Monkey thought he had hit the big time when he found himself peering out from the shelf of a Parisian toy shop, nestled in the company of his friends, Zebra, Giraffe, and the lions with that hair they’re always so proud of.
Yes he knew he wasn’t as popular as lions, a fact that was always driven home to the inhabitants of the shelf when new lions would come and go at an almost alarming rate. Had they not lived in such close proximity, he might have decided not to bother learning their names as they’re never around for long.
But Monkeys are popular too, and Monkey had seen the joy in the eyes of the kids as they lifted their arms up and welcomed their news friends into their lives. He’d seen the delight in the eyes of fellow monkeys looking back at him over the shoulder of small children as they walked away.
It would be just a matter of time until Monkey was the newest member of a family, until he would feel all that love and those wonderful cuddles he’d heard so much about.
Sure enough, one fine day Monkey was himself waving goodbye to his friends on the toyshop shelf. He was going to see the world, enjoy getting to know a family, form a bond with this person who was holding him close like a newborn as she walked from the toy store.
It is perhaps with some surprise then, that years later Money found himself reduced to this. Homeless, sitting in a ‘Mad Vintage’ plastic bag on a back street in Paris under the words Luxembourg that were scraped on the shutters of a closed shop for reasons nobody could fathom.
How did it come to this? He was once loved, picked out from that crowded shelf because of his big smile and arms that once were able to fit easily around the neck of his and companion who he thought would always regard their bond as special.
He’d always been there. Through thick and thin he smiled when she smiled, he snuggled in on the nights she held him close as thunder rattled the windows of the Parisian apartment. He smiled in pictures with her, back before they were called Selfies, and he’s sat on her lap as the family drove to sunny places for vacations where everyone looked as happy as he did every day. He even soaked up her tears when that first boy broke her heart, how she cried. He comforted her with the smile and those arms that now could only rest on her shoulders.
She changed, but he knew she would. They’d told him to expect that. Little people don’t stay little for long. They become big, he knew that of course. He sat on her bud, propped up against her pillow, watching her as she grew up. As she sneered at home work assignments, laughed with her friends, and sang quiet songs to herself.
She paid Monkey less and less attention through the years, but its only now that he’s thinking about that, wondering if he could have done more. He first felt it when she seemed to fall in love with her own reflection. Not long after that Money was moved from his place atop of the pillow on her bed, so a small chair in the corner of her room. He watched, still smiling as he always did, as new things would come into her life and make her face light up like he used to. Then one day she held in her hand a thing that actually did make her face light up.
It was hard to not feel jealous watching her now from the corner. The thing in her hand was never left her, and he wondered if she had ever paid that much attention to him. It would buzz and hum, squeak and scream for attention near constantly, and she never once refused its cries. She fawned over it, never growing tired of stroking it lovingly, and sometimes just gazing at it and laughing out loud. They had the kind of bond Monkey had though was supposed to be his. That’s what they had told him. hat’s what he and his friends talked about as they huddled together on the shelf of the toy store.
Still, Monkey never thought it would come to this. The street, the plastic bag, Luxomburg.
From the top of her wardrobe, a new place he had been told to sit, a place that looked down on the comfortable pillows he once sat upon each day, from this new place he watched her now. She took down her posters, packed away clothes, and arranged books into piles. Tidying up, he thought, which was a good idea, after all, her room needed a good tidy up. Not long ago Monkey spent a week under some clothes on the old corner chair, and just before being moved to this new position he even lay on the floor for three whole days, smiling at the carpet with his nose pressed against the fibres.
She looked up, Monkey’s heart raced. He thought perhaps she had forgotten him, he even thought he had been placed on top of the wardrobe in order to be forgotten, but now she was looking right at him. Her arms stretched before out in that way he knew so very very well. Yes, not forgotten at all because now she reached up and picked up Monkey, retrieving him from that precarious position where it was perhaps a little dustier than she realised.
She held him at arms length for a while, her face a showing a glimmer of the fondness as her head tilted to one side and she considered something. And with that she picked up a bad from her new favourite store, Mad Vintage, the place she had got that hat, and those big glasses from which she removed the lenses.
Not long later Money found himself by the front door with the boxes or books now shut and some other black bags tied and bulging. She appeared briefly, hugs were exchanged, tears also, then the boxes and bags from the other side of the hallway were all take outside before she returned one last time for more hugs, and a few more tears. Then the door was shut.
She’ll be back tomorrow, Monkey thought. But then tomorrow came and Monkey found himself in the car with the boxes and bags. It didn’t feel like the fun filled adventures he had once known as the man drove the car. In fact it wasn’t a long drive at all until Monkey found himself sitting outside a shop among the boxes and bags, and a few others that were already there. Then he watched the man go, and the car drive away, and disappear around a corner.
It was dark, and a man he didn’t know came and looked in the boxes and bags. He took some things, but he didn’t have a car, just a a bicycle and a backpack. He was about to ride away when he looked at Money and returned. He stood for quite some time, looking at Monkey, considering something. And then he picked him up.
The bike ride wasn’t as fan as those Monkey had enjoyed before, though that was a long time ago now. And the man of the bike seemed to have problems steering with one hand as he held some books and other items he had taken from in front of that shop.
Eventually he stopped, and dropped Monkey. No sorry, no oops, nothing. Not even a goodbye as she rode away. Monkey watched him too disappear around the corner.
He never expected this when he was sat on that shelf on that toy store watching the delighted faces of little people walk around and touch everything they could before the bigger person pulled them away. They never told him about this, about Luxembourg and Mad Vintage.
Back when he was sat on that shelf in the toy store he knew his smile would get someones attention, someone who would love and adore him. So her, at the crossroads of Luxembourg and Mad Vintage, Monkey will keep smiling. It worked back in the toy store, so it might just work again. Right?
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