Like spring, the emails arrived. Starting slow but gaining strength. Their origins were different; their receiver was one. Their messages of rejection were differently worded, but their intent was the same. And the feelings they invoked, duplicitous.
When the bright star appeared in the eastern sky, the chosen email made her way through the ether, quivering with unsuppressed excitement, into the inbox. Nothing about her felt familiar. Her content, worded similarly to her brethren, had one glaring difference.
It was an email of acceptance. An oasis amongst the desert.
“Hello! I am Tick.” She shook her head, a self-deprecating tic, “I know it also means the fleas, but in my case, it means a checkmark. Like a yes.” Her eyes, full of wonder, gazed around her new house. Where so many emails stood, advertising their wares, confirmations and credentials. She tried to catch the jaded eyes of the others, but they stood in silence. Or perhaps, envy.
“So, have you guys been here for long? I just got in. Whoosh, the sent me and here I am! Do you reckon, the receiver, err… this Natasha, would be happy to read me? I bear good news.” At the pointed glare of the latest rejection from PenmagiKa, her voice petered out. “You guys are not very friendly, are you?” she whispered under her breath.
“Are you mocking us? With your “oh-I-am-so-peppy” talk?” growled PenmagiKa-2021.
“I think she assumes she is better than us. Just because ‘she bears good news’” rasped PenmagiKa-2020.
“Hey, you guys…”
“Oh. I get it. She knows she is going to generate happiness in Natasha and that is why she is gloating.” Words eked out of the Women’sWebba email, interrupting her.
“No! My contents do not decide if I am good or not!” She raised her chin. “I decide me.”
The emails broke out in raucous laughter.
“Oh, she is precious. ‘I decide me’,” sniffed PenmagiKa-2021 as tears streamed down her cheeks.
“What? Bringing good news is anathema?” Tick parried.
“Anathema! Ooh, points for that, newbie!” taunted Women’sWebba.
“I refuse to feel bad about my content. I am here to bring Natasha joy, and so be it,” Tick said as her eyes flashed. And her chin rose up.
The ping emanating from the laptop alerted Natasha about the incoming mail. Should I open it? Oh, it is from Penguin. I have been waiting for this email for ages. What if it brings another rejection?
She closed her eyes as her hands moved in tandem over the trackpad, clicking on the email. Her eyes sprung open.
Your manuscript has been…”
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