Me & Lou

Lou is very imaginative- and also kind, caring and helpful. And when she gets packed off to the countryside during the war, she finds that those qualities are important. But can she keep up the soft approach, even when panic, trouble and worry hits?

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3. Fingers Crossed

The next morning was chaotic. My suitcase was packed: my stripy shirt and twirly ruffled pink skirt; my much read copy of David Copperfield; my tiny little soft toy, Tedward, who I'd had since I was born; my pink nightgown and a bag on bonbons for the journey. I was actually sick in the basin, and Mother had to hug me. Then she walked me to the station, we hugged again, said we'd miss each other, and I hopped aboard. I wandered to a window seat at the back of the train. Mother moved forward, biting her lip to stop crying. I tucked my suitcase up next to me, pulling out Tedward. There was a clug-clug noise, a shout of "Is everybody sitting?" And then a sudden jerk forward as we chugged away. Mother waved frantically, mouthing 'I love you' I mouthed it back, tears streaming down my cheeks. I nuzzled into my chair. 

A little girl came and sat next to me. She had white-blonde hair, messily tied into two plaits. Her beige coat was marked and bobbly, and her leather, buckled shoes were all scuffed. She pulled out a toy elephant from her suitcase. 

"Can my elephant see your bear?" she said. I gathered that she was around six. "My name is Emily. What's your name? You're big! Big girl!" 

"Yes, I am," I agreed, wiping my tears on the back of my hand. Though I didn't feel it when the train finally drew to a halt, and we all clambered out. I felt a finger clasp around mine, and when I turned, Emily was behind me. I felt so sorry for her; if I was scared, how would she feel? 

We walked behind a man in a big coat and a tartan cap, all the way to a huge, freezing hall. A lady was sitting at the front on a little table, writing out name tags to put around our necks. She quickly wrote one out for me- after I told her who I was- in her messy handwriting. Lucy Davids. I felt like a little lost dog, wearing a collar,  as I stood waiting for somebody to pick me. I smiled brightly, trying to look happy and carefree, not a miserable teenager. 

Emily was chosen very quickly by an elderly couple. Looking back, a lot of the younger children got homes before us. 'Us' meaning me and a handful of boys who were left in the hall until dark, unwanted. But then, a woman bustled in, like a glimmer of hope. She looked around mid-thirties, very tired and very busy, a pinny covering her dress.

"I need SOMEBODY!" she panicked. "Which of you teenage children will come? I've got three other children- Jem, Rosie and Victoria- and they're messing the place up! They've got pig droppings ALL over the home, and they wrecked my jam tart- well, that was actually probably just Victoria. But they need someone older. Anyone?" My hand shot up like a rocket. The lady breathed a sigh of relief- and so did I. "Oh, goodness, why thankyou, Lou. I'm Ida. You're coming with me." We were going to be very close, I could tell... fingers crossed. 

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