This content is intended for mature audiences.
or, enter your birth date.*
Winter was always something Rioda wanted to see when he was a kid, most would think so too if they lived in the tropics for their entire childhood. Although now that he’s above 20, anything associated with cold didn’t appeal to him as much as it had been. No dreaming of white Christmas, little to no decorations, and the happiest he has been during the holiday was getting an additional 10 hour sleep. In retrospect, maybe that wish about being a billionaire sounded more appealing now when he was given that survey about his future. Then again, would it have mattered?
Rioda had been walking in the snow for some time now. He was miserable due to the cold, but the passersby didn’t seem to share his sentiments. Regardless he was already halfway there, and it only took him 6 hours of flight with jet lag, a 2 hour traffic aneurysm, and a few bruises from slipping on ice, but he finally made it to the front of what is passable for a building. Its exterior really fell out of place with all the other establishments in the area.
Inside, Rioda shook off a ton of ice, a bird’s nest, and a couple of twigs off his head after trying the front door. He would have to inquire with an employee about that later. After picking off a dry leaf off his coat, Rioda continued through the narrow hallway leading to a large room which was in a completely polar state compared to outside. It wasn’t his first time inside the obscure cafe, but over the years its interior design, lavish furniture and detailed architecture still left him amazed that he visited this place on a weekly basis.
Taking his time for his eyes to adjust to the lighting, Rioda saw that besides him, only one other person seems to be inside the cafe, a scrawny looking character behind the bar counter and immediately smiled. Rioda walked past by several tables which had different flags as their markers, such as Great Britain, Poland, Hungary, Malaysia, and America. By the time Rioda sat on one of the stools nearest to the bartender, a shot glass and a club soda was waiting for him.
“If you keep coming over this early, i just might give you the keys to this place.” the bartender said as he was wiping one of the drinking glasses. Rioda just chuckled, “Good to see you too, Suchy. And I don’t think Netty would like that without her permission.” Suchy placed the glass he was holding on the counter and poured himself some milk and sat down opposite his patron.
Night time was evident from the window on the opposite side of the room. On the wall where the window was placed, frames upon frames of pictures of the people, events, and random things in the Netty Cafe were in display; Netty’s first stream, The mods (which had suchy in it), the various poses from various roleplays. It seemed that everyone looked happy in each one of those images. “Has it really been that long already?” Rioda asked, still looking at the wall of memories.
Gulping down the last drop of dairy, Suchy answered, “Yeah, makes you feel old huh?”. Rioda was old, one of the oldest. Some days he wonders how he ended up here. And during those times, he’d smile, laugh, even tear up a little. “Yes i am.” He walked up to the corner of the room where Exofireblade’s dusty sound system was catching dust. Behind it, a couple of heavy weapons and flamethrowers were stacked.
In the other corner of the picture wall, a couple of benches were placed overlooking the major floor of the room to see the roleplays happen. It was even the best spot to have seen the entire TaXo wedding. Rioda smiled a bit to the image of Exo and Tap in wedding clothes, while being wrapped in chains while they struggle as Storm commences the event and Netty sits by the front row, giving them her blessing.
Something caught Rioda’s eye by the tables at the far end of the room. In one of the seats, a couple of gunshot residue and bloodstains from the various roleplays could be seen. A few dashes of color were even on the tabletop as others were doing their own little art work, trying to learn something from Netty’s style of drawing or just doing their own original work. Suchy walked over towards Rioda by the picture wall. He pointed to one set of pictures of peeps crashing from the roof. “It was a pain fixing those up.” They shared a brief chuckle.
Having been one of the regulars in the cafe, it really looked amazing to see how it grew from a handful of people, to becoming a small community. Rioda looked over to another set of pictures which had the image of those who started their own streams; Mai, Aiz, Stray, Exo, Marry, Rainy, Tap, Quton, Ant and some names he didn’t recognize. Under their pictures were some of their respective works, mostly about the TaXo ship and other works about youtubers and artists. He wonders how they were doing now. In some corner of the globe probably.
As he was looking at some of the original works, he saw a picture of a bearded man on a turtle eating a sparkling multicolored plant (or tree), a cake, and a stick of butter in a container which appeared to have an exotic design labeled “memes”. Rioda said under his breath; “Memes never die huh?” He then proceeded to walk towards a table with the Philippine flag, running his fingers on some of the ink stains from the fanfics he wrote all those times. He then looked over the empty chair beside the one he used to take. He looked over at Suchy, still admiring the pictures which seemed to be that of Coyotemation and Bananacat. “He still owes me a drink though.” Rioda said, indicating the vacant seat in their table. Suchy only shook his head at the old joke.
Realizing the time, Rioda went back to his stool by the bar and gulped down the last of his club soda drink. Suchy went back to his post behind the counter. “Going already?” Rioda only nodded and began rummaging through his pocket for some change, but Suchy stopped him. “On the house friend, it’s Christmas after all.” Rioda paused and mouthed a simple thanks to Suchy and then began walking towards the front exit but then paused when he saw a large portrait of the regulars by the door, with Netty in the middle like a rowdy bunch of school kids.
Days like those seemed far off now, something like a dream. Rioda wonders if he’ll ever find a place like that again or even find friends as fun as they were. Regardless, it was a blast. And he’ll keep those memories close. He took one last look at the tattered picture and said a final goodbye towards the empty and disregarded room behind him without waiting for a reply, despite being alone in the entire building. Rioda closes the door with a sign that says “To be demolished, no entry.” and walks off into the town, on the last Christmas eve.