Goodbye to Rafi
Grace. Age 12. Edson, Alberta

I stared down at the huge cardboard box that my mom handed me, the box that had the words GARAGE SALE written on it in Mom's scrawl-like handwriting. I almost glared at it with anger, my eyebrows knitting into a frown.

Every July, my mom would throw a huge garage sale, where the whole family would empty out our horror of an attic (which is full of so much clutter it's ankle deep) along with closets and toy chests. We usually save up the money we get from our annual yard sale for a vacation in August, or we split the money equally amongst ourselves.

But, I have to admit, I'm kind of a pack rat. I absolutely can't stand giving things away. It's like everything I own is attached to me like a limb, and I can't let it go. Especially my stuffed animals. People usually laugh or make fun of me when I mention stuffed animals. Everyone thinks that when you turn twelve, you immediately forget about all your toys and move on to phones and technology and such. I have given away some of my toys, though, but the one toy I have never given away is Rafi.

Rafi is a stuffed monkey my grandma gave to me when I was about three years old. Rafi was my first stuffed animal, because back when I was a toddler I stuck to chewing toys. I was so attached to Rafi I was convinced we were related. Rafi now lives in the dusty, spider-web infested, dark corner of my closet. Sure, I don't use him all that often anymore, but I still care for him.

"Vera," Mom said, her voice bringing me out of my thoughts. "You have to empty out your closet and put some things into the box. Your closet is a big mess."

I opened my mouth to argue, and say that I did clean my closet (a few months or so ago), but quickly closed it, realised that arguing is pointless. I did have some junk in there, and besides, I did need some money because I had been saving up for this really pretty leather jacket I saw at the mall for over a month now.

So, I trudged up the stairs to my room, and searched through my messy closet, my hand dodging spiders, brushing against cobwebs, and trying to avoid getting swallowed alive by my disastrous closet. Gosh, it was almost as bad as our attic. I quickly put some of the stuff I know I will never need into the box as I tried to ignore the pack-rat monster inside of me. I put in a bag of abandoned Legos, notebooks that were never used, and so many stuffed animals that I could barely even see what I put in the box.

After I got my garage sale box all ready, I went downstairs and into our garage, where our garage sale was being held. Our garage was full of things: old clothes, coffee mugs, old dining table chairs, and much, much more, all ready for our garage sale. I unloaded my box, and watched our garage fill with people. I was awed at how much our money jar was being filled up. There had to be at least a hundred dollars in there.

My old toys were selling, too, surprisingly. The yard sale was going pretty well, until I saw a little boy holding Rafi, his mother about to pay my mom for him. My jaw dropped in horror. How did Rafi end up here? Maybe I wasn't paying attention when I put all those stuffed animals in the box. I was about to run over to that little boy, and yank Rafi away, and stuff him back into the closet, when I saw how happy that boy was. I suddenly realised that I wasn't taking good care of Rafi, anyways. He deserved to be cared for.

After the garage sale was over, my family had raised one hundred and twenty dollars, setting a record for our family garage sales. We decided to split the money, and I ended up buying that leather jacket I wanted.

The yard sale that we had a couple of weeks ago turned out to be one of the best ones we ever had.

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