to be over now! I'm going to fight the Fire Lord and I don't even care if I die anymore!' He screamed loudly and I could hear the pain in his voice, feel the pain in the vibration of his deepening voice. I walked over to where he was pacing and said, 'I care if you die, Aang, more than you'll ever know. But we both know that you have to do this, it is your destiny, and I really do think that it is so unfair that such a great burden has been laid on your shoulders. I wish more than anything that we could just go back now, and you and I could have a happily ever after. But we can still have an "Ever after" if not anything else.' I leaned in and we kissed, and it ended all to soon, and I wanted more than anything for that kiss to last forever." I could see the pain, and at the same time joy, in my mother's face as she recalled this eventful moment of her life. So far her story has left me with one question. Is it bad to feel sorry for your mother?
"As we pulled apart, I could see in his eyes all of the sadness that he had bottled up for so long. The sadness for losing everyone he knew only to come into a world where most people had lost hope in him and had turned on him. We pulled apart and he just smiled at me, unable to say anything else. He turned around, and that was the last time I ever got to look at his beautiful, magnificent gray eyes ever again. He knocked the throne room's door off of its hinges with a fierce blast of air, and the battle began immediately. Fire Lord Ozai and his horrid daughter, Azula, who had done unimaginable things to us and especially Aang, were directly 40 feet in front of us. I remember, by the end of the battle, we were both in more pain than we had ever experienced before, with deep cuts and burns all over our bodies. We were doing horrible, but our enemies were doing no better. We were all about to die and honestly I just felt like say, 'Seriously Fire Lord guy, we're all about to die here, why don't we just call it a truss.' But I couldn't say that. I couldn't say anything, we just had to keep on fighting. I knew that eventually Aang was going to have to do something. We needed the Avatar State, but he hadn't used that for a long time and he never told me why. The rest of the story is gruesome and gory, and honestly I don't think I can tell you about it without breaking into tears, and I'm tired of crying."
What should I do? I don't think that, "I'm sorry for your loss, mom." exactly fits. My mom went through it all, she saved the world, the Avatar was in love with her as was she with him. How can I ever live up to that? "Thank you for telling me mom, it makes me feel a lot better to know. I'm sorry that you had to go through so much when you were so young. And…um… I'm sorry that I almost made you cry again." I say quietly, my voice not working like I expected it to. Gee, I'm not very good with this apology, make-my-mother-feel better stuff. She looks me straight in the eyes and when she is about to say something that is probably going to be very deep and mushy, someone knocks on the door. Thank God.
"I'll get that" and my mom gets up and answers the door. Immediately I hear a deep booming voice that I have never heard before. "Yes, hello Ms. Katara, It is an honor. I am looking for a young lady named Anna. Does she live here?" I could see the look of confusion on my mother's face. "Um, yes sir. She lives here. Why do you need her? It's her birthday and I was…" "The chief along with the counsel would like to have a word with her, if you don't mind." I got up and walked over to the door and gave my mom that please-let-me-go-I'm-begging-you-face. She nodded and said, "I guess I don't mind, just don't stay too long." I nodded to her and ran out the door with the stranger.
It was an awkward walk through the great city of The Southern Water Tribe, which was recently rebuilt thanks to my mother. "So, what's it like being the daughter of the most famous person around?" I just blew off the question, it really gets on my nerves when people ask me that. "Phhh, I'll just say it's nothing special." He just looked at me like I was crazy. If I am crazy, it's all because of my depressed mother and her absurd and "famous" life and accomplishments.
"Well here we are, the Temple of the Generals. Named for all of the great generals and war people throughout the history of the past war. We were going to name it after your mother, but she insisted we didn't." Man, does this guy have a crush on my mom or something? He keeps bringing her up and if he doesn't stop I swear I might have to freeze him to the wall and leave him there until it melts. A strange man, with a blue shirt that came all the way down to his knees, with darker navy blue pants under it came running to over to me. He shook my hand very firmly and looked me in the eyes and said, "Hello, Anna. It is an honor to finally meet you, happy birthday. I am Chief Pinyin."
Okay, did he say it was an honor to meet me? I think he thinks he's talking to my mother. And did he say his name is "Pinyin"? Wow, do I feel sorry for this guy, he probably still lives with his mom. "Hello, it's nice to meet you too. Why did you bring me here?" "Well, do you remember these?" He holds 4 toys out for me to see. One looks like a twirly-thingy, kind of like a noisemaker, one looked like a hog-monkey, another like a pinwheel, and the last like a sea-lion-turtle. "Why do these look so familiar?" I asked them. "Don't you remember? These were your favorite toys when you were little." "As a matter of fact, no, I don't remember them. Can you just get on with this, I kinda have to be somewhere." He just looked at me like he didn't even care that I had just been so rude to him. "These are the symbols of the four nations, and out of a million toys in the world, you picked these. Anna, you are the Avatar." He took a deep breath and just stared at me, and I stare right back at him, with my jaw hanging all the way down to my bellybutton.
He has to be lying. This can't be happening. I pinch myself in the arm as hard as I can, with my nails digging into the skin, to make sure that I am not dreaming. Oww, that really hurt, so I guess I am not dreaming. Maybe I'm in a nightmare. "WHAT? You have to be kidding! I can't be the Avatar!" He put a comforting hand on my shoulder, which only added to the pressing weight on my shoulders. "There is no doubt that you are the Avatar, Anna. Why is this a bad thing to you?" I really don't feel obliged to answer his question and I knock his hand off of my shoulder and run as fast as I can out of the temple. I can't be the Avatar, I just can't.
I keep running, even though I've already passed my house. I'm not sure what I'm avoiding, my mom knowing I'm the Avatar, or the stewed sea prunes that she is probably fixing for my birthday dinner right now. I stop running when I reach the docks and I seriously consider jumping in the water and swimming as far away from here as I can. I am so angry, I could waterbend this whole ocean, form it into a huge wave, and then drown Chief Pinhead in it. I am so angry. I amso angry. Now that I think about it, I don't know why I'm angry or whom I'm angry at, but I still am very angry.
"Anna, where have you been?! You've had me scared to death!" The voice came as such a shock to me that I almost fell in the water. I turned around and was not surprised to learn that the startling voice came from my mother. She grabbed me, held me in a tight embrace, and did not let go for a very long time. I find it strange what severe torture that is the loss of the person that you care about most in the world will do to you. "Mom, It's ok, I'm ok, you can let me go." She let go and just looked at me. I'm not sure how long that went on for, but it felt like forever. "What's wrong, honey?" She must have been able to see the anger rising and growing even hotter by the second. "Mom, I don't know how to put this gently, so I'm just going to say it. Mom, I'm the Avatar." I winced and turned away. I didn't hear any sound come from her at all; she wasn't even breathing. After a few moments of pure agony of waiting to hear her response, I let all of my anger loose.
"I'm sorry mom. I shouldn't have told you. I'm just so angry. It's not like I didn't have enough problems in my life already. I have to deal with growing up without a father, a moping mother, loneliness, teaching myself waterbending, and now to top it all off, I'm the Avatar! How ironic is that?! My own mother, was the one who helped the Avatar before me, and now she's all depressed because he's dead. And she's going to be even worse off now than before because I'm here to remind her that her one and only love is dead and I'm here to replace him. I am so angry. I hate everyone and I especially hate you right now, mother, for bringing such pain on me! If you really loved me, you would make it stop! Just make it stop!!!" Those last words came out so loud that I could hear it echo multiple times in the distance. I felt something strange come over me and I looked at my mother's face. She returned my glare with a look of happiness like she was remembering something, a look that I haven't seen on her face since I was a little girl; and even then she just made those faces to make me feel better. I noticed around me a glow of white that could not have been from the moon, for it was far too bright. I felt myself rising into the air and in the blink of an eye, I hit the ground with a thud. I looked around at my surroundings; noticing things were different. Instead of snow, there was brown, dead grass. Beautiful mountains were beset all around me, and to be honest, it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. "Hello? Is anyone here?" Wow, I just now realized how hungry I am, having skipped breakfast this morning. "Hi" said an unfamiliar voice from behind me. I leaped about 10 feet in the air. "Oops, sorry didn't mean to scare you. You are Anna, correct?" I took a closer look at the man, or kid, for he looks no older than 13. He is bald with an arrow on his forehead and he wears orange and yellow robes with what looks like black pants and red pants. He looks familiar somehow. "Yes I am Anna? Are you here to tell me how lucky I am to have the great and legendary Katara for a mother? 'Cause if you are, I really don't want to hear it." He gaped at me, his jaw hanging down all the way to the ground. "What? Why are you staring at me? It is really starting to creep me out." He shook his head as if he had just splashed water on his face. "Oh, I'm really sorry, it's just that, I used to know Katara, before… before I died." He bit his lower lip and turned away from me, as if to hide his shame for some reason unknown to me. "Wait, a minute, you're dead. So does that mean, I'm dead?!" I asked with panic rising in my voice. He laughed a manly laughed that made him seem wise far beyond his years. "No, no. You're just in the Avatar State, and I am the previous Avatar, Aang." I felt my eyes grow insanely large. This is him, the boy my mother loved. It felt so wrong for me to be standing here with him, not even knowing who he is, when she would have enjoyed just looking at him from a distance. "You're Aang?! My mother went into a state of depression and never came out because of you!" He looked like I had just cut off his balls, shot him with a machine gun, and buried him in India, and then spat on his grave.
"Would you deliver a message for her from me?"
"Sure, I know she would love that."
"OK, tell her that I am so sorry that I let her down, that I love her, and that I said hi."
I laughed a little, he was not a very good romantic being only 12 or 13 years old, but I can still see why my mom loved him.
"Well, I will try to tell her, if she will listen to me. I kind of yelled at her before I came to this place, and it wasn't just the typical 'I hate you! Why can't I have a pet
Platypus-bear!?', it was more like 'I hate you, you depressed, lame excuse for a mother!'." I felt bad for treating my mother like that. Sure she was depressed, but I think that actually turned out to help me in the end. It made me stronger.
"Well, if I know Katara, which I do, then she will love you even if she actually thought that you meant what you said. Don't worry, I guarantee you that she will welcome you home with very fervent hugs and kisses. Oh, how I miss those…"
I smiled at Aang and gave him a hug. I haven't hugged anybody since I was little, I guess Aang just has that effect on people.
"Thanks Aang, I hope we will meet again."
"Oh, I know we will, trust me. The Avatar before me, Avatar Roku, and I practically became best friends, we saw each other so much. Keep safe, now."
Suddenly I open my eyes like I had just awoken from a good night's rest, and see my mother by my side, already grabbing my hand in hers. No longer do grass and mountains surround me, but snow and glaciers once more. "Mom, I'm so sorry I yelled at you, please forgive me. I did not mean a word of it, I was just angry" She hugged me and when we pulled apart I saw a single tear roll down her cheek. "Well, I suppose you know, with your experience with the Avatar and all, that I was just in the Avatar State. While I was there, guess who I saw?" I paused so I could see her face when she figured out whom I was talking about. I immediately saw her face light up and she started to laugh and cry hysterically at the same time. When her roars of laughing were over I continued my story. "He told me to tell you he was sorry, he loves you, and he says hi." At this my mother began to start laughing even harder, but no tears came. My mom was finally happy again.