Brianna scrambled onto the kitchen table, receiving a whooshing “Shoo!” from Mrs. Noble. She got off the table, as fast as she could, settling back into her high chair. She looked at all the other chairs around her. They all sat lower than hers and she could not wait till the day she would be able to sit on one of those chairs. They seemed so….normal, yes, normal. That was what her mother, Mrs. Noble would call them.
Grandpapa used to gruff, “Those are for oldies, eh! Yours is special!” But that was when Grandpapa used to be around. Now he was gone.
Brianna, crawled up from her high chair and peeked at the kitchen table. Yippee, she thought, at least snack time would be fun. She saw that Mrs. Noble was filling her snack box with a bologna sandwich, vanilla ice cream flavored yoghurt and two fat, round shaped brownies. At least she would have something to look forward to before she got home at one o’clock for lunch. Grandpapa would call this snack box a ‘celebration box’.
Before she knew it, Brianna heard the school bus screech to a halt along the road, in front of her home. She climbed off her high chair, patted down her pinafore, and grabbed her snack box from her mother. She couldn’t be late for the school bus. Her new best friend, Timothy, would be waiting for her! Before Mrs. Noble could peck a goodbye kiss on Brianna’s pink rounded cheek, Brianna had grabbed her snack box, and was scuttling towards the school bus. Mrs. Noble watched from the doors as Brianna stumbled up the school bus steps. Brianna would jump with glee when she got home today, Mrs. Noble thought. Today, Mr. Noble was bringing home something special. Something special. Just for Brianna.
Brianna shuffled her way down the school bus steps and walked despondently towards her doorstep. The day had not gone the way she thought it would.
You see, it was ‘show and tell’ week at school and everybody had to bring something special to talk about. Earlier in the day, Brianna had brought her Grandpapa’s gold medal to school. It was her turn. The one he was always trying to polish but never seemed to lose its bronze dull.
Timothy had brought his favorite toy, one his mother had made for him out of a sock, his ‘muppet’ Mr. Snookums. He could make Mr. Snookums move left or right, front or back, simply by putting his hand into the sock Mr. Snookums was made out of. Brianna knew that, because Timothy had shown her how he made Mr. Snookums wiggle, before ‘show and tell’.
Mrs. Bazooka was extremely impressed by Timothy’s ability to manipulate Mr. Snookums and clapped with great delight when he told the class he had sewn Mr. Snookums’ eyes on with buttons that had burst, flying off his old shirt that had grown too tight, because he was growing up, but learnt from his mother that children should learn not to waste things as they had to be frugal.
Mrs. Bazooka had even asked him where he learnt such a big word. Frugal. He had explained proudly to the class that being frugal meant one should not waste things. That made her cheer him on with so much exuberance, she nearly fell off her chair.
Fairy Angela watched from above, her hands clasped tight in prayer, when Brianna got up from her seat proudly and walked to the front of the class, holding her Grandpapa’s gold medal close to her chest. She was the last one to do the ‘show and tell’ today and although Fairy Angela had high hopes for Brianna, tears flowed from her eyes when she saw that the rest of the class was chattering away and that Mrs. Bazooka was nodding off throughout Brianna’s ‘show and tell’, so much so that she hit her head so hard on the table once, that a bulbous red bump started forming on her forehead. It would take almost two weeks and a lot of rubbing for that bulbous bump to finally grow miniscule enough for anyone not to notice.
Brianna walked back to her group desk, the gold medal that was a dull bronze, hanging from her fingertips, a tear forming in her eyes. Nobody had listened to her and Mrs. Bazooka had yawned a very angry “Thank you,” at Brianna when she had finished, almost as angry as the red bump that was growing slowly but surely on her forehead. Nobody had clapped for her, not even her new best friend, Timothy.
As Brianna sat down and turned towards Timothy, Timothy turned away and continued chatting to Darius, as he had been doing the whole time that Brianna had been explaining how her Grandpapa got the gold medal, animatedly explaining how Mr. Snookums’ nose had been sewn on using his old shoe laces.
During snack time, Timothy did not sit with her. No one did. Brianna became angry, very angry, at Grandpapa. If his medal was so great, like he had told her about a dozen times in his animated stories, then why didn’t anyone care? Why did they not listen? And why had they not clapped?
Before leaving school, a resentful Brianna threw Grandpapa’s gold medal into the rubbish bin, but before it could clink to the bottom, Fairy Angela swooped in quickly and retrieved it, hoping that the surprise Mr. Noble had at home for Brianna would help little Briana grow in trust and faith.
The little Corgi pup, Teela, which Mr. Noble had brought home from the pet shelter, waited anxiously for Brianna in the guesthouse where Grandpapa used to live. He had heard her dragging footsteps, but did not bark for Wizard Gomez had told him not to. He had given Wizard Gomez his word that he would make sure he would surprise the little girl Brianna, his new forever human.
You see, while little boys and girls had their own Fairies, little puppies had their own Wizards.
Outside Mr. and Mrs. Noble, noticing that Brianna looked a little upset, decided that lunch could wait.
“Brianna, let’s go visit Grandpapa’s guesthouse,” Mrs. Noble spoke to Brianna in soothing tones, while patting little Brianna’s shoulder.
The miserable day forgotten, Brianna’s eyes lit up and sparkled! She rarely got to visit Grandpapa’s guesthouse ever since Grandpapa had left. What could it be? Had Grandpapa returned? Would she have someone to talk to again and someone to tell her that her curly ginger hair was the most beautiful hair he had ever seen?
All these thoughts and questions filled her mind as Mr. and Mrs. Noble, together with Brianna, walked towards the old guesthouse. Actually, Brianna skipped. This made Fairy Angela extremely happy. Brianna would have Teela to confide in now!
Or so she thought, because as soon as Brianna spotted Teela in the guesthouse, Brianna turned around sobbing and ran towards the house, running up to her room, slamming the door.
She had expected to see Grandpapa there, his arms wide open to greet her, but instead she found this tiny puppy wagging its short tail furiously at her, smiling, his wet tongue hanging out.
Mrs. Noble had been walking Teela in the front yard and back yard every morning for the last three days, and while Teela quite enjoyed Mrs. Noble’s soft mutterings in Teela’s ears, the gentle patting and generous bowls of yummy kibbles, unlike the soggy ones she got at the pet shelter, Teela hadn’t seen her forever human Brianna in the last three days.
Feeling a little disheartened, the little pup sat slumped to the ground, chin resting on its two front crossed paws. Teela thought about all the fun she had hoped she and Brianna would have together, playing fetch and sitting by the porch side by side while Brianna told her about her adventures at school. Teela let out a low sigh, settling her tail between her legs.
Suddenly, the little Corgi pup jumped to her feet. She remembered now! “I remember, I remember, I remember!” she sang to herself as she ran around in circles, leaving tiny imprints of her paws on the floorboards. Mrs. Noble had forgotten to wipe Teela’s paws from this morning’s walk.
Wizard Gomez had come to Teela’s dream last night and had told Teela that the answer would be in the wooden chest at the far right corner of the guesthouse house. But what exactly had Wizard Gomez said? Teela had been so filled up with her chicken and carrot meal that she had slept too soundly through the dream.
“There is only one thing to be done now! Find out what is in that chest of drawers!” Teela thought to herself determinedly, sticking her little chest out and nodding her furry head with determination.
Teela trotted as quickly as she could, towards the chest of drawers, leaving her itsy bitsy paw prints all over the place, and started working on opening the lowest drawer of the chest with her small front paws. It was hard work for a little pup, but it had to be done!
Meanwhile, Brianna had just gotten off the school bus and was making her way back to the house, tugging at the straps of her pink glitter Princess back pack. Midway through her walk through the garden, she stopped in her tracks.
Curiosity about this new little pup started creeping up on her. She had been thinking about the pup at snack time in school too. It was getting awfully lonely with no one to talk to now that she no longer had a new best friend, and now that her old best friend, Grandpapa had been gone too.
She made a right detour from the cobblestoned walkway to her house, heading towards the guesthouse. As she approached the house she could hear some scrambling going on in the guesthouse.” What could be happening in the guesthouse?” she panicked. Brianna dropped her back pack onto the moist garden greens and ran towards the guesthouse.
She flung the door of the guesthouse open, still hanging from the handlebar, to find the little pup surrounded by scatters of newspaper articles and an assortment of books around it, grinning proudly at her with bits of papers in her jaw, ears at attention, her short tail wagging as fast as she could possibly make it. Teela was very pleased with herself. She had managed to open the drawer so quickly and empty it, all by herself!
Brianna’s short lived curiosity turned into rage very quickly. Brianna stormed towards the dog as quickly as her short legs could take her and yelled at Teela as loudly as her small voice would allow her “What have you done to Grandpapa’s things, you useless dog?!!”
Teela’s jaw dropped open, the remainder of the newspaper clippings falling out and slowly backed her way under the couch, whining softly. Teela was confused. Hadn’t Wizard Gomez told her that the secret to unlocking Brianna’s heart would be in the chest of drawers? Had Teela opened the wrong drawer? But how could Teela reach the highest drawer? Crouching under the couch, the pup’s eyes glistened with tears as she tried to muffle her sobs.
An infuriated Brianna looked at the mess about her. All the newspaper clippings Grandpapa kept tidily in a neat stack were strewn all over the guesthouse and so was his book collection. With pursed lips, Brianna sat in the midst of the mess, determined to put all of Grandpapa’s things back in order.
Her small hands fumbled through the books and articles when it chanced upon a photo album, on its cover, a picture of a dignified Grandpapa, dressed in a suit with a pocket watch on his chest, cane in one hand and in the other, a dog on a leash that…that…looked like a big Teela??
Brianna let out a little gasp and turned the pages of the album. As she turned the pages, she glanced furtively at the little pup Corgi under the couch, and then at the photos, back and forth, back and forth, until she reached the last page. On the last page, a huge black and white picture of a young Grandpapa stared back at her, hugging little Teela in his arms. A single silent drop of tear fell from young Brianna’s eyes.
Abandoning the photo album, Brianna crawled on all fours towards Teela, wiped her eyes, joining Teela under the couch. Teela, who had been watching on in bewilderment, felt a sudden surge of joy rush through her body when Brianna squished Teela tightly against herself and whispered gleefully into Teela’s ear “Teela, why didn’t you tell me that Grandpapa sent you to me to be my new best friend?!”
Teela knew now that she had truly gained her new forever human. The two crouched under the sofa, tightly squashed against each other for a long while.
Meanwhile Fairy Angela and Wizard Gomez looked down at them from above, smiling from ear to ear and then did a little happy dance.