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my friend, my love, my life

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"Oncie! Come on! I have a surprise for you!"

Once-ler ran toward Norma's voice, she had been ahead of him ever since she had awakened him in the dead of night, up ahead, she had finally stopped. Once-ler caught his breath when he came next to his childhood friend, who patiently waited. He straightened up, he was extremely tall compared to how short Norma was, making them look comical when they stood next to one another.

"Norma, I'm leaving tomorrow and I still have things to pack, so I need my sleep. Why did you bring me out here?"

Norma's clear blue eyes sparkled as she spoke, "Well, I wanted to give you something before you left. I can't be there tomorrow, you know how much I hate your family."

Once-ler cringed at the thought of his family, none of them supported him, not even his own mother! The only one who had even helped the Once-ler ever was Norma, helping him to knit so he could make his thneed.

"I don't know when I'll see you next, so here."

She shoved a large long package into his hands, it was covered in brown paper and had hand drawn decorations all over it, a large great-great-great grandfather snail was drawn the biggest. Norma had her own snail family, and the oldest was her favorite. Once-ler eyed the package and carefully unwrapped it. The paper fell away to reveal a slightly used, but new to Once-ler, guitar. He had been playing an old broken guitar for years until it died when his brothers decided to play baseball with it. He stared in wonder at the electric blue guitar and asked,

"Where did you even find this?"

She replied, "I had to look in all the stores until I found something I could remotely afford. I was short fifteen cents, that's why I borrowed them yesterday, so you partly paid for it."

Once-ler didn't know what to say, it was touching and more than his family had ever given him,

"Thank you, really, thank you."

Once-ler hugged her awkwardly, but tightly.

"I'm going to really miss you, I wish you could come with me."

"So do I Oncie, but I have to help my Dad, he's getting up there in years and the store isn't going to mind itself."

They broke apart and walked back towards their homes. Once-ler played with his guitar as they walked. They parted at her home, and she hugged him tightly before he walked along. Once-ler got to his own home and went to his room, he looked at the guitar and tuned it, glad at least one person believed in him, his family never did.

"Mommy! Look at what I made!"

A young Once-ler held up a contraption with wheels, his mother sighed and looked, "What is it Oncie?"

"It's a Bleter! it can follow you around and hold stuff for you!"

His mother sighed again, she did it a lot when he was around, and said, "Go on and play Oncie, I don't have time for your foolishness."
Once-ler's face fell, and he dropped the Bleter into the trash.

Once-ler dashed away the painful memory and focused on what tomorrow would bring, a distant thought of a tiny person in the back of his mind.