I spend my Saturday mornings alone, in a family-owned diner in Neopia Central. I sit in a booth in the corner, where I have a good view of all the diner's visitors. And I like to just sit there and think, and watch.
So that's exactly what I'm up to today.
I want to say its quiet here, but it's not. Not when I stop to think about it, at least. Forks clang against knives as groups of friends laugh together. Even my own utensils make noise, though I may not be laughing. A royal girl Draik can only stay so quiet. The jukebox plays Chomby and The Fungus Balls again (it always does; it's either broken or someone's obsessed with Chomby and the Fungus Balls). A nearby green Kyrii taps her foot gently. It's not quite in time with the music, but she seems distracted anyway.
The Kyrii is sitting alone.
I like to play this game where, if there are other guests sitting alone, I wonder what kind of Neopian they are. Then I think, who here would make a good friend for them?
This Kyrii is a pretty thing, with a long, shiny mane and a pink dress. She eats her Tyrannian Everything Omelette in small bites and uses her other hand to fiddle with her gold necklace.
She seems like the type to walk on her tiptoes even when she's not wearing shoes. I bet she never wears the same outfit twice and gets up hours early to do her makeup in the morning. I bet she shrinks from crowds but relishes the company of those close to her. The company of those who know her outfits are not just clothes, and her flats are not just shoes, but know that they're a peek into her old soul. Above all she seems gentle and kind and devoted. The type of Kyrii who would stop for a kadoatie stuck in a tree and refuse to move on until the kadoatie was safe again.
But who would make a suitable friend for this Kyrii? I scan the diner.
The Kyrii seems like the type who would like kids, and there's a child with his parents at one of the tables. He's a little yellow gelert. I consider that perhaps they'd have the student-teacher relationship, but the thought doesn't sit well with me. My hunch is confirmed when the child stuffs a breadstick up each nostril, much to the dismay of his father. I continue my search.
There's a yellow Elephante at a booth to the right, all wizened curls and gentle wrinkles. She has conquered the delicate art of smiling with only one's eyes, as is evidenced by deep crokabek's feet. There are also lines by her cheeks from years of laughter. Her downturned eyes meander about the diner, similar to my own wandering eyes but much slower. These eyes are tired, but not at all resentful of the fact. They're simply tired.
The two of them seem like a perfect match. I imagine that they'd normally only see each other once a week, but they'd act like family. The Kyrii's other friends might come and go, but the Elephante would remain a constant in her life. She'd be the anchor that would bring her down to earth in times of instability. Sometimes the Kyrii would awaken her senior in the night, weeping over the betrayal of a much younger friend. The Elephante would know exactly what to say and when to stay silent. She'd never mind being woken, and the two of them would keep each other company until the sun's rays seeped in through the window.
During the holidays, the Kyrii would visit the Elephante much more often and shower her with small gifts. The gifts would be cheap, as a young Neopian can only afford so much, but she'd take the time to wrap each one individually. This way, the Elephante would feel as though she'd received a lot. In the end, she'd get gifts only from the Kyrii that season. (When the Elephante was a child she received the same amount from many Neopians, but her loved ones were all older than she. They were no longer able to give gifts.)
The two of them would always be there for one another.
I sigh. I've never had a friendship like the ones I imagine for the diners. Maybe I have friends, sure, but not quite like these ones. I've never been so close to someone like that.
I can visualize it, though. Every detail plays out in my mind as if it were real, and it's one of the few things I take silent pride in. No one, save for myself, knows what I ponder on Saturday mornings. Sometimes people ask and I just laugh it off.
A baby Acara yowls on the other end of the diner. I'm knocked out of my thoughts, but not for long. The acara shifts my attention and I break into a smile. I'm reminded of silly little Boochi.
You might say I'm something of a Boochi fangirl.
After all, baby neopets are harmless, and therefore lovable.
Although some may disagree with me, I'd say that Boochi is even more harmless than the average baby.
Not only does he do the usual baby things, but his ray gun isn't even a proper weapon. Proper weapons don't turn potentially villainous Neopians into harmless babies.
But I digress.
I consider now, that what if Boochi's ray gun had a completely different function? What if, upon shooting two Neopians, he could destine them to meet one another?
I close one eye to get a better focus of the Kyrii, who is requesting the bill from a waitress, and imagine I have this power myself. I imagine a laser blasting her and reflecting onto the Elephante, then back onto myself. Then I chuckle and shake my head.
My coworkers at the library always say I've got my head in the clouds. I always deny it, but I could never figure out why.
I play with the straw wrapper from my drink as I close my eyes. It's been almost two hours since I first came into the diner this morning. I figure I should probably leave soon, though the staff don't seem to mind me. By now they recognize and welcome me. In return, I've memorized their names.
My eyes snap open. Do they ever call me by name? Have I ever told them my name? This revelation means nothing, but it still unsettles me. I've been coming here for at least a year now, and I don't remember ever introducing myself.
The Kyrii is now leaving the diner, and I glance at her only to see her glancing back over her shoulder. We both immediately break off the eye contact, but it's too late. The Kyrii bumps straight into the Elephante's table, spilling the water.
"Oh, I'm so sorry!" the Kyrii squeaks. She begins to wipe up the mess as a waiter rushes over.
The Elephante giggles. "It's perfectly alright, darling." Her curls bounce with every movement, and somehow she seems livelier than I had first thought.
By the time I'm out the door, the Kyrii has sat down with the Elephante. I haven't the slightest clue what they're laughing about, but I can't help but break into a smile myself.
I spend my Saturday mornings in a family-owned diner in Neopia Central, but I'm never alone.