“Violet! Come back here!” I took off running as my German Shepherd dog sprinted down the road after my neighbours rabbit, Snowball.
“Violet! Get back here or your not having dinner tonight!”
Violet stopped in her tracks and looked back at me, cocking her head. Dinner was her favourite part of the day after walk time. She came scuttling back to me with her tail between her legs.
“Good girl.” I pulled a smako, Violet’s favourite treat, out of my pocket. I believed in rewarding good behaviour. It kept Violet in line.
I picked up Mr and Mrs Johnson’s rabbit and walked home slowly, Violet by my side. I had a lot to think about. Leaving for university tomorrow was the main thought on my mind. I had wanted to go to a school that offered an English major but also little things like how to self publish a book. I also wanted to stay close to home. Violet didn’t cope well when I was away and I wouldn’t be able to take her with me, preferably I would want to be home on the weekends. It had taken me a while to find a uni that fitted my needs but I had gotten there in the end, settling on a uni only a three hour drive away.
I would miss my best friend too. Justin and I had been friends since age five and best friends since age six. We had stuck together through both primary school and high school, university would be the first time we would be apart. Justin wanted to do a major in Psychology and the university he had gotten into didn’t offer exactly what I wanted. He would be a ten hour train ride away. I wouldn’t be seeing him as much as I would like.
“Rose?” Justin was walking up the road towards my house. “What are you doing?”
I gestured to Snowball in my arms. “Violet escaped and chased Snowball down the road.”
“Violet! That’s naughty!” Justin scolded her.
I shook my head at him “There’s no point telling her off now. The moment has passed, she doesn’t know why she is in trouble.”
“Do you want me to take Snowball home and then we will take Violet for a walk?” Justin suggested.
I nodded, passing Snowball to Justin.
I waited until Justin had reached the other side of the road, outside Mr and Mrs Johnson’s house.
“Why did the rabbit cross the road?”
Justin rolled his eyes and shot me a look to let me know he wasn’t amused. I smirked, Justin hated the saying “why did the chicken cross the road?” He believed chickens should have free will and not have their actions questioned.
Violet and I crossed the road and stepped into my house. I pulled Violet’s lead off the hook and grabbed a plastic bag for any accidents that may occur.
We met Justin outside our gate and headed off down the road.
“Want to play the question game?” I suggested.
Justin nodded. “Why do Ostriches have long necks?”
“To reach high places. You shouldn’t question the poor creatures actions, Justin.”
Justin rolled his eyes at me. What? I had a point. “Your turn Rosie.”
“Why do some cinemas not sell popcorn?”
“They’re trying to suck the joy out of the movies. Why do rainbows not have the colour brown in them?”
“Brown is gross.”
“Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy is brown.”
“Yeah but I like him for his personality not his colour,” I argued.
“Fair call. Your turn.”
Justin and I continued to play until we couldn’t think of any more questions. We took Violet to the beach, I spent an hour running up and down the beach, in and out of the water with her. Justin made a hobby of taking photos and he photographed us, Violet and I stopping to pose for photos every now and then.
We sat on the sand, the warm sun and cool wind drying Violet and I where the water had gotten us wet.
Justin flicked through the photos he had taken on his camera. He had gotten a really nice shot of Violet and I in the water that I asked him to send me. I wanted to set it as my Facebook profile photo.
We looked through all of Justin’s photos while Violet dozed silently at my side. To an outsider Justin and I would look like a couple. If I’m honest we did to our close friends as well. We had a very close relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I had liked Justin in that way for a while now but I didn’t know how he felt and I didn’t want to risk my favourite friendship on the off chance he might like me back.
Plus we were both going away for school tomorrow. Justin didn’t plan to come back home for at least four months so he could get settled in and get serious about studying. I didn’t want a long distance relationship. They didn’t work out for me.
“Are you looking forward to big changes tomorrow Rosie?” Justin asked suddenly as if he had read my mind. That wouldnt surprise me, our minds seemed to surf the same wave most of the time.
“Yeah. I’ll miss home though.”
“Me too,” Justin admitted. He nudged my arm playfully, “especially my bestie.”
I nodded. “It will be weird not seeing you everyday.”
“We can still talk and message on Facebook. Don’t forget Skype!”
I shrugged. “It’s not the same.”
Justin’s eyes lit up. “Let’s get a photo together, we’ll do it everytime we meet up in holidays.”
I shuffled closer to Justin and he aimed his camera to take a picture. I had to admit it was a nice one. Justin had managed to get the sun setting behind us. Maybe I would set that as my Facebook profile picture.
Violet whined restlessly beside me and I decided it was time to head home. It was getting late and I still had to pack my bags and say my goodbyes before I left early in the morning. I knew Justin had things to do too.
On the walk home we chatted about the things we were most looking forward to about uni. We had to stop when Violet stole a flower from a random garden on the way home. I knew what sort of flower it would be. Violet only ever stole one type of flower. Violets.
That was how she got her name. I wasn’t sure if she liked the colour or what it was but every time she saw a violet she would take it.
We were back home before too long.
“Can you stay a minute? I have a present for you.” I asked Justin.
“Let me just pop home quickly. I have a present for you too.”
Justin lived just up the road from me. Two houses up on the other side of the road to be exact. When we were younger we would wish that our houses could be connected by a secret underground tunnel.
Violet and I walked inside our house and I quickly ran upstairs to get Justin’s present as Violet headed for the kitchen to get a drink of water.
I heard the front door close and soon enough I heard Justin’s footsteps on the stairs. He entered my room and sat down on my bed.
I handed him the wooden box I had been keeping under my bed for the past two weeks.
Justin gasped when he saw it. “Wow! Rosie! Is this rimu?”
Justin grinned. “You even got it engraved! Thanks Rose! This is awesome.”
“You haven’t looked inside yet,” I mumbled looking at the engraved ‘Justin’ on the front of the box.
Justin opened it and smiled. It was full of photos of us and various bits and pieces I had collected over the years. Including a movie ticket stub from when we were five and a note I had written Justin in highschool.
“Wow. Rose. This is the best gift I have ever been given. Thank you so much!”
“Something to remember me by,” I mumbled feeling suddenly embarrassed.
Justin handed me a gift wrapped package.
I opened it and shook my head. It was Paper Towns by John Green and the first book in The Lying Game series by Sara Shepard. Somehow Justin had known exactly what books I wanted without me even telling him. There was also a bookmark tucked between the two books. There was a collage of photos on it. I meant it when I said that it was the best gift I had ever been given.
“Something to remember me by,” Justin grinned and winked.
“I’m going to miss you, Justin.”
“I’ll miss you too, Rosie, but time speeds up as you get older so the next few months will fly by.”