Caleb still felt just stunned. His wife had been gone for two months, passing suddenly in her sleep. The family members had all went home. The kids were back to school. And he did not have an upcoming architectural project, so Caleb was still home. Sitting in his recliner, he rubbed the warm orange fur of his pet growlithe.
Ring Ring. The phone rang. It was Professor Elm. The two had become friends after Caleb’s stint designing the Pokemon Radio Tower in Goldenrod.
“What’s going on, Professor?” Caleb asked.
“Not much. Just seeing how you’re doing?” Elm asked
“Fine, taking it day by day. Need anything designed?”
“Not at the moment, but you know me – I always keep you in mind.” The conversation continued a little awkwardly. Elm wasn’t great on the phone and Caleb wasn’t much better these days. But, it was good to have a friend to talk to.
“Well, I’m getting back to my busy day,” Caleb said, “The kids will be home soon from school.”
“I hear you. I’m heading to Violet City soon, if you’re in town, you should stop by the Gym and maybe we could get lunch.”
“I’d like that,” Caleb said. They said their goodbyes and Caleb went back to sitting.
“Well, Bobby,” he said to his pet growlithe, “Now it’s just you and me again.” Caleb turned on the television and watched the news cycle by. A lot has changed over the years, the collapse of Team Rocket, the rise of Gold as a local celebrity, but still things were still the same in Cherrygrove City. As he sits, a story catches his eye.
The newscaster is interviewing a man in his sixties. The man had just lost a battle at the Violet City Gym.
“Sir, what made you decide to challenge Faulkner? Aren’t you a little old for a new trainer?”
The old man smiled, the grin of that old man just could light up a room. “You are never too old to love Pokemon. You are never too old to try something new.”
Caleb just stared amazed at the screen. Never too old to try something new? he thought to himself. He had loved Bobby, but he never considered himself a trainer. Bobby had been with him since college. The two of them took the university by storm. Bobby had been within him through marriage, through the birth of his two wonderful children. And now, Bobby was with him still even after his wife passed.
Caleb kept this in the back of his head as he heard the bus arrive at the house. Kids are home, he thought.
Junior and Penny came through the door. Junior had just turned 14. He had wanted to be a trainer when he was younger, but gave it up to keep up with schooling. He now wanted to be an architect like his father, but still kept on training from time to time with his Caterpie he named Wiggles. Penny was twelve and sweet as anything. She loved life and loved her pet Teddiursa more than anything in the world. “Hey Daddy!” Penny said, as she gave her father a hug.
“Hey sweetie, how was school?”
“Good. No homework.”
“Me either,” Junior said. Smiling. He hated homework and his father knew it, but Junior wanted to learn enough to do just like his dad did. His dad designed a lot of the most amazing buildings in the Johto region, including the Pokemon Radio Tower in Goldenrod. He wanted to have an impact on the world like his dad.
As he watched the two of his children come into the house, Caleb made a decision. He hadn’t thought it through. It was rash. But it was his and he was going for it. He needed to do something, something for himself. Something to take his mind off things. Something new.
“Kids, I’ve got an announcement. I’m going to Violet City.”
Junior and Penny just looked confused. “Uhm, why?” Junior asked.
“I’m going to challenge Faulkner at the Gym. Bobby will help me do it and whatever other Pokemon I catch along the way. Then, I plan to beat all the gym leaders in Johto.”
Still confused, Junior asked again, “Why?”
“Because I want to. Because it’s something new. Because…I can. I have savings, I don’t need to work every single day. I can try something different. I can try this.” He stopped for a moment, then looked to his children, “You both don’t have to come with me. I know you have your studies, I know this seems crazy. I’ll call up your Uncle Matt in Goldenrod, he can stay here for a time or you both can stay with him. I’m sure Aunt Jen and the kids would also love to see you.”
Penny stood up and walked over to her father. Her eyes and smile were wide open with pride in her father. “That sounds amazing, Daddy! I’m coming with you! And so will Teddy!”
Caleb smiled as he hugged his daughter. Ever the supportive girl, she was just like her mother supporting me on all of my adventurous flights of fancy, he thought. He stood looking down at Caleb Junior. “Well, son, what do you say? Want to join me on my Pokemon journey?”
Junior stood up with a stern look on his face. He walked over to his father and grabbed his hand, “I’m with you, Dad. To the end.” Caleb threw his arm around his son and hugged him close. “Alright, guys. We’re heading to Violet City.”
He left a message for Professor Elm letting him know that he would see him in Violet City. Need to take him up on that lunch…hope he doesn’t mind lunch for four.
They all packed a few things for the walk to Violet City – clothes, food, a couple potions, and a few Pokeballs for Caleb. The journey may be long, but they were ready.
A family Pokemon journey lay ahead of Caleb and, frankly, he hadn’t felt this excited in a long, long time.
This is an introductory story I had been kicking around for a while. I had an idea about a 40 year old man following the death of his wife deciding to go through Johto on his own Pokemon journey. Let me know your thoughts in the comments and if you think the adventures of Caleb and his family are worth exploring further!