Author’s Note: The events in this story are based on real events that transpired upon my return to Animal Crossing: New Leaf almost a year since I bought it. Enjoy.
It has been a while since my last visit to Brycevil – last I checked, it was twelve months ago. Times have changed since then. At this point one year ago, I needed to move on. I longed for adventure, for countries full of kongs and for strange Italian dreams. That was the life I chose over this one, but every so often I would think about returning home to Brycevil one last time.
The train feels a bit lonely. Everyone has cars nowadays, but the only way into Brycevil is via rail. I had hesitated before I got on, not knowing whether it was a good idea to return to a place I so eagerly abandoned months ago. Rain patters against the railcar window – typical Brycevil weather, raining even in the middle of summer. The train slows I grab my bags and ready myself. The doors open and I step off. Despite all of this, I feel somehow joyful – I am home again.
Brycevil does not seem all that different from before. The paths I spent hours laboriously putting together twelve months ago are still intact, and aside from the occasional weed and dandelion, so is much of the vegetation. I feel relieved by this observation; familiarity always has its way of comforting an individual.
“Oooooh! Bryce! It’s been a while since I last saw you!”
A familiar voice. I turn around and find a large birdlike creature gleefully staring at me. I stood there in silence. I was never the talkative type.
“How’ve you been doing? I suppose as long as you’ve been good, it’s all good!” The delight in Avery’s voice is somewhat unsettling, but it is good to see and hear a good friend greet you despite the circumstances.
“Everyone in town sort of does what they want when they want, and it’s one reason I love this town!”
We stand there for several seconds, neither of us moving an inch. Then, we part ways, Avery and his old self strutting along nonchalantly just as he had twelve months ago. He was always one of my favorites, his upbeat personality and willingness to chat a nice distraction from the day to day work of being mayor. But there is something about what he said to me that strikes me. Those last four words he spoke: “I love this town!” Even after a year – a year of me leaving them, abandoning them for my own adventures and leaving this town to hell – even after a year, he still cares enough to live in this lowly little village only accessible by rail.
A familiar tune rings in the distance. It is the town bell, which sings the theme of “Xenoblade Chronicles” every hour. I handpicked that tune myself a long time ago, and it feels good to hear it again.
I walk across the bridge, which spreads over the river that divides Brycevil into its north and south districts. It was one of my personal projects back when I was mayor, the first of many that I promised to complete in my tenure. Unfortunately, my ambition go the best of me; many a project remain uncompleted for one reason or another, and it is something I deeply regret.
I pass a familiar house. The sign says, “Kitty’s House.” Kitty is another one of my favorite residents, and one that I secretly have an interest for. She is attractive, has just the right amount and attitude, and is always dreaming big. I approach the door, but stop short of knocking. I begin to wonder, will she remember me?
I knock. No one is home. I try turning the doorknob, but it is locked. She must not be home – but where then can she be?
I continue to make my way southeast towards the beach. The paths that once highlighted the many unique features of my town now look like abandoned roadways. One path now leads to a dead end – a house used to stand there, but has since been replaced by several patches of dirt.
I walk by Deli’s House. Deli, of all the residents in my town, is the one I detest the most. His house sites right in the middle of a construction zone, where I had once planned to build a playground. No matter how hard I tried to kick him out of Brycevil, he seemed adamant to stay. I made it my life goal to make his life miserable, but there his house remains, unmoved, almost as if out of spite. He is not home either, so I move on.
My house rests on the edge of town. I picked the location based on its beachside view, though in hindsight I probably would have preferred to build it elsewhere, perhaps closer to Main Street where the majority of my mayoral duties took place. I open my custom blue mailbox, which still beeps obnoxiously even after all this time. Inside are letters of love and farewell. I learn that Curly and Hippeux had moved on, likely to lead better lives themselves – a sad set of affairs indeed, though I cannot say I blame them. In my mailbox is also a gift, this one from Kitty. It was a pair of green glasses.
Kitty, after all this time, even in my known absence, had bought me gifts to pass the term, knowing that I would one day return and retrieve them, and remember how much Brycevil means to me.
I need to find Kitty.
I decide to head north. One of the paths leads me to an unfamiliar home. A new neighbor? Perhaps Kitty had gone to give this fellow a housewarming gift? I enter without thinking – certainly unwise of me, as I am greeted somewhat unkindly by its owner. Unfortunately, Kitty is not there.
I continue my way towards Main Street. On my way, I run into Deli. Anger begins flowing through my veins. I make sure he remembers the pain and suffering he had placed upon my shoulders a year ago, my strong desire to build a playground only prevented by his mere existence. Too bad Kitty is not there to witness this.
I pass the town garden. The place was once home to rows and rows of lilies and daisies. Now it is just a wasteland. The lone clock sitting in the middle of the garden continues to tick, every second past is another second wasted away. There is still no sign of Kitty.
I make my way onto Main Street, where the shops line the horizon of this once thriving landscape. Today, it is just Merry strolling around with her yellow umbrella. From what I recall, Kitty and Merry were best of friends, though unfortunately she too is not away of Kitty’s whereabouts. She seems genuinely happy to see me again though, which is always nice. Kitty and I once through a birthday party for her, and needless to say it was completely surreal.
I pace back and forth, across town and back. Twenty minutes pass and I still cannot find Kitty. Shops, homes, beaches – I check everywhere, but she is nowhere to be found. I am growing weary – perhaps she had left already, her house a reminder that a great soul once roamed Brycevil, a soul that is now abandoned. Then, out of the corner of my eye, a feline dressed in white, in her hand a parasol which bobbed up and down with her movement.
I approach cautiously. Thoughts flood through my mind. Will she remember? I tap her on the shoulder.
“What’s this?” She turns around. “Cutie back in Brycevil?” She always called me Cutie. I never really understood why. But that does not matter.
“You look well. Have you been traveling? Working? Both?” I suppose you could say that. Much has happened in the past twelve months, but now it is all a blur.
“I want to hear all about it!” You will, Kitty. Trust me, you will.
As we part ways, I am reminded why I love Brycevil so much. Yes, I had once longed for action and adventure at some point. I wanted to get away from this town devoid of drama or conflict. I wished so hard to leave, that I forgot about what I was leaving behind. I was leaving behind my friends, my family. The adventures we go on – even if not the sword-weilding, guns-blazing type – were nonetheless wholly enjoyable and always entertaining. Fishing, bug hunting, fossil collecting – all these things I took for granted, only to return to them twelve months later.
I love it here, and I do not ever want to leave again.