It had been a few days since the trip to the city I had taken with Wolfgang. It was so refreshing to see him perk up and smile again. All of the breathtaking sights, the pleasant sounds, and the delicious smells were exactly what we both needed. The city was such an amazing way to distract us from the dreadful events of what had happened only a few days earlier.
I couldn't wait to go back. With all the amazing perks, it was impossible to not want to take a trip to the city all over again. Unfortunately, my bank account said otherwise.
A trip to the glamourous wonders of the city would have to wait until I had the funds to go again. For now, I would have to settle on something more…simple.
Maybe I could host a party? I thought to myself. Food and happy conversations usually help lighten things up.
When in times of social anguish and tragedy, nothing could've possibly helped pull things to the way they used to be than a little get-together.
Quickly, I pulled some spare pieces of stationary out of my closet. I scrambled to find a pen so that I could quickly write invitations for every townsperson. You can't have a party without the proper invitations, of course. I took the letters and sealed each one in its own envelope, tucking them snuggly into my pocket.
The town was quiet and calm. Not many of my neighbors were up yet, seeing how it was pretty early in the day. The only ones who dared to be awake this early (besides me) were the employees of the Applewood Town Hall.
I made my way towards Town Hall and gave the stack of envelopes to Pelly.
"Don't worry, ma'am," she spoke. "Your letters will be saved and sent within the hour."
I couldn't wait! In only a few hours, all of my friends would be gathered in the center of town, happily chatting and eating away. The mental images were already forming in my head, which only made my excitement grow even more. But I knew that I had to wait.
The sky was as blue as ever, with the sunlight beaming down on the small town below. The sunshine was bright, but it wasn't very hot that day. A slight breeze had made its way through the town, turning what would have been a blistering day into a more comfortable one.
I had placed the blanket on the grass to serve as my picnic blanket for the party. Eagle-eyed, I sat on my blanket and waited for my guests to arrive. After a few agonizing minutes of waiting, my neighbors filed in one by one.
Some brought blankets of their own to lay down on. Others had brought along food from home, some store-bought and others homemade from scratch.
A delicious mouth-watering smell wafted through the air as Chevre made her way past me with a casserole dish. Unsurprisingly, she had outdone herself with her homemade cooking again. Chevre was the undisputed cooking champ. She'd be the reigning champ…that is, if casual cooking was a competition.
Gladys had brought along a few bottles of soda, along with a few cups to drink the soda with. Poncho, being the health-conscious guy that he was, brought a big bowl of salad with him. Butch grabbed his CD player from home so that he could play K.K. Slider's music while we ate. Rodeo was more of an eater, and not much of a chief. He brought some silverware and plates so that he could eat the food that everyone else had cooked. Dizzy had a big chocolate cake, but it looked as though he had licked off some of the icing. I myself had made a few sandwiches for everyone to share.
I looked and looked, but Wolfgang wasn't around anywhere.
Was he even planning on showing up? Was he standing us up and ignoring my invitation? So many thoughts and fears were running through my mind, lingering on every possible problem and mishap.
There was absolutely no doubt that we all cared for Wolfgang in a way that was so powerful, that it was hard to describe. Nowadays, it felt as though the mere mention of Wolfgang's name had caused an uncomfortable chill to craw up every one of my neighbor's spines.
I missed the way things had used to be. I craved to have things return to normal and have every misfortune be turned into happier memories. I wanted things to change and for everything to be whisked away into a perfect world of happiness and harmony.
Of course, I knew that things would never be perfect. And at the time, I knew that things could never truly carry on the way they used to.
But I knew a way that I could try.
I tried my best not to let my nervousness show on my face. I smiled and laughed along with everyone else, trying my best to have a good time.
Suddenly, from the corner of my eye, I saw a dark blue figure shuffling its way towards our picnic. Everyone else seemed to notice too, as things started to quiet down. Forks stopped moving, mouths stopped chewing, and everyone started talking in hushed tones. Butch reached out and turned down the volume down on his CD player.
Wolfgang was on slowly waddling over to us, rubbing the sleep from his dark eyes. To no one's surprise, he had overslept. But I was still elated to see that he got my letter and wasn't ignoring my invitation after all. When he sat down next to me, I could see that his fur was disheveled and unruly. His shirt was wrinkled and he still had a little slobber on his cheek. I think he saw that I had noticed and he used his shirt to quickly mop it up.
"Sorry I'm late…,"Wolfgang announced, sheepishly. "…I guess I slept in a little too long…"
Gladys, being the motherly type, walked over to Wolfgang with a plate full of casserole.
"Well, we're glad that you're here," she said caringly. "You didn't miss a thing."
Wolfgang never was one for waking up before noon. He was always more of a night owl, staying up in the wee hours of the morning and waking up long after sunrise.
He carefully grabbed the plate, smiling with what looked like a nervous smile.
"Thank you…it looks really good…"
From the way Wolfgang was talking and acting, he seemed like he still felt bad about what he did. He looked like he was trying to have a good time, but the guilt from his tantrum still appeared to loom over him.
It took a few minutes, but everyone started to get lively and talkative again. The air roared with the sounds of K.K. Slider and delightful conversation. I was so excited to have all of my neighbors together in one place again. There was no drama or fighting—only good times with good friends.
There was a still a sense of tension and awkwardness between Wolfgang and most of the others. Rodeo, Dizzy, and Chevre seemed to be adjusting well (Rodeo and Dizzy mostly seemed oblivious, since they spent that day eating more than talking). I wasn't sure about Gladys or Poncho. Butch, on the other hand, seemed to be tenser after Wolfgang had arrived. He didn't talk or eat as much, and spent a majority of the rest of the picnic fiddling with the CD player. Every time he and Wolfgang made eye contact, they would quickly look away. I wasn't sure if they were intentionally giving each other the cold shoulder or if they were just afraid to talk to each other.
It made me wonder when—or if—Wolfgang would ever apologize. Wolfgang wasn't one to express his emotions or thoughts (unless they were negative ones). The only thing he hated hurting more than his body or losing a contest—was his pride.
Wolfgang turned towards me, snapping me out of my thoughts. "Thank you for inviting me…out here…to the picnic. And to the city the other day. You didn't have the do that, especially since…y'know…"
I nodded my head and smiled. It was the least I could do. I couldn't leave him alone to wallow in his self-pity and anger forever. Besides, I knew a little fresh air would do us all some good.
"I guess I could return the favor," he continued. "…if you don't have any plans later."
I nodded my head. As far as I knew, I didn't have anything else to do for the rest of the day.
Wolfgang rubbed the back of his head, rubbing his paws into the tangled fur. "If you're free later, we could go to the museum…"
I nodded. A night inside the museum sounded like it would be fun! Besides, you didn't have to pay to get in, which was an extra bonus.
"Great!" he exclaimed. "Meet you at the museum around 8."