Best Friends for Life and Longer
For Shannon and Ricky. May they some day come to their senses and get back in touch with each other.
Gosh, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? It’s kind of strange to think that I’m actually writing this letter to you. I mean.... what happened, Kitty? We used to be the best of friends, and, well, here I am, stating how strange it is to be writing to you.
Anyway. How has life been for you? My life has been fine. I got into a boarding school near the base of Terror Mountain, and I studied the history of the Lost Desert for a few years. Ironic, isn’t it? As it turns out, they actually have a really good history program here. I think you’d like it, Kitty. I remember how much you used to like history...
I don’t know what to think. Did she really write this letter to me? After everything that had happened so long ago? She wants to be friends again?
I put the letter down and look out the window. It’s raining again. That seems to be all it does here in my corner of Mystery Island. That’s part of the reason why I picked it; I love the rain.
I walk through my small neohome, passing memorabilia of my travels around Neopia since I left Neopia Central: losing scratch cards from Sidney’s kiosk in the Haunted Woods litter an amber coral coffee table that I bought in Kiko Lake; a small collection of potions I picked up in Brightvale and Meridell fill the Tyrannian stone shelves; odds and ends that I got for a bargain at the Igloo Garage Sale are scattered all over the place; all of which I treasure greatly. I walk into my bedroom, where I keep my greatest treasures of all. Under my bed, where the greatest of my great treasures reside. I pull out my Illusen lunch box, containing the greatest of the greatest of my great treasures. I open it, shifting around the contents a little as I do so: a Black Bearog stamp, which I acquired the winter I found myself in the Haunted Woods; a two dubloon coin, which was given to me by my best friend on Krawk Island; a jingly bell, which was a gift from a young JubJub that I had babysat back in Neopia Central. I push that all aside, and reach for a photograph that had fallen to the bottom of the lunch box.
A photograph of Lucy and me. Lucy, the red Aisha that had always been there for me. We could talk about anything together; she was the best friend that I had ever had.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve regretted what happened between us, how many times I’ve wished that we could just put it all behind us and go back to the way we had been. Go back to the fun times of childhood and earlier. Be best friends again.
I stare at the photograph for several moments. It’s strange to see her smiling at me, although she had really been smiling at the camera; but still, I haven’t even looked at this photograph in years.
With semi-tear-filled eyes, I put the photograph back into the lunch box and replace it under my bed. I return to the living room, where I had left the letter. I pick it up and read it again.
I haven’t gone too far from where we grew up. But then, you probably already knew that. The same way I knew that you would have moved to Mystery Island---that’s the thing I always liked about you, Kitty. You’ve always had that thirst for adventure that I could never quite muster up for myself.
Thinking about it now, we were pretty much opposites. Remember? I was always so shy, you were the one to go out and be social. I never wanted to go too far away from home, you wanted to see the world...
Her handwriting has improved since I’ve last seen it. She still runs her letters together occasionally, but it’s not as bad as it once was. There’s still that familiar slant to the right---Lucy is left-pawed---and she still dots her i’s with hasty squiggles.
At the thought of this, I again put the letter down and go to my Illusen lunch box. I pull it from its hiding place, and rummage through it for a small slip of paper that had been pushed up into a corner of the lunch box.
I gently pick up the slip and unfold it. Best friends for life and longer, it reads. Lucy had written it and passed it as a note in math class one day. Mrs. Wentworth had noticed, and she had seized the note and read it allowed to the entire class. Once she had realized that there was nothing interesting written in it, she had crumpled it up and tossed it into the wastebasket. After class, Lucy had gone and taken the note from the wastebasket, and she returned it to me. “Don’t ever lose this,” she told me. “It’s not a statement; it’s a promise.”
Thinking about that now brings more tears to my eyes. I carry the note, along with the entire lunch box, back into the living room and back to the letter. I compare the handwriting of the note to the handwriting of the letter. I couldn’t help but crack a smile at the thought of Lucy writing them both for me.
I put the note back into the lunch box as another thought hits me. Lucy is incredibly shy, and has never been the one for adventure. Why, then, did she apply to a boarding school near the base of Terror Mountain? I decide to keep reading to see if she gave an answer. She did.
You’re probably wondering, then, how I was able to pull myself together and head on out to boarding school. Well... let’s just say, we spent too much time together as kids, and a tiny little bit of your thirst for adventure rubbed off on me. Just enough for me to spend four years at a boarding school a few hundred miles away from home. After that, I hightailed it out of there and ran back to home sweet home.
I am shocked at what I read. Did I really influence her that much? I mean, we were best friends and all, but did I really have that much of affect on her? I continue to read, eyes and mind open to what she had left to say.
It's really different here without you, Kitty. Really quiet. Nothing really goes on without you here to cause it. (I chuckle softly at this.) It doesn’t even feel like home, really. I mean, nothing really has changed, except for the fact that you’re not here---and that’s enough to make home feel like it’s not home at all. I don’t know... I don’t really feel like I belong anymore. Isn’t that silly? But... I don’t know.
No one else really moved away after they grew up. They’ve lived here, and raised children of their own. Mrs. Wentworth still teaches math in the elementary neoschool. Old Man Jenkins still runs the General Store. The Money Tree still gives the needed to the needy. Nothing else has changed, Kitty, except for the fact that you’re not here.
Anyway. I just wanted to let you know that I miss you and that I really want to hear from you again. We used to be so close, Kitty. It’s not too late to rekindle that old friendship.
Best friends for life and longer,
I set the letter aside. Sinking into a green beanbag chair that didn’t match the rest of my décor, but was the only piece of furniture that I had brought here from Neopia Central, I pick up the pencil and notebook that I keep handy for my poetry and begin to write.
My dear friend Lucy,
It has been so nice hearing from you after all these years...