Memories of Natasha
She’d been gone too long.
He remembered every detail of that day a year ago. How she’d told them she’d be back as soon as she submitted her application to work at Wintery Petpets.
(She’d loved petpets.)
The wave of her hand, the confident grin, her blue eyes twinkling as she left their house in Neopia. She was heading towards Terror Mountain in her dark blue snow pants and lighter blue jacket. He remembered the wink that was followed by the door closing.
He hadn’t seen her since; he had to face the fact she was gone.
Despite his best efforts, his best friend had slipped through his fingers. “Natasha,” he murmured as he looked through his scrapbook.
Ordered to clean his room, the electric Bori had stumbled across a scrapbook full of pictures of his best friend, Natasha the white Xweetok, and him. Those days had been the best, when Stacy had owned both him and Natasha, and their life was just a game. Then Natasha decided to get a job, since their good friend, a red Scorchio, had been working hard at the Neopian Gift Shop.
The Bori sighed. He had suggested applying for a job at a petpet shop, and the only one that was hiring was Wintery Petpets.
And just like that, Natasha was gone.
The Bori sighed again and looked down at the scrapbook. There was the first time Natasha had come home, straight from the pound, with her big blue eyes and a Sparkling Red Hair Bow shimmering on her white fur. Natasha ran over and gave him, a blue Bori then, a hug as he grinned at his new playmate. That was how their friendship had begun.
Another picture showed him and Natasha standing in front of the Soup Faerie holding up “Proud Volunteers at the Soup Kitchen!” certificates. They were both smiling and you could see that the white Xweetok had her front teeth missing.
(The Bori remembered Natasha’s encounters with the Tooth Faerie, and a sad smile reached his face.)
He was sucked back into that day:
It was a cold day and they had been serving the best of the Soup Faerie’s invisible soup. It had been Natasha’s idea to help the Soup Faerie out. “We should do something to help other pets,” she’d said to him a few days prior. “I’ve signed us both up to volunteer at the Soup Kitchen.” The Bori’s jaw had dropped and he had gaped at his best friend’s boldness.
But that was how it went. All through the month of eating they’d served soup to hungry neopians: Natasha exchanging a few words with each customer, while the Bori hung back shyly. And then, on the last day of the month, the Soup Faerie had surprised them both with the certificates!
(Of course, the Soup Faerie hadn’t been the only faerie to surprise the pair. Natasha had lost her second front tooth just that morning.)
Stacy had taken the picture, proud of her neopets. That month taught the Bori to take risks...
He flipped the page and stared down at the next picture. It was his first birthday party when Natasha was there.
(She had made all the difference.)
Again, his mind focused on the picture:
“Happy happy birthday!” Natasha yelled as the Bori opened his eyes to see her grinning at him. He smiled faintly back and got out of bed. “C’mon, Stacy and I made a cake!” the Xweetok added, prancing around her best friend. She dragged him downstairs, where a ginormous cake sat on the table. The words HAPPY BIRTHDAY were written in light blue frosting across the top. “What do you think?” Natasha had asked excitedly as he gazed at the cake. He had nodded his delight. Natasha squealed happily.
“Make a wish,” the Xweetok whispered into his ear as he drew in a breath to blow out the candles.
Looking back on it now he wished his wish was that Natasha would never leave. That day had taught him to get up with a smile on his face.
The electric neopet sighed and turned to the next page. A picture surrounded by lightning bolts was featured on the next page. There was Natasha; grinning at the Bori as he stared at his surroundings with surprise.
“The Rainbow Pool.” He sighed as the memory engulfed him:
Natasha had gotten him up early. It had been a month since his birthday, but she woke him the same way she had before; with a grin on her face. He’d gotten up, and she’d put a blindfold on his eyes, telling him she had a surprise for him. They’d marched outside, Natasha chattering the whole time, and after a short walk stopped. Natasha removed his blindfold: they were at the Rainbow Pool.
The Bori soon found himself emerged in the rainbow water and Natasha handed him an electric paint brush. Apparently she and Stacy had been saving up to get it for him on his birthday, but they didn’t have enough. After a month more of restocking, game playing and good REs, Natasha had gotten the paint brush cheap thanks to a kind Neopian on the TP. (“So that’s what all those trips to Mystery Island for “dailies” were for...” the Bori had thought.) “Happy belated birthday!” Natasha said as he got out of the Rainbow Pool with his new paint job. “You look great.”
Every memory had a lesson that the Bori had learned and for this one he couldn’t remember what it was, but Natasha had taught him something every day. Every day until she left.
The next picture showed Natasha holding up a Puppyblew that he and Stacy had bought her for her birthday.
The Bori had loved seeing her so happy:
“Happy birthday, Natasha!” he’d called with a grin on his face. (Natasha’s happiness was contagious!) “What are you going to call it?” The Xweetok had turned and smiled at him. If she had been a Lupe her tail would be wagging. If she had been a Kougra she would have been purring. “I’m calling him...” Natasha looked into the Puppyblew’s black eyes. “Lapis Lazuli, but I’ll call him Laz,” she said as she held up the newly named Laz. “He’s named after the favorite gem of Princess Lunara,” she added, proud of her knowledge.
Lunara was Natasha’s greatest hero. The Cybunny had gone on a fabulous adventure and the Bori knew that was something Natasha had always wanted to do.
“Maybe she’s having an adventure right now,” he murmured as he turned the page.
The next picture was one of his favorites. He was shown grinning next to Natasha as she received an award for her hard work volunteering with the Petpet Protection League:
Natasha had been volunteering with the PPL for over a month, and the Bori thought she totally deserved this award. He had volunteered sometimes with her, trying to be as bold as she. Each day after volunteering she’d come home and they’d discuss what they’d do to help petpets and neopets alike. Natasha’s ideas were always the best, and the Bori’s were farfetched.
Natasha had given him imagination and a bit of her boldness.
The electric Bori sighed once more and turned to the second to last page of his scrapbook.
Natasha’s shocked face looked at his grinning face in the picture. That day had not been all that long ago, maybe a year and one month ago:
The Bori had come home after a long day of talking to petpet shop owners. He had been looking for a job for Natasha. His last stop was Terror Mountain before heading back to Neopia Central. To his surprise and delight, Wintery Petpets was hiring. He went in and picked up an application and almost flew back to his home. (If only he were faerie!)
When he walked in with the snow on his scarf not yet melted, Natasha was cleaning the table. Her blue eyes light up as he entered and grew wide as he handed her the application. She was for once speechless as the Bori grinned at her. Of course, Natasha was grateful. That was one of the (few) days the Bori spoke more than the Xweetok.
It took Natasha a whole month to perfect her application. And when she finally thought it was perfect, she had him and Stacy read it ten times each.
Then she tweaked it once more and prepared to deliver it. Stacy had bought her the dark blue snow pants and lighter blue jacket to celebrate the occasion.
“The wave of her hand, the confident grin, her blue eyes twinkling as she left their house in Neopia.”
The Bori looked at the last picture of Natasha. The wink before the door closing was fresh in his mind.
He closed the scrapbook and placed it on his bed, tears welling up in his eyes.
One year ago. It had been one year since Natasha had left.
All he had left of her was the scrapbook. And of course she had left Laz in his care.
He had grown to love petpets as well. It was his attempt to come up with one thing he and Natasha had in common.
She was bold, courageous, enthusiastic, funny, imaginative, caring, sweet, a risk-taker and the most perfect neopet the shy Bori had ever met.
“Dinner,” a voice called from downstairs and the Bori headed down to the table for a meal of Spaghetti with Altadorian Sauce that his owner had made.
The slightest rustling in the street as the figure made its way down the lane. The figure walked up the pathway to the old house. Not much had changed.
“Is your room clean yet?” Stacy asked, looking at the electric Bori.
“I got distracted,” he mumbled. “I found an old scrapbook.”
Stacy didn’t need to say anymore. She smiled sadly at the Bori, understanding in her gentle gaze.
No need to knock at the door. They hadn’t changed the lock: the old key unlocked the handle and the door swung upon quietly. No surprise there. Why, the figure was the one who had oiled that same door. How long ago that was.
The Bori turned around and looked in the direction of the door. A chill wind went down the hallway and into the kitchen. He shivered as the cold air ruffled his blue fur.
“Who’s there?” he called.
A laugh rang from the hallway, surprising the two at the table.
“You don’t know?” she said, and her voice was greeted with sounds of happiness.
“NATASHA!” Both Stacy and the Bori called out at the same time, and they rose from their seats and ran into the hallway.
The white Xweetok stood there, blue eyes twinkling, grinning from ear to ear. “Miss me?”
“You bet we did,” the Bori answered with a smile. Tears spilled over his fur but he didn’t care. He reached out to give his best friend a hug, but she held up something in her hands.
The Bori reached out and took the petpet, knowing it was for him. “Thank you, Natasha,” he said softly, cuddling the Snow Yooyu in his arms.
“I would have come back sooner, but this little guy won my heart,” she said just as softly. “He sure was expensive, though!”
“Hey, Wishes,” he said to the never-melting petpet. The petpet deserved a name like that. The Bori’s wishes had been granted. “Laz! Come meet your new friend.”
Natasha smiled. Her best friend had come out of his shell.
It was good to be home.