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Who’s Your Friend Who Likes to Play

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When Riley was a child, her and Bing-Bongs life together was amazing. Play all day and sleep halfway through the night to wake up and play some more, only to be rocked back to sleep by Riley’s parents. They would throw their food around and scream all throughout the house. They took baths together, napped together, had playdates together. They even built a rocket to go to the moon together, and made Bing-Bong a theme song. They did everything together. When Riley was happy Bing-Bong was happy. When Riley was upset Bing-Bong was upset too, crying his candy tears in an attempt to cheer Riley up. It didn’t work every time though, but that’s okay because that’s what parents were for right? They were there for Riley when he couldn’t be and he will always be grateful for them.


As the days went by though, Riley did less and less with him. She was growing up, getting new friends, leaving him behind. They no longer did everything together, they didn’t eat together, sleep together, their emotions no longer matched up, their rocket got dismantled by Riley’s dad, and she forgot their theme song. Riley was slowly forgetting him until she didn’t remember him at all. It hurt. But what hurt the worst was when every trace of him was gone. Either packed and put in the attic, thrown away, or misplaced and it disappeared, just like he did.


It’s okay though, her forgetting him means that Riley doesn’t need Bing-Bong anymore. That she’ll be okay on her own. No matter what she does he will always be proud of her. He’s not sure what he’ll do now, without Riley by his side all the time. What will he do before he gets completely forgotten and ends up in the Pit of Forgotten Memories. Maybe he’ll try to make his way to headquarters and watch over Riley from there. Or maybe he could live on in her imagination by staying on Imagination Island.


Yea, that sounds like a good plan, stay on Imagination Island until he can find a way to headquarters. Bing-Bong was with Riley so much that he didn’t have an actual place to stay on the island, even though that is the place he would call his home. It was a bit of a surprise though when the workers of Riley’s mind had told him that he had to leave whether he found a place to stay or not. They told him that they had to make room for Riley’s newest imaginative creations and that they didn’t need someone that will be forgotten soon. That hurt almost as much as Riley forgetting him. It hurt but he did what he was asked, he didn’t want to be imprisoned in the Subconscious where he knows Jangles the Clown is. So, he made his way towards Long Term Memory with no plan and nothing else but his endless bag.


This was how he would spend the next few years of his life, wandering Long Term Memory. Not quite forgotten, but never remembered. Eventually he started to really look at Riley’s memories. He would see how she was growing up, see how happy she was. Every once in awhile he would take a memory that showed her progress of growing to be a happy young girl. Seeing her happy still made him happy, and he always wanted to savor that.


His routine of looking at Riley’s memories never really ended, it usually had little to no interruptions. Until that one day. Two people from Headquarters introduced themselves as Sadness and Joy. Bing-Bong couldn’t believe it! He had so many questions. Why were they in Long Term and not Headquarters, Riley can’t be happy without Joy!? Were they looking for someone? Were they here for him? Does Riley need him again? Will he get to see her again?


Turns out that Joy and Sadness just got stuck in a Recall Tube and ended up here. It makes sense, Riley probably won’t need him again. And that’s okay! Bing-Bong will help the two from Headquarters get back to where they need to go! After all, she can’t be happy again without Joy. Keeping her happy was his only purpose in life, when Riley’s happy, he’s happy. Even if she doesn’t see him anymore, that doesn’t mean he isn’t going to do his best to keep her light shining bright.


It was a long trip going through the islands, it was hard to see all of them fall apart one by one. Eventually, after making it through things that he didn’t want to witness, ahem . . . Jangles the Clown, they made it to the train of thought. Unfortunately for them Riley was already asleep and now they had no way of getting to Headquarters. Two problems with that. One, Imagination Island was slowly crumbling apart. Two, Riley was about to run away, they were told by the workers and it made Joy even more frantic to get back.


With the island crumbling though, Bing-Bong didn’t know what he should do. He would be forgotten for good this time. He would miss her, miss seeing her grow through her memories, miss seeing her happy, miss pretending like he would be able to see her again, miss tricking himself that they would go to the moon together on their rocket. He would miss Riley. And as much as that thought made him sad, so did the thought of Riley never being happy again. So when Joy and him were stuck in the Pit of Forgotten Memories, all he thought about was making Riley happy and he let go. Before he sang his last song and said his last goodbye, all he thought about was her. After all, Riley may not need him anymore, but that doesn’t mean that he didn’t need her.