The city of Hillwood had changed significantly over the past five years, from the gentrification of the neighborhoods, to the heavy cleanup of the park, to even the revamp of the City Government. However, the aspect of Hillwood that changed the most was the lives of the children of P.S. 118.
They were no longer children, but rather teenagers. After completing their last year of P.S. 118 as sixth graders, some children, including Rhonda, moved away to different or prestigious schools. Some, like Harold, changed physically in a positive light. Then some, like Helga, changed emotionally, but it was not for the best.
For Helga, her world came crashing down at the end of sixth grade. She finally got her wish, she was with the love of her life as an official couple. After helping her beloved Arnold find his parents, and in fact save them from the sleeping sickness with the use of her locket, they became a couple. Although most of the summer was a struggle for her to come to terms with the fact that she could let her guard down, Arnold still persevered. Eventually, she did let her guard down, and despite some taunts from classmates like Harold about their exclusive relationship, she could not be happier. This was the one thing that she had always wanted. Although Arnold did not know until about two years prior that she was in love with him, he didn't know that he was the constant in her life. He kept her safe, and kept her grounded when the rest of the world attempted to destroy her.
For Helga, sixth grade was the best year of her life, because for once, something was going her way. The year seemed to go by in a blur, and then it was the summer before seventh grade. For Helga, this was the worst day of her life.
"So, you're telling me...that...you...you're moving...away?" She asked with a mix of shock, deception, and sadness.
Arnold could not look at his girlfriend in the eye. The truth was that he wanted to move away, and help out the less fortunate, including the Green Eyes. Yet, he didn't want to leave his girlfriend, the one that had helped him so many times and had stayed loyal to him, behind. He looked out onto the dock and replied, "Yeah, I am. My parents-"
Although Helga had toned down on her anger, she lashed out, "OH! YOUR PRECIOUS PARENTS, THE ONES WHO COULDN'T DO WRONG, YOUR STUPID SACRED PARENTS ARE DRAGGING YOU OUT OF THIS GOD FORSAKEN CESSPOOL TO BRAINWASH YOU TO BECOME A HUMANITARIAN LIKE THEM HUH?!"
Arnold looked away from the dock, and looked at his girlfriend in disbelief. She hadn't lashed out since the second day of sixth grade, and now she was going back to her old ways. He understood why, but he still didn't like what she was saying. They were his parents, after all.
"No, Helga, it isn't like that. My parents like it here, but they want to show me the world. They watched the video that you, Gerald, and the rest of the gang made for the Helpers for Humanity contest. They want to give me a good experience of helping others. That's why we are moving. It's not necessarily that they wanted to take me out of Hillwood, I wanted to go too."
Suddenly, he wished he didn't say that last part. Helga shot Arnold a glance that looked as though he stabbed her in the stomach. She turned pale, and you could see the anger and fury in her eyes. "YOU wanted to go with them, and LEAVE ME?!" She shouted. Suddenly, dock workers started to look over in their direction. "So I mean absolutely nothing to you, huh? After all I have done for you, and this is the thanks I get?!"
Arnold's head was spinning. Even though he had dealt with years of torment from Helga, he had never seen her this mad before. To be honest, he didn't know what to say. Reaching out for Helga's hand, he said, "Helga, I-"
"Don't 'Helga' me, bucko." She snapped, as she slapped his hand away. "I can't believe I spent so many years loving an asshole like YOU!" She yelled. She stared into his eyes, which were now filled with tears. Arnold looked away from her, and looked down at the wood plank.
"You don't mean that, Helga."
"Well maybe I do!" She screamed, as she turned away from him, and ran out of the dock area. Arnold sighed, and opened up the bag that was sitting on the ground at his feet. He opened up the bag to reveal a pink leather-bound journal that he planned on giving to Helga. He knew that writing kept her sane, and since he was leaving, he wanted to give her something to keep her at bay. He closed his eyes, placed the journal back in the bag, and headed out of the dock area to go to Helga's house, the Beeper Emporium.
When he got to her house, he saw a small light on, which he could tell was her makeshift room. He could hear some commotion from her room, and figured she was demolishing things of his. As he was about to knock on the door, he stopped himself. Thinking that she was still upset, he teared a piece of paper from the back of the journal, took out the pen from the bag, and wrote a note:
I know you are too upset to talk, and you would probably kick my ass, but I wanted to say I am sorry. I am so sorry that I didn't tell you sooner. I am sorry that I let you down. I am sorry that I was selfish, and didn't think about you.
I love you Helga Geraldine Pataki, and that is never going to change. Even if you don't love me anymore, I will still love you. You have done so much for me over the years, even things I have yet to find out about.
I wanted to give you this journal when we met today. I know how much writing means to you, and I wanted to give you something that you would cherish forever. I wish I could tell my parents to not move, but it is too later for that, as they have already set everything up. I wish I could turn back time and did things differently with you.
I really hope you read this before tomorrow, but if not, I will stop by to see you. My parents and I will be leaving later on in the afternoon, and I don't want to leave without saying goodbye, even if you are still upset with me.
I love you so much, my pudding puff.
Arnold placed the note on the bag, knocked the door, and ran off before anyone got to the door to answer it. He hoped the bag got to the right person that it was supposed to...
The next day, Arnold got up as soon as his room lit up from the skylight. Since his alarm clock was packed away in the many boxes that there were in his room, he had to rely on this for his wake-up call. He put on whatever clothes he could find, and snuck out of the house before anyone could wake up and notice him leave. When he got to Helga's house, he noticed that the bag was gone from where he placed it last night. As if it was the universe doing its work, Helga opened up the door.
"Hey," she said quietly.
"Hey," he said nervously. "Helga, I-"
Helga put up her hand and closed her eyes. "Save it, Arnold. I'm mad, but I understand why you're leaving. I'm not going to have our potential last time we ever see each other be filled with hate and anger."
"Okay," he said. "Did you like the journal?"
Helga grinned, and looked at him. "I love it, Arnold. Thank you."
Arnold smiled back at her. "Do you want to go for a walk?"
With a relaxed tone, Helga replied, "Sure."
They walked all around Hillwood, from Slausen's, to Gerald Field, and then stopped at P.S. 118's playground. Arnold looked at his watch that his dad got him for Christmas earlier that year. He realized he had to go soon, as he had to say bye to his Grandma and Grandpa before leaving. Reluctantly, he said, "Helga, I hate to do this, but I have to go soon."
With a sad expression, Helga looked down at the ground. "It's already that time?"
Arnold's heart sunk into his stomach. "Unfortunately, yes."
"Well, this was good. Just to get out of my hellhole."
Arnold grinned. Helga could be so funny, even when she tried not to be. "Let me at least walk you home, okay? Plus, I want to soak out as much time as I can with you."
Helga couldn't help but flirtatiously sigh, and said, "Okay." Arnold grabbed her hand, and walked her home. When they got back to the Emporium, Arnold squeezed her hand, as if he didn't want to let go.
"Arnold, you have to go. Everyone's gonna be waiting for you at home." Helga said, with sadness filling every word.
"I know. I just want to say Helga, that I have had such an amazing eleven years with you. I hope that me leaving does not separate us. I love you, Helga G. Pataki." And with that sentence, he kissed her as passionately as he could. Pulling away, he said, "I promise to write to you every day, and keep you updated on everything." He then hugged her, and they both started crying.
Helga couldn't take it anymore. She pulled away and said, "Okay Arnold, you have to go."
And with that, he kissed her hand, and walked home for the last time in Hillwood.
Although they both tried hard in the beginning of Arnold's move to keep in contact, it became very hard, with the internet access and lack of post offices. With every fail on each other's part, Helga became sadder and sadder. Finally, she stopped writing and contacting Arnold, despite his attempts of writing and contacting her. She realized that she would never see the love of her life again. Her life not only fell apart in that way, but her dad lost the business, and they were living in the projects of Hillwood. Her home life became even worse, with Bob becoming depressed, and Miriam overworking herself at the local grocers. She felt like she didn't belong anywhere, and no one cared about her, not even Arnold.