Disclaimer: Craig Bartlett is the creator and he and Nickelodeon have the rights of the show.
3. (43) The expensive price of going on II - Going on
— Home House: Happy Moments – Sunday september 19 1999 - 11 am
- So, your names're Douglas and Emily Mackay, right? from Scotland?
- Yes Miss Pataki. - Said the gentle, but nervous woman with curly red hair, - From Inverness, to be specific.
- How long have you met Craig?
- I don't remember but…
- Aha Doug, if you were cosmically assigned as Craig's new father, you will remember…
- Wait, Of course I remember the date, was on August 24th, just I don't remember the exact number of days.
- It is 26 days darling. - She smiled.
- Oh right Emily, thank you! You always were better with numbers and…
- Ok, ok… another different perspective… Why Craig? Now there are here around 12 more children and…
- Miss Pataki, I know that you really care about him, but I've to say that when I met him, I fell in love with him, from the first second. Is strong, intelligent, creative and honest. I want to be his mom and I can wait for him to get to know us better.
- Ok Helga, enough interrogation, Mr and Mrs Mackay have so many things to do and…
- If you're so busy, it would be so difficult to take care of a child like Craig. - The blonde interrupted Mrs Scott and her urgent necessity about the couple taking away the "little demon" as she always referred to him.
- Oh don't worry, we're teachers in half time, so we have enough…
- Yes, yes, you're perfect, well Mr and Mrs Little, it was everything for today, I'll go with Stuart.
Helga sighed in surrender, as she closed the office door behind her. To her luck, Arnold was there waiting for her, or was supposed to be.
Ever since she had given him the news the afternoon before, the young man hadn't stopped crying, he could hardly sleep. Now he stood there, staring at the window, his eyes watery and his unusual black clothes reflecting his grief.
- We're done here today. They have "things to do".
- Did you find out anything? - He turned to look at her.
- Nothing to our misfortune. They're totally clean for now. It's just...there can't be anyone that perfect, I mean, not even Olga or Lila, Miss perfection 98 and 99, respectively, are so perfect.
- And to think Bernie had a good idea to share with us. - His countenance darkened again.
- And I bet you it was the exact solution to the problem. I'm so sorry he didn't get to tell us.
- It's okay, we should go now. The service will be short...we have to be strong for Sheena and her mom.
- That's my boy, always thinking of others, come on Mr. Gold Heart.
Last night was a total nightmare, I couldn't stop crying and dreaming that I was with her, first at the nursing home, then at that beautiful Christmas party, but suddenly, she would disappear, I wanted to run after her, warn her not to take that nap... but I always woke up without her, and facing the fact that she was gone.
But now my feelings didn't matter, if it hurt me who was her friend, as I said Helga, I couldn't imagine what Sheena and Sara would feel.
But when we arrived, my mouth dropped open in surprise. There was a party practically in front of me. Daisies were falling down the walls, there was tribal music and everyone was wearing more flowers and white clothes. But what shocked me the most was the following conversation with Sheena.
- Hello Arnold! Thank you for coming. - The girl smiled brightly and placed a flower necklace around Arnold's neck. - Why are you looking so gloomy?
- Me? Well, because...
- Sheena! - Eugene, his best friend, called out to her from a distance. - Your mother is about to break the cake, she made the coconut cake!
- Excellent, I'm coming. Well guys, I have to go, help yourself.
Suddenly, only Helga and a few seconds later, Phoebe and Gerald and I, were dressed in black, the only ones with long faces, at what was supposed to be a funeral.
- Hello Arnold, how are you feeling? - Phoebe asked as she stood next to her friends.
- I'm fine... what I don't understand is...
- Why is everyone so happy? Phoebe was explaining to me that in some hippie currents, death is a... what did you say babe?
- Celebration of soul transcendence, meaning they're happy because Bernie passed from this mundane plane into the cosmic one. That's why it's the color white, of joy and jubilation.
- Joy and jubilation?... - Arnold asked, astonished. He looked around and saw everyone present, the family of his late friend, eating and enjoying themselves, some even dancing, he felt his heart break.
- It's a rather tender way to cope with a loss, don't you think?- Phoebe tried to add at Arnold's frown.
- I'll go get some air on the balcony. - The boy crossed the room, dodging the people around him.
- He's not taking it well, huh.
- No Gerald, he's taking it badly, I don't know how to cheer him up.
- I thought you were a specialist in that field.
- Gerald! - The girls scolded him.
- Anyway... he's been self-absorbed all this time, he even went with me to drop Craig back, but he didn't say a word.
- Mmm, poor my man, he must be in a lot of pain.
And Gerald couldn't have been more right. I was suffering and suffering a lot, although at the time I didn't want to admit it.
The next thing at the ceremony was hell for me...just to be living through it all...
It was at sunset, I will never forget it, when we finally arrived at the cemetery, after hours of celebration.
What seemed like a guide, started a painful speech about remembering the good times with her, the laughs, the jokes, the birthdays... every beautiful memory was now a little dagger in my heart. But the worst moment, without a doubt, was when the coffin was descending into the earth.
I had never lost anyone, not even a pet. It was the first time that death and I met face to face, and now I was losing the battle.
I lost count of how many times I restrained myself from bursting into tears, and how many more I failed.
That weekend felt like a single, eternal day. The hours had never passed so slowly...
Since the end of the summer, Gerald had asked for my help in cheering up Phoebe, not to mention Craig's case... but for me the next few days didn't exist. I couldn't think of anything else but Bernie and what I might be telling him and, for the first time, I felt terrified, my grandmother, my grandfather, my parents... Gerald... Helga...
They all looked so vulnerable now, what... what if I couldn't...
- Arnold? How are you?
* Note: Never ask someone in mourning, "How are you?" It's trite and ironic to answer.
- I'm ok Gerald. - False, but everyone hates listening to the truth.
- Ok because.. you were looking at your locker for at least 15 minutes. A lot of free time, huh?
- I guess I just got to thinking, that's all.
- Sure. - Awkward, Arnold made his friends uncomfortable, or so he thought, which is why he had exiled himself. - Helga has a new plan for Craig, she says it won't fail this time.
- Oh really? What happened to him treating the McGray's badly?
- It's the Mackays, and that was last week, like three plans ago. Anyway, she says this is the one... are you going to the meeting?
They both stopped in front of the lab door, the football head had science last period.
- I don't think so, soon the exams will start and...
- Arnie, my man, you haven't seen us for weeks... we miss you... that won't bring her back...
- All right, I'll be there.
- See you there my friend!
- Well, did you convince him?
- Yes, he's already gone to his classroom and that's sis, Arnold is coming! It seems that a touch of the great Gerald is more convincing with Arnold than the Pataki kisses...
No sooner had the brunet said that than he realized how bad he had sounded when some girls made fun of him.
- Ok... get a room, anyway, come on, we'll have to plan everything very well.
Arnold's three best friends wasted no time. That "yes" from the blond took them almost 3 weeks of waiting, and they wouldn't miss the opportunity.
At first they had wanted to approach him, but Arnold had repelled them all, it got to a point where the two girls and Gerald didn't know how to approach him anymore. Even Phil and his jokes and crazy stories, not at all made up and 100% real, seemed to cheer him up, on the contrary, they seemed to have the opposite effect on him.
That's why this occasion was pure gold. They prepared their favorite food, their jazz music in the background and a lot of papers of their plans all over the place, something... casual.
- Hello, guys?
- Hi Arnold, cutie, come on in! - Helga greeted cheerfully and awkwardly.
- Do you want pizza my man, or a yahoo?
- I just came from lunch... Tell me about the plan.
- Oh yeah sure... - Helga cleared her throat. - You see, we've tried 235 plans since your last attendance and...
- 235! - He said, almost screaming.
- Yes, we've tried very hard...
- Wait... you've had 235 meetings for this plan... and no time to visit me? - The green-eyed man bellowed in annoyance.
- Arnold, we wanted to, but…
- Just forget it Phoebe, I understand everything.
- Wait Arnold! That's enough! Of course we cared about seeing you, of course we missed you... of course we hated that Bernie died when everything was finally going well... I just didn't know what to say to you... I was so sad. - Helga's sweet voice was beginning to crack, it went from deep to completely broken. - It all came together, Bernie, Caig, your sadness... my same fear of losing my grandmother... my fear of losing you, of not knowing how to be useful to you in your pain.
Arnold's legs shook and he turned to look at his girlfriend.
- I... I didn't want a speech, I just... I wanted you guys... I was selfish... I'm sorry, I'm sorry... I... I miss her so much, every single thing reminds me of her and it seems like it will never stop hurting.
Arnold and Helga dropped to the floor, melting in an embrace, full of mutual understanding and comfort. A few minutes later, Gerald and Phoebe joined in the embrace.
Sometimes depression makes us isolate ourselves, it paints everything black, but in the face of such a painful and unexpected loss, the brightness of those who remain, are what gives you strength to go on, their brightness is the darkness is brighter. Bernie would have told me to fight, Craig, Helga, my friends and family, they were all temporary and I knew that someday their absence would hurt...so I had to enjoy them now, now that they are with me and make it worth it...after all, Bernie left me memories, wisdom and a great friend in Sheena, she will now live on in me always.
— Home House: Happy Moments – Tuesday october 5 1999 - 7 pm
It was a cloudy afternoon, almost completely dark, and the quartet of friends waited anxiously.
- In fact Helga, in retrospect, this plan is the best.- Gerald said, surprised.
- And we would never have gotten there, without Mr. "I always do the right thing". - She winked at her boyfriend, making him blush.
- What can I tell you, Helga! Sometimes doing the right thing is just what you have to do and...
- Watch out sis, here comes Scott.
The lady in a gray suit with a rare huge smile on her face looked at them contemptuously as they entered the orphanage.
- Hi Helga, have you come to say goodbye to Craig? As you know, today is the last day for the demon's adoption... I mean, little Craig. - Scott smiled triumphantly.
- Oh yes ma'am, I know today is the last day. But... I don't know if it's going to be the day the carrot hairs adopt him? - She grinned mischievously in response.
- What... What do you mean by that? - She tried unsuccessfully to hide her fear.
- Mrs. Scott, we have talked to Craig, he doesn't want to be... adopted by us...
- But the judge said that if it wasn't you they would transfer him!
- Yes, but the one who wants to adopt him now is me. - Mrs. Viksten's victorious voice joined the conversation.
- That's right, MY grandmother wants to join him to the family, and being a war heroine, she will understand that the government won't say no.
- Oh whatever... as long as she leaves me alone now! Come on madam, let's sign the papers!
- You did it Helga, you beat them! -Phoebe happily congratulated her, while the four of them smiled and Grandma Viksten looked on joyfully.
All was happiness, until Helga looked at the sad faces of Doug and Emily. Gradually, her smile faded, changing to a dark countenance.
My Helga always had a big, generous heart, even if she hates to admit it, but she had it from a young age, and there were times when she let it show unwittingly. Like in first grade when she defended Phoebe from bullies, becoming her best friend, or the times she defended Olga from those who wanted to mock her naivety,
not to mention the support she gave Gerald with the Jamie O situation, or when Phoebe's mom left, or the endless number of times she helped, listened and comforted me without getting anything in return.
Now the sweet couple was about to get a taste of Helga G. Pataki's unique and incomprehensible sweetness.
Because sometimes, to love means to say goodbye, or in this case, to say goodbye, that was the lesson that the fall of '99 left us. We had to learn that love is not selfish, but free, seeking the good of others without seeking our own.
She never said it, but her blue eyes said it all. Helga loved her grandmother, she was gold in her life, however, she would have always wanted to have the parents that the Scots wanted to be for Craig, that she wouldn't be for Craig and he deserves…
- Wait Mackays, can I talk to you?
- Don't worry little Miss Pataki, it will be like we said in the beginning, if he doesn't want us, we won't force him into anything. - Said the gentleman, hugging his wife.
- If you adopt him... you promise that... we will see him again... someday?
- Of course we will! We would never separate him from his friends, where did you get that idea? - Said the lady.
- Well, you were planning to return to Scotland and...
-But only for a vacation so that he could meet his grandparents.
- Craig would have grandparents?
- Well, yes, of course, my parents. - Doug smiled.
- Grandma, wait!- Helga ran.
- I don't understand... What happened?
- Don't worry, ma'am. - Arnold smiled. - You will soon have a child.
The couple was shocked for a moment, not understanding the change of luck for them, and seconds later they shared an embrace.
Love hurts, and a lot, but without it, life has no meaning... I will miss her forever, but now I understand that beautiful party with which we said goodbye, life is joy and adventure, and that is what makes it worth living, how fragile it is... we must make each day worthwhile.
And after almost a month, that was my conclusion, my loss was really hurting and I'll miss him forever, but forever he'll live on me… thanks for reading and I wait for your comments!
P.S. Did you notice the reference to How I met your mother in the previous episode?