One morning early in September, Flapjax and Libby stood in line with many other human and stuffed animal children to wait for their first day of Kindergarten to begin.
Flapjax was not nervous at all, but Libby was…he could tell. She had not slept at all the night before and had crushed Flapjax several times while tossing and turning in bed. (He was lucky he was made of cotton padding and fur.) And now she was squishing him in her arms as they waited in line. Flapjax wanted to be free to explore and meet all of the other children, but he was fiercely loyal to Libby and would never leave her side.
Eventually, a lady with curly black hair and a big smile on her face came to the door.
“Hello, everyone! My name is Mrs. B, and this is my classroom. We’re going to have so much fun this year. Come on inside, and we’ll get to know each other,” Mrs. B held the door open and one-by-one the children went in – some running in excitement, others shuffling nervously, looking back for an escape.
Flapjax jumped out of Libby’s arms and was trying with all his might to pull her quickly into the classroom. He wanted to get the best seat, the one closest to the snacks he spied in a clear bin near a big desk in the back. But Libby was pulling against him, trying to go back Mom and Dad. She did not know this grown-up with the curly hair, and she looked kind of scary!
Just as Flapjax was about to give up and go back with Libby to their parents, Mrs. B approached. Libby looked up at her fearfully. Flapjax jumped back into Libby’s arms to protect her.
Mrs. B. knelt down beside them and smiled. “Hi there,” she said to them. “What’s your name?” she asked Flapjax.
“Th-this is Flapjax,” Libby said shyly, clutching Flapjax tightly to her chest.
“Hi Flapjax. You look like a very smart bear,” she said, smiling at him. Libby couldn’t help but smile back, knowing Flapjax would be quite proud of that compliment. “And what about you?” the woman now asked Libby.
“Well, Libby, I have the perfect seat for you, right near me. Would you like to come sit and get to know your new classmates?” Mrs. B. held out her hand, and Libby grabbed onto it, tucking Flapjax safely under her other arm.
But to Flapjax’s disappointment, Mrs. B. led them to the front of the room, on the opposite side as the snacks. Libby sat down next to Mrs. B. and the other students in a circle, still squeezing Flapjax as tightly as she could. He tried to wriggle out of her arms, but she only squeezed tighter.
They all went around the circle, each saying their name and telling everyone else what they had done that summer. When it was Libby’s turn, she told everyone about Flapjax getting lost in a bakery on vacation. Eventually, Libby’s grip on him relaxed, and Flapjax slid out of her arms. She didn’t even notice Flapjax had left, she was too busy with her new friends.
Flapjax made his way to the back of the classroom and scoped out the scene. He spied a row of backpacks hanging up along one of the walls. Out of one backpack poked something orange and furry.
Flapjax looked to see if anyone was watching, then when he was sure he was safe, he crept slowly to the bag, looking back over his shoulder for trouble every few steps. Finally he made it to the wall, but even on his tippy-toes, he couldn’t reach the backpacks. He looked around for something to use and saw a crate not too far away, filled with board games.
Flapjax dragged the crate over to the bag he had spotted, jumped up, and grabbed the zipper. It came open quickly, surprising Flapjax, who fell to a heap on the floor, along with the contents of the bag.
Flapjax grunted as he tried to push something heavy off of him.
“Hey, stop shoving me, ouch!” a voice cried out from on top of him.
Flapjax gasped. Whatever it was, it was alive…