2nd of November, 2010
“Hi! I’m Athena!” The six-year-old girl with pigtails giggled and stuck out her small hand.
He stared at her for a moment probably wondering what had her giggling like that so early in the morning.
“Nikolai,” he replied, shaking her hand.
“Mommy look! I made a friend! His name is Nikolai.”
“That is a beautiful name!” Her mother told him, looking at the little boy with kind eyes. Clutching her hand was another little girl, only a year or two younger than him.
“My husband was Russian.” His mother supplied.
“He passed away a month ago.”
“I’m so sorry for your loss.”
And so, the new neighbors were acquainted, and suddenly Nikolai had a friend. It was a new experience for him, not necessarily bad but a little strange, hearing the cute girl with pigtails call him her friend.
He was a quiet kid. He didn’t have friends. Sure, the boys at his school tried to talk to him but he would reply with monosyllabic answers and keep himself busy with doodling in his little notebook. That was enough to make everyone give up on befriending him. He liked it that way.
The new girl however seemed to be least bothered by his monosyllabic greeting and facial expression, or lack thereof.
“Help her get settled and make friends in school tomorrow, son.” His mother instructed.
He didn’t mind. She’d forget him as soon as she’d stop being the new girl and could do everything and go everywhere by herself.
“Can I call you Nik?” Athena asked, surprising the hell out of him.
It’s been ten minutes and she wanted to give him a nickname already?
“Okay.” He replied slowly.
“Awesome!” She giggled and clapped her hands.