Of Snowberry Tea and White Chocolate Chip Biscuits
It was a damp afternoon. Big, plump raindrops hammered down on the roofs of small shops and on the heads of unsuspecting Neopians. I sat inside, watching the gloomy day from the kitchen window. My mum was at school, just like she always was Monday through Friday, leaving at 7:20 AM and arriving home at 2:30 PM. I grew to memorize the schedule as the weeks crept by. Last week it was beautiful out; the sun was bright and high in the sky, temperatures rising up to 70 degrees. I would sit outside and watch the clouds, play with my toys, take walks around Neopia Central. It was lovely that first week when we came here. Mum had all the time in the world for me and I had all the time in the world for her and she did not have to go to school.
But she was on vacation then, and now she was back at that awful place. She would come home, tired and weary, plop down at the kitchen table for a while, and do what she called 'homework.' Sometimes I would sit across from her and watch her work. Other times I would play in the other room and wait for her to finish. When she was done, I would ask if we could go get pizza or smoothies. Usually the answer was no, and I would crawl into my room and tuck myself under my wonderful smelling bamboo blankets, praying that the next afternoon Mum would have less homework and more time to play with me.
I sighed at the rain tapping against the window. I wished I was some kind of shaman or great king that could control the weather. I would make it nice and sunny all the time, and the meadows would be lush and bright green, smelling that stinging, summery, new-grass smell. It would be great.
Sadly, I am not a shaman or a great king and I can't control the weather. I am a simple blue Shoyru.
Wanting to get out of the house as quickly as possible, I grabbed my backpack off of the coat hanger and stepped outside (the air was disgustingly humid, by the way) and slammed the door behind me before flapping my way to downtown Neopia Central.
Things were dead in the shops. Feeling a little down and in need of some caffeine, I took the stairs along through the Art Centre and sauntered towards the Coffee Shop counter. The yellow Shoyru that worked there seemed to be elderly, but in the way that she wanted to restore her youth. She wore a fluffy white hat with a big red bow on the front, a white apron, and blue eye shadow and pink blush was caked onto her aging face. I gave her the nicest smile I could.
"One snowberry tea, please," I ordered. She nodded and reached under the glass counter, sliding me a blue mug filled with sweet russet tea and three whole snowberries.
"364 Neopoints, please," she told me. I searched through my backpack hastily, trying to find the right amount of NP. After several minutes, I dropped the coins beside my mug.
"310?" I bargained, hoping that she would say yes. Luck was on my side, and she accepted the Neopoints gratefully, wishing me a good day. I said the same and plopped down in a booth near the back.
I sipped my tea slowly, a snowberry immediately halfway down my throat, its sweetened flavor making my taste buds tingle. The tea itself was sugary and had that tangy fruity taste to it, but also that warm, calming feeling when it slid down your esophagus. I had never tasted this kind of caffeine before, so this was a treat. I made a mental note to take Mum out for snowberry teas and white chocolate chip biscuits someday this week. That was her favorite evening snack, she had once told me, but we never got the chance to do it ourselves.
A half-an-hour later, my snowberries were gone and so was my tea. I left the mug on the table for the bus boy to clean up and exited the Coffee Shop, walking up the stairs and into the dull rain. The sky was laced with chunky gray clouds that I just wanted to dissolve into more rain until the sun finally came out, although I knew that would never happen.
I trotted towards the Bazaar and entered the Chocolate Factory. It smelled of candy and baked goods for some reason, and when I peered over the counter it smelled more of syrupy toffee and that hypnotizing candy apple smell.
My blue eyes caught site of a delicious treat: a chocolate covered pretzel, perfectly salted and sweetened to be the ultimate delicacy. Without hesitation, I paid the Kiko 200 Neopoints for my snack and bolted out the door. I didn't care that it was raining or that I could get sick from standing out there- I stood there and ate the chocolate covered pretzel and savored every bite. It was something I had also never tasted before, and it was truly amazing.
When I was sure I was soaked to the bone and my paws needed immediate washing from the chocolate ooze, I scampered back to my Neohome and flew in the door, down the hall, and into the bathroom. The scalding water soothed my bitter-cold paws and the soap made them smell like blueberries, almost like the snowberries I could still so easily taste.
After my paws were squeaky clean, I stepped foot outside again. The air had turned chilly and the raindrops frosty. I didn't care- the cool air felt nice after being in the warm shops, where it was muggy and the customers were suffocated by heat.
I decided to walk the half-mile to me and Mum's little shop, You Think You Can Bargain?. We had only opened just yesterday and were deciding on things to sell and how to price them.
When I arrived, Layla, the checkered Uni we hired to work there, sat at the wooden counter filing her hooves and blowing bubbles with her gum. She did not look up as I entered.
"Hi, Layla," I said. She raised her slender checkered face and popped her gum one more time, then smiled.
"Hey, Hadrian. Your mum still at school?" she asked kindly.
I nodded, gazing around at the empty shop, feeling sorry that Layla had to work when there were clearly no customers.
"Go home," I told her, waving her away with my appendage. She blew another bubble and shook her head.
"It's okay. I'm not expected back till dinner." Her expression changed from sweet to serious, and she dropped her filer in her backpack and spit out her gum as if to show me that she really wanted to work there right then.
I laughed a little. "Layla, it's totally dead. Just come back tomorrow, it's no big deal."
She finally agreed, her cobalt eyes softening as she swung her bag over her shoulders. "Thanks, Hadrian. I owe you!" Layla called as she scampered from the shop. I flew to the doorway.
"Buy me a chocolate pretzel!" I called back. She stopped dead in her tracks, her checked tail swishing from side to side. She looked over at me and smiled, then flew away.
At approximately 2:35 pm NST, my mum arrived home, her green eyes glowing with that type of radiance I hadn't seen since the Saturday before she went back to school.
I was merely sitting on the nova rug in the living room, watching a new episode of Better Than You, when Mum's slender arms wrapped around me and scooped me up into a hug.
"Hey, Mum, you're home!" I exclaimed, squirming around a little so I could face her. She looked pretty, my mother. Her auburn hair glittered in the luminosity of the house, and her pale cheeks were a rosy-red from the cold. She didn't look tired, but refreshed. Happy.
"What's up with you, Mum?" I queried when she set me down. She didn't answer at first, just walked into the kitchen and pulled out a bag of chomby chips.
"What's today?" she asked me. I had to think.
"Fri-" I began.
It was Friday. Mum didn't have to go to school for two whole days.
Two whole days to spend with me! Me and only me!
I sprang into her arms, nestling my head into her neck. Mum giggled. She let me stay there for a few more minutes before prying me off. I beamed up at her.
"Can we go to the Coffee Shop?" I asked, handing Mum her raincoat and umbrella.
"Why?" Her expression became puzzled.
"I have a treat for you."
And so, I and my mother, my mother and I, we walked down to the Coffee Shop, and the elderly Shoyru still sat there with her pink blush and blue eye shadow and that sincere smile she wore. I ordered us two snowberry teas to go, nearly spilling the fruity drinks as I raced Mum to the Bakery to get us a plate of white chocolate chip biscuits.
She and I finally sat on a bench in the heart of Neopia Central, sharing the white chocolate chips biscuits she loves so much and sipping our snowberry teas, those mischievous little snowberries always finding a way to make my taste buds tingle.
Heeeyyy guys! This is my second submission into the NT! Thanks for reading!