Alfie goes to uni, p.1
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       Alfie Goes to Uni, p.1

           Rosemary J. Peel
 
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Alfie Goes to Uni
Alfie Goes to Uni

  By

  Rosemary J. Peel

  Copyright 2012 Rosemary J. Peel

  Alfie Goes to Uni

  It wasn’t as if Charlotte hadn’t taken Alfie away with her before; she had, lots of times - but this was different. He knew it was. There was so much more packing going on at home; dozens of boxes and bags. They must be going away for a long time and yet no one else’s things were being packed, only Charlotte’s. It was a mystery.

  Charlotte had been quite small when she had been given Alfie as a birthday present. She loved him from the start: he was special. She took him everywhere and when she became a competitive swimmer, he was her good luck charm. She bought him lots of lovely things to wear; he even had an Olympic track suit that had a gold medal attached. He always wore that for major competitions. He would sit on Grandma’s knee and she would wave his arm at Charlotte, down on the bath side. During the race she would dance him up and down as she shouted,

  “Come on, Charlotte!”

  It was as if Grandma knew that he would have loved to shout for her too, if he could. It was all very exciting. If she won, they went to McDonald’s to celebrate and if she lost they went to cheer her up. They were great times.

  Alfie slept in Charlotte’s bed every night or in his own little one next to hers. Later he got a tent and a sleeping bag, for when they went camping. He felt himself to be a very special bear. Charlotte got cross if her brother or sister played with him or even took him out of her bedroom. He was hers, not theirs. Not that Alex really wanted to play with him; he just liked to annoy his elder sister. Annabel though, did want to; she would have loved to make him a part of her own family of bears. At every opportunity she would sneak him off to her room. This generally caused fearful rows, but it also made Alfie feel even more important and loved.

  In the springtime every year Grandma and Granddad took the children away on holiday to Cornwall and Alfie always went with them. He loved the long journey in the dark, and their visits to motorway cafes in the middle of the night. They stayed in a big caravan very near the beach. Alfie had his own swimming suit and towel. It was grand. In the summertime, when the children went abroad with Mum and Dad, he went along too. He got used to airports and aeroplanes. He even had his own passport, which really made him feel like one of the family. Alfie became a well-travelled bear.

  Then suddenly everything changed. He stopped sleeping in his own little bed or even in Charlotte’s. She put him on a shelf in the bedroom, with a lot of other toys. He was wearing his pyjamas when she put him there and in his pyjamas, he stayed. All his things were squashed away at the bottom of Charlotte’s wardrobe. Alfie felt very sad. After a long time of living on the shelf, feeling neglected and un-loved, one day Annabel slipped into Charlotte’s room and lifted him down. She took his things from the wardrobe and carried them all into her room.

  “She’ll kill you when she finds out!” Alfie heard Alex call out to her, as she slunk past his bedroom door.

  “Well don’t tell her then.”

  “Why shouldn’t I?

  “Oh please, Alex, don’t. Alfie’s lonely. Charlotte never plays with him any more. She won’t mind if I look after him for a bit.”

  “Oh, but she will. You know how she hates us taking her things - and Alfie’s special.”

  “If he’s so special, why has she shoved all his things away and left him sitting on a shelf in his pyjamas for yonks?”

  “Don’t know, don’t care, but she’ll blow her top if you take him.”

  And she did. There followed the row of all rows. Everybody joined in. Charlotte shouted at Annabel and made her cry, Alex got in trouble for telling tales and Annabel was told off for taking Charlotte’s things without asking. A great deal of arguing and shouting followed, even the dogs joined in. Mum grounded them all until weekend.

  “I wasn’t going out anyway, I have to study.” Charlotte flounced from the room.

  “I’ve got rugby training and my paper round.” Alex was smug.

  “That’s not fair, that’s means it’s just me!” Annabel began to cry - loudly.

  “STOP!” Dad blew his top, “You’re all grounded for a month and no sweets or pocket money!”

  Alfie landed back on Charlotte’s bedroom shelf and there he stayed. After a while, even Annabel seemed to forget him. He was a very sad bear. Days, weeks, months, even years rolled by.

  Charlotte spent a lot of time in her bedroom, but she didn’t play with Alfie. Now and then she would pick him up and brush off the dust, but she always replaced him back on the shelf. There were books all over the place and she spent hours and hours pouring over them. She grew moody and worried as she became more and more engrossed in her studies. Then came the day when she began whooping about the place like a Banshee, laughing and crying at the same time. She had passed her exams. She was deliriously happy. She even took Alfie from the shelf, hugged him, changed him into his Olympic outfit and sat him back on her bed. He couldn’t believe his luck. But it didn’t last. The next morning he was back on the shelf. After that, Charlotte always seemed either to be out, or fast asleep.

  Suddenly there was great activity about the house. Things were tidied and sorted, some thrown out and others given away. Charlotte actually gave Annabel some of her old toys, along with manicure sets, bottles of nail polish, perfume and even a few bits of make-up. However, Alfie stayed put. He thought they had forgotten about him altogether? But he was wrong.

  One evening Charlotte took him downstairs and put him on the top of one of the cardboard boxes in the living room. Was he being given away? No, she’d put him with the things that she was taking with her. Alfie looked at the pile of boxes and bags. She must be going for a very long holiday, and it looked as if he was going too. He desperately wanted to know where. Friends and relatives started to drop in with cards and gifts for Charlotte. There was a feeling of excitement in the air, but an atmosphere of sadness too. Eyes seemed unnaturally bright as if unshed tears were being held back. Alfie found it very mystifying.

  The day of departure arrived. Alfie found it very dark in the box he had been squashed into, after Dad closed and sealed the lid. He knew he was in the car when he heard the engine start. Well, they were off - wherever it was that they were going!
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