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Max is left behind . . .

posted 10 Apr 2017, 16:10 by Fran Brady

Max had thought a lot about beautiful Suzie Squirrel since he had met her in Grandma Frances’ car. They had gone for a lovely drive along the road beside the sea, close to where Aliida lived. Suzie had remained sitting on the back of the seat looking out the rear window. Max thought she had the loveliest profile, even lovelier than Penelope Bear who was the last animal he had fallen in love with. He had cried for a whole day when Penelope had been taken away from Bear Shop by her new owners, even though he was glad for her.

Truth to tell, Max was rather good at falling in love. Penelope had been the fifth girl-bear he had taken a fancy to in Bear Shop. Of course, he loved Aliida but she was his mummy. He would always love her forever and ever. Even though, one day, she might have to go away and leave him, he would still love her. That’s how it is with bears and mummies. 

But girlfriends were another matter: Max could fall in and out of love with them at the drop of a hat.

‘She is gorgeous,’ he told Katy Price. ‘I have never seen a more gorgeous animal.’

 KP blinked sleepily at him and twitched her whiskers, the way cats do. ‘Yoooo,’ she miaowed, ‘Yooo don’t know anything about gorgeousness. Yooo are only a bear. A bear of very little brain.’ She stood up, arched her back, and stared down at him. ‘That’s a quotation,’ she said.

‘A what?’ said Max 

‘Ecssssactly,’ she hissed. ‘A bear of very little brain is what you are.’ And she stalked off with her tail in the air, leaving Max very confused. 

Later that day, Max saw Aliida reading a book with a picture of a yellow bear on the front. 

Was that the bear of very little brain? Was that a ‘quotation’? 

Aliida picked him up and tucked him into the crook of her arm while she read. She often did that and he loved it, even though it was sometimes uncomfortable if she squeezed too hard.

‘Look, Max,’ she said, pointing to a picture of the yellow bear wearing a red shirt.

‘That’s Pooh. He’s a very famous bear. He says such funny things. And he has such funny friends.’ She chuckled as she read on. When she had finished reading, she closed the book and looked at Max. He was pretty fed up of this Pooh character.

‘Now, Maxy,’ she said, patting his nose very lightly with her finger, ‘I don’t want you being jealous. Pooh is just a character in a book. He’s not a real bear like you. Besides, he isn’t at all as clever as you. He is a bear of very little brain. Look, it says so right here.’ And she pointed to a poem in the book.

So that’s what a ‘quotation’ was! Just some words out of a book. Nothing to worry about. And this Pooh bear was not as clever as Max, in fact he wasn’t even real! Max cheered up loads and enjoyed the rest of the day with Aliida.

 But next day, KP was at it again, needling him. ‘So, what’s so great about Suzie Squirrel? Are you going to ask her to marry you? I’ll bet she wouldn’t want a bear of very little brain.’

 Max was very dignified. ‘I am not a bear of very little brain. That is a bear called Pooh. And he’s not clever or real. He’s just a quot . . . quot . . . quotation!’  he finished triumphantly.

KP looked startled for a moment; then she remembered that cats are vastly superior to bears, no matter how little or big their brains are. She leapt gracefully up onto bed-above and stretched out full length there for the rest of the day so that Max had to sit on a chair in Teeveat until Aliida came home from school.

Sitting there, he thought a lot about what KP had said. Should he ask Suzie to marry him? Was that what he was supposed to do? And what did ‘marry’ mean anyway? It was all very well Aliida telling him he was clever but there were still so many things he just didn’t know.

That night, as he and Aliida lay cuddled up together in bed, she told him something that made his sleepy eyes fly open. ‘I am going to a wedding, Max,’ she whispered. ‘Very soon. In fact, tomorrow. I am going to be the flower-girl.’ Max could tell by the way she wriggled that she was excited. ‘I have a beautiful white dress and cape and handbag. Auntie H is going to marry Uncle Stuart.’   

Holy Koala! There was that word again: MARRY!  Max had been about to fall asleep but now he was wide awake. He had met Auntie H when Aliida had taken him with her to visit H (which turned out to mean ‘Heather’). She was a very beautiful lady.

 ‘So, tomorrow, I’m afraid I have to leave you behind. I will have a bouquet of flowers to carry as well as my special white handbag. I wouldn’t be able to carry you too.’ She kissed Max’s head and rubbed her nose against his nose. ‘But I will bring lots of photographs home for you to see.’

This was good news. He would be able to see just what this ‘marry’ business was. Then he could make up his mind about Suzie Squirrel. Max heaved a big sigh of relief and let himself slide into sleep. He dreamed of dancing with Suzie: she was wearing a beautiful white dress.