Chocolate For Two
Their moods were overcast with gloom as they approached the docks. No tears were shed, for it was doubtful that either had any left. The taller of the two, a blue Zafara, lingered for a moment on dry land before stepping onto a small craft floating just offshore. His companion, a pink Kacheek, clasped her paws together, oblivious to all but her departing friend. Her red scarf fluttered in the breeze.
The Zafara wordlessly maneuvered the boat away from shore. He forced himself to gaze off to the horizon. Looking back would be of no help. Instead he focused on the slow lapping of waves against the hull, the salty-sweet scent of the ocean drifting through the air.
The Kacheek dug her toes into the rich soil. She concentrated on the moment, savoring the seconds while she still could. Finally, as the boat vanished as a speck in the distance, she let go of the breath she didn't know she had been holding. She stood there for a while, watching the sun set in the distance. As it dipped below the horizon, she noticed that a brass button lay on the edge of the dock. She walked over to it. It was certainly his. Perhaps the wind had snatched it from him moments before he had set off. Or maybe he simply wanted to be remembered.
The wind picked up intensity. She would have to return home, she decided. She slipped the brass button into her pocket. Majestic patches of orange, purple, and rose filled the sky. Smiling slightly, she glided away from the dock towards home.
The Zafara settled into the cabin. He drummed his fingers on the mahogany desk as he reclined in the chair. Filtering through the threadbare curtains, the last rays of sunlight illuminated a dusty journal lying on the bed. He picked it up and gazed at the leather-bound cover. Something about the rich brown color overwhelmed him with a sense of nostalgia. He found a pen in a set of drawers and sat down on the bed. He flipped to the inside cover of the book. "Property of Jane," he read aloud. Jane had also seen fit to scrawl in the date, which was over ten years ago. The first ten pages of the book were filled with Jane's musings on her life. The Zafara skimmed over her words. She had been an Usul, it seemed, who was forced to sail with her father on occasion. Glancing over a few more yellowed pages, the Zafara chuckled at the Usul's fits of angst which she managed to convey perfectly into text.
About halfway through the journal was the first empty page. The Zafara took the pen and began to write his own entry.
As this is my first entry, I don't know exactly what I should say. I don't know who will read this, and I certainly don't know why you would. I suppose I'll tell you my reasons for being on this boat, if I'm going to tell you anything.
I work as a scientist for the Neopian Hospital. Even though I'm dedicated to my job (it's for the greater good of Neopia!), it is sometimes too big of a commitment to manage. For example: Currently, I am being sent to a faraway island to research a plant which may offer a cure to a devastating disease. While I understand that the knowledge I obtain will improve the quality of life for hundreds of Neopians, I have to ask a question. Why me?
In the time away from my job, I somehow managed to maintain a beautiful friendship with a certain Kacheek.. Her name is Nathalie. I won't see her for another six months. That may not seem like a long time to you. It is for us.
She works as a clerk in the Book Shop. I met her on a particularly dismal afternoon. Research at the hospital wasn't going as planned, and all I wanted to do was get home and have a bath. Nathalie left the Book Shop exactly as I passed by. Our friendship was formed because we happened to have the same walking speed. We walked next to each other for about a hundred yards, but in that time we exchanged names, had a brief conversation, and agreed to meet for coffee later that week.
The details are superfluous. Let's leave it at this: No two friends ever reached the degree of closeness as Nathalie and me. And we did it in two months.
We took the news of my absence well. We only cried for an hour.
I won't have an address, so we won't be able to write. I just hope she doesn't forget about me when I'm gone.
Thank you, mysterious stranger, for listening to a boring story about my life. If you ever meet me, I'll allow you to tell me a boring story about YOUR life.
The Zafara frowned slightly and signed his name underneath:
His shoulders heaved slightly and he fell back onto the pillow. Cradling the journal to his chest, he fell asleep, quietly reminiscing.
Months passed on the island. David almost forgot his former emotional instability as he worked in the lab for hours. But it was always there, quietly lurking. His colleagues on the island wondered how a normally cheerful person could act like this, but they didn't comment.
The fourteenth of February started out like any other day for David. He woke up, got ready, and exited his hut. It had rained the night before. The air was fresh and crisp, and the jungle in front of him was full of life. Wary of any predatory creatures roaming the trees, he quickly turned left down the path that led to the laboratory.
On the way, a shadow fell across his form. A spasm of terror shot through his body, and he sprinted forward. He ran until he reached the laboratory. Once he was behind the safety of glass doors, he looked back and immediately felt very foolish. A small Weewoo trailed behind him, zigzagging through the air.
David exited the building and whistled for the Weewoo. It bobbed lower and lower until it sat on his shoulder. The Weewoo let go of the letter it had carried for many miles. With a bright chirp, the Weewoo hopped off his shoulder and took off for the horizon.
Confused, David inspected the envelope. The paper was thick and rough, and there was no signature anywhere. He slowly broke the seal and removed the letter.
He knew who the sender was by the smell of the letter. It was vanilla.
He started to read.
I hope I timed this correctly. The letter should have arrived to you on the fourteenth. If it hasn't, please ignore this until it is the fourteenth. However, if it arrived after the fourteenth, pretend that it is the fourteenth.
Obviously, I have missed you. So many moments have passed that I would have wanted to share with you. But I can't dwell on what could have been too much. The future is all that there is.
How is your research going? Any new discoveries? Are you going to be famous for your contributions to the ever-growing world of medicine? I don't know how I'll be able to handle being friends with a celebrity. Don't let it go to your head!
I bet you're wondering what went on in your absence. The answer is, regrettably, nothing much. Just a lot of reminiscing and what-ifs. But, anyway, to the point of the letter:
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY, best friend! I remember you mentioned that this was your favorite holiday. Well, here it is. And I didn't even get to spend it with you.
For Valentine's Day, I'm going to buy an entire box of chocolates and eat it by myself. I bet you wish you were here. After all, chocolate is better when you have someone to share it with.
If you want to write back, I wish you luck. I don't know if they have any birds on your island – is it that type of island? Try to convince one to fly a message back over here. I look forward to it.
David found himself smiling and crying at the same time.
He stood there idly for a while. Those months better pass quickly, or he didn't know what he was going to do. That chocolate wasn't going to keep forever.