An Odd Day
Every morning since moving to the new town, Bobby rolled her dice. She imagined that it was telling her what kind of day lay in store. Six would set her up for a brilliant day without anyone upsetting her. Five was good too, but not perfect. It might rain for example, and she’d get wet on her way to school. And so it went down the scale. Last time she rolled a one, she fell down the stairs and broke her big toe.
This morning, as usual, she held her breath nervously as she rolled the dice. The little cube seemed to take longer than usual to settle. When it did, Bobby’s eyes grew almost as large as her geeky new specs. Leaning over until her nose nearly touched the dice, she counted carefully. There were seven spots! She picked up the dice and rolled it slowly between her fingers, inspecting all its sides. It looked perfectly normal.
‘Dear diary,’ she wrote in the big notebook her dad had sent her for her birthday, ‘I thought for a moment that the dice read seven. Am I going mad? What on earth will today be like??!’
On the previous page of her diary she’d stuck a picture of the boy she’d secretly photographed in the playground with her mobile. ‘My boyfriend,’ she’d scribbled below. Underneath another picture it said ‘My best friend Jo.’ She would like to be Jo’s friend – Jo was nice. She just didn’t know how, and she was quite sure that Jo would not be interested in being friends with her.
‘Come on Bobby, you’re running late again!’ her mum shouted from downstairs. Reluctantly, Bobby pushed the diary back under her bed.
The morning passed without anything remarkable to speak of. English was good and PE was a nightmare; Sophie kicked her bag and Harry pulled her hair.
Bobby longed for the lunch break, when she could go and help in the school library. The library was her favourite place – here she could hide behind shelves and avoid having to talk to anyone. She felt happiest when surrounded by books. They were like friends that took her away into other worlds and other lives. As soon as the bell rang she jumped up and raced out the classroom, heading straight for the shelter of the library where she gobbled up her packed sandwiches.
Just as she started to put back the books she’d read during the week, a small squeaky voice piped up behind her.
‘I know what you’re doing.’
Bewildered, Bobby pirouetted around. There was nobody behind her.
‘You take pictures of people and pretend that they’re your friends.’
‘How do you know?’ Bobby gasped. ‘Who are you? What are you?’
‘I’m a fairy.’ A tiny mouse climbed out of a gap in the floorboards. ‘Fluffheart’s the name, pleased to meet you.’
‘B-but you’re a mouse,’ Bobby stammered, ‘you can speak?’
‘Do you really believe this nonsense that fairies are pretty girls in ballerina dresses with a star-topped stick in their hands? Well, it’s not like that at all.’ Fluffheart stuck his nose in the air and sniffled in a stroppy kind of way. ‘We come in all shapes and forms I’ll have you know!’
Dumbstruck, Bobby sank to her knees to look at Fluffheart closely.
‘I’ve kept an eye on you since you arrived here a few months ago, and now I’ve decided to help you!’ the mouse declared.
‘I don’t understand, this can’t be true!’ Bobby cried out, just as Jo and her little sister Jessie walked in.
‘Are you alright?’ Jo asked. ‘You look like you’ve seen a ghost!’
Bobby felt her face flush right up to the roots of her hair. Jo and Jessie often came to the library, but she’d never said anything more than ‘hello’ to them.
‘I – I’m having an odd day,’ she said quietly.
‘Join the club,’ Jo laughed, ‘mine hasn’t been going swimmingly either. Jessie tipped her breakfast all over our new kitten and I got the blame for it!’
Bobby giggled. ‘I have a cat too,’ she said, ‘he’s called Gingernut.’ And suddenly, just like that, Bobby found herself chatting to Jo about their cats and Jo invited Bobby around to her house to see her kitten. Bobby was so excited she didn’t even try to hide behind shelves anymore. She darted around the library like a bouncy ball, desperate to find Fluffheart, until she crashed into Mrs Granger and knocked a pile of books from the teacher’s arms.
‘Bobby! What on earth are doing running around like that! Year 6 girls should behave better than that!’
‘Sorry, Mrs Granger, it won’t happen again, I promise!’ Bobby fell down on her knees and hastily piled up all the books. Just then, she caught a small movement from the corner of her eye. A tiny tail, disappearing around the corner.
She jumped to her feet and hastily handed the books back. Mrs Granger looked disapprovingly through her cockeyed half moon specs, but much to Bobby’s relief there was no further lecture.
Bobby quickly went into the reading room and looked around to see where Fluffheart had gone, worried that anyone might spot him and try to kill him.
Then her breath stopped somewhere in the middle of her throat and her knees turned to jelly. There, at the reading table, was her boyfriend. Except, to be truthful, Bobby didn’t even know his name.
‘Lost something?’ he said with a big grin.
Bobby’s cheeks turned as red as ripe tomatoes. Her mouth opened but no sound came out.
‘I understand,’ he laughed, ‘you don’t want to admit that there’s a mouse in here. But I saw it!’ He dropped his voice to a whisper. ‘Let’s look for it together and release it outside!’
For the next couple of minutes both of them crawled on hands and knees in search of Fluffheart until they ended up in fits of giggles.
‘I’m Tom,’ he said when they decided to give up.‘ You’re amazing! Most girls I know would have screamed and run if they knew there was a mouse in here.’
‘I love animals,’ Bobby said.
‘Me too,’ Tom said. ‘I have Fantastic Mr Fox on DVD, would you like to come and watch it sometime?’
Bobby thought her heart would explode in her chest. She nodded speechlessly.
‘Dear diary,’ she wrote at the end of that day, ‘I don’t really know what happened today! But I’ve decided never to roll my dice again. It is much more fun not to know what kind of day I’m going to have!’