This wouldn't be the first time she went to school hungry.
This also wouldn't be the first time going to school in a dirty dress.
Miriam forgets to do most things, and Bob openly refuses to see anything is wrong. Perhaps he's just busy, but Helga cannot rationalize any of that because she's the one walking to the bus stop with an empty belly and wearing unclean clothes.
Thankfully her best friend Phoebe usually has something for her to munch on. It's most likely going to be a healthy alternative to what she would like but Helga has learned not to gripe when she's this famished.
As she rounded the corner the bus stop was insight, along with some of her classmates, but her petite friend was not. The scowl on Helga's face grew.
If Phoebe wasn't here yet then she most likely wouldn't be coming. The girl was never late, she prided herself on her punctuality.
That's when Helga remembered Phoebe had told her she'd be driven to school by her mother because there was some kind of meeting in the auditorium or something. Helga's hunger was clouding her memory. It did not help that Harold, who had just arrived at the stop, was munching on a candy bar. She only envied him in moments like this.
She turned her head to rid the image of him eating because the pain in her gut was almost too much to bear.
Helga looked around sheepishly and hoped no one noticed her dress was the same from yesterday, it had a mustard stain near the collar and if anyone pointed it out she was sure she would lose it and pound them into the pavement.
She hoped that wouldn't happen because she had been honestly, sincerely trying to be calmer and more social and keep her attitude at a level 6 instead if 10.
Helga was in sixth grade now so she figured she had better chill out because womanhood was coming faster than a bullet, or so that's what the health class video instilled in the minds of all the girls forced to watch it.
Helga shifted her books and sighed, without Phoebe she not only missed out on some food but she also was missing out on talking.
Even though she was toning down her image it was hard to erase the minds of the peers she had tortured and subjugated to childish games since they were all toddlers. Yes she was on better terms with them all but no one had dared to get as close as Phoebe had.
Well...that wasn't true either. There was one who tried almost everyday to break into a conversation with her. And she was perplexed as to why the oblong shaped head hadn't made it into her peripherals. Arnold her, to put it politely, crush was the one who tried ferociously to get acquainted with her on a day to day basis. She hoped it was for his undying love for her but she wasn't stupid. He was just being himself. Arnold was Arnold and it made her think that maybe it was herself molding to change instead of the other way around.
Helga stepped backwards on the side walk to let an elderly woman pass by and as she did so her eyes locked into a blonde head approaching.
But something was indefinitely different.
His walk was heavy. And it was like he were trying to hurt the ground with each step.
Arnold hadn't had a bad nights sleep, he hadn't woken up on the wrong side of the bed either but he was terribly upset. It was one of those days where he missed his parents even more. He was two years into searching for them and while having the journal was a great guide and comfort, he was nowhere even close to finding them then he was in the first place.
As Arnold walked the streets to the bus stop this morning it seemed everywhere he looked were smiling parents and the very blessed children to have them around.
Whenever he felt this way he tried to mourn privately at home but there was just something this day that kept him angry. So when he reached the stop and Gerald asked him if her were ok he began rant to his best friend.
Helga was eagerly over hearing everything as they came to a stop not too far from her.
"And that's just it Gerald, I get so mad that I haven't made progress that I want to quit but then I can't quit because their lives could be in danger and then I just end up feeling ashamed. I'm starting to believe my own doubts and like this morning I get mad when I see people with their parents. I'm so frustrated."
"I hear you Arnold but you can't give up, cause you know they wouldn't."
Parents. She had them sure but would she go to the ends of the Earth to find them?
Because she was absolutely sure they would never go as far as getting into trouble for helping some tribe in the middle of the jungle. She wasn't even sure that they actually registered that the world didn't revolve around them.
Or that they had a young daughter at home to take care of.
Why did he struggle so much to find his parents when he had a loving family at home already? Why couldn't he move on and accept that he would never find them and that everyone else in his family believes his search to be in vain? She knew in her heart that his mission was important to him but she just couldn't see what he was doing to his family as anything but selfish.
Helga would give anything ANYTHING to have a family like his or closely resembling it. She would love to go home to hot meals and clean clothes and maybe it was her empty stomach fueling her rage but she clenched her books tight and practically flew over to Arnold.
"I don't know what you've got to complain about football head, I'm tired of you whining everyday. If you want parents so bad I'll give you mine. You don't realize how lucky you are!"
"Excuse me?" He said flabbergasted at her roughness.
"You heard me bucko."
Arnold stared at her with a deadpan look,"Helga I don't think you understand what I'm feeling. You've always had your parents so I would appreciate it if you would just back off."
It seemed the bus chose that precise time to pull in.
Helga was so off put she let out a huff and turned around without a word to get on the bus. Her money made a loud clang as it was thrown at the machine.
She took the first empty seat she saw which was at the back. Her arms crossed over her chest in resentment and she glared long and hard at the seat in front of her.
Her whole entire ride to school was spent fuming.
Clearly both of their situations were so drastically different that neither had time to contemplate the others scenario.
This forced Helga to recede into her mind and forced her violent actions to boil over.
Phoebe noticed the change at first glance because of how Helga emerged from the bus. She winced as Helga pushed Eugene to the ground,"Um good morning Helga...is everything ok?"
"Everything's just peachy Pheebs can't you tell?!"
She was really quite unsure of how to answer that.
"Once again Phoebe everyone, especially Arnold thinks I have this awesome perfect life and that my parents are amazingly normal. Sometimes I wish they all could walk a day in my shoes, like Arnold for instance. There are sometimes where I think having no parents would be better than what I got. At least he has grandparents that care, I don't even have that."
Phoebe clearly had no way to reply, she could only offer a concerned fleeting look before Helga unabashedly pushed by her and up the stairs to the front door of the school.
She bit her lip as she watched Helga disappear, she may understand what she's going through but she would never know how it felt.
And so the bell rang signaling the beginning of another day. Things were learned, some things were forgotten. Some students progressed while others seemed to come to a halt.
Helga spent most of her day zoned out in an apathetic trance. She wasn't able to think things through until she got home that night and expressed everything into her journal.
Her body slumped on her bed while holding it and she looked out at the stars. A shooting star flickered past.
It seemed silly but for a moment in her pondering she whispered to the stars,"I wish my parents were good and I didn't have to live like this anymore. I wish...I wish I had what Arnold had."
Her eyes flittered, becoming heavy, and she succumbed to the sleep she desperately needed.
Unbeknownst to her the forces at large heard her plea and decided to grant her wishes.
Regrettably, where bad is replaced with good, the good...must be replaced with the bad.
A delicate balance must be sustained...