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She rubbed her gray eyes in the dark of her bedroom at the beach house her family had rented. She pulled the covers off and slipped on her jacket. As soon as she stepped out into the cold morning air of fall, her toes were covered in the cool silky sand. Then she took off, the frosty wind biting at her cheeks, her long braid thumping against her back. She ran until she was at the edge of the ocean. She thought about all the people thousands of miles across the sea, having lunch, going to school, living life. She inched her ankles into the freezing water, then all of a sudden, leaped into the Atlantic Ocean. She welcomed the cold rush as the water went over her head, reminding her that she was still alive, that she’s surviving. That she was still Celina Ari Tyler, the girl who liked glitter, the girl who did good in school, the girl who loved pineapple, bubble wrap and The Wizard of Oz.
She surfaced and gasped for breath. Once reaching the shore, Celina inhaled and exhaled deeply, tired and weak. She could feel the tiny grains of sand, rough against her cheek as she lay in her wet clothes. She thought about everyone she loved, all the good times she had had. She thought about Edgar and hoped he was doing what she had told him to do. The memories swelled up inside of her until she felt dizzy.
- “All right, I'll go in there for Dorothy. Wicked Witch or no Wicked Witch, guards or no guards, I'll tear them apart. I may not come out alive, but I'm going in there. There's only one thing I want you fellows to do.
- What's that?
- Talk me out of it!”
She could feel herself losing consciousness but she reassured herself that no matter what, she was still Celina Ari Tyler, the girl whose absolute favorite color was glitter,
- “Weren't you frightened?
- Frightened? Child, you're talking to a man who's laughed in the face of death, sneered at doom, and chuckled at catastrophe... I was petrified.”
the girl who did excellent in school,
- “What about the heart that you promised Tin Man? Or the courage you promised Lion?
- And Scarecrow's brain?”
the girl who ate pineapple like her life depended on it,
- “A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.”
the girl who danced on bubble wrap,
- “I haven't got a brain... only straw.
- How can you talk if you haven't got a brain?
- I don't know... But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking... don't they?”
the girl who would watch The Wizard of Oz over and over again.
- “Oh, but anyway, Toto, we're home. Home! And this is my room, and you're all here. And I'm not gonna leave here ever, ever again, because I love you all!”
The girl who died of Leukemia when she was six.
- “There’s no place like home!”
Edgar Linton was the gray in a pack of 64 Crayola crayons, dull, dreary, and as predictable as waxed fruit. He got up everyday at 6:00 sharp, had his Green Mountain coffee in Double Black Diamond, and brushed his teeth with Colgate Complete with Whitening. As he was gargling his 64 degree purified water, he pondered what exciting activity he had planned for today. He worked on a Fibonacci schedule up to 13. The chart he made was pinned up to the bathroom mirror with military neatness.
Day 1……………………...…………………….Organize Sock Drawer
Day 1……………...…………………………….Organize Sock Drawer
Day 2………………………………...………….Read Encyclopedia Britannica
Day 3 …………………………………………...Dust All the Brown Things
Day 5……………………………………..........Dust All the Gray Things
Day 8....................................................................Numerically Organize the Refrigerator
by Fiber Content
Day 13 …………………………………………Reread Safety Instructions Packets for All
He dried off his hands and proceeded to his glass cabinet where all of his 34 Britannica Volumes were displayed. He was enormously proud of his collection, which included all 12 volumes of the Micropædia Ready Reference, all 17 volumes of the Macropædia Knowledge In Depth, plus, 2 indexes, the Propædia volume, and every Book of the Year ever created.
He pulled out Macropædia 15 Birds-Chemicals (his favorite), and got lost in the copyright page.
Her mother squeezed her hand. “Are you ready?” Her voice sounded sad, but hopeful. Celina looked up into her mother’s eyes. Today was the day they were going to get the results back from the doctor. Today was the day that was going to determine how she would spend the rest of her life. The doctor approached, his white lab coat swishing at his heels. He took his rimmed glasses off and crouched down beside Celina. Everything seemed to slow down as the doctor bowed his head. She knew what was coming, and blocked out all of the noises around her.
“Oh my god…” Her mother’s voice sounded so far away.
“I’m so sorry…”
“When do you think…”
“It’s hard to say…”
Then the doctor walked swiftly away, as if he thought that walking away from them would erase her from his memory. Celina heard her mother softly crying. “Let’s go home,” she suggested.
“No,” Celina jumped up out of her seat. “You promised that you would take me out to the shelter to play with the cats.”
“But it’s different now… you’re… different.”
“No I’m not! Can we pleeeeaaaase go? Pretty please? Pretty pretty please? Pretty please with cute little kitties on top?” Celina grabbed a lollipop from the jar on the counter and continued begging.
“Alright, if it makes you happy, but Celina, we really do have to discuss what we’re going to do now that…” her voice trailed off.
“I thought we already discussed this, we’re going to the shelter right?” Her mother shook her head but led the little girl out of the doctor’s office and into the parking lot. She doesn’t understand, she thought dreadfully, how am I supposed to tell her that she has less than three weeks left? I wonder how she’ll take it.
But Celina was in fact aware of her situation and she wasn’t going to spend the last few weeks of her life sulking in her bedroom, instead, she was going to have the best three weeks of her life!
As Edgar closed his Encyclopedia with a satisfying thump, he looked to his “P.M” chart for his next activity.
Day 1……………………...…………………….Study The Doppler Affect
Day 1……………...…………………………….Study The Doppler Affect
Day 2………………………………...………….Criticize The Safety of the Local
Day 3 ………………………………………….Do Laundry
Day 5……………………………………..........Tend to the Garden
Day 8..................................................................Ponder String Theory
Day 13 …………………………………………Figure out the Next Few Numbers in Pi
Edgar scanned his chart and went to his closet to retrieve his black L.L Bean jacket which was folded until it was exactly 8.5 by 11 inches long. He grabbed his black Mead spiral notebook, a fountain pen, and his aerosol spray can of cleaning sanitizer. He sanitized the doorknob of his reflective glass doors before he proceeded to open it and walk out into the bright Tuesday afternoon.
He sniffed. What was that smell? He turned to see a very goth teenager, the obvious source of that horrific smell. She scrutinized Edgar from head to toe, smacking her bright pink bubble gum.
“What you starin’ at punk?” she retorted, her blue highlights swished against her face when she talked and her black eyeliner bounced up and down on her cheek. Edgar was startled. He quickly whipped out his sanitizing spray and promptly drenched her in its chemicals. Then he rapidly strode away.
The local playground was empty except for a few mothers showing their babies the sand box. This was no surprise to Edgar because it was a Tuesday and most children where still at school. He knocked his fist against a plastic slide and frowned with disapproval, jotting something down in his already overflowing notebook.
“Hiya!” Edgar felt a slight tap on his arm. He looked around surprised and his eyes came to rest on a little girl, maybe five or six years old. She had on a colorful, striped skirt and an orange sweater. Her long hair came down in two braids beside her ears. “Hiya!” She repeated.
“Oh, hello.” Edgar smiled nervously. He wasn’t very good with kids, or anyone for that matter. There was an awkward silence between them and Edgar wondered what he should do. What if I just slowly turned around… Edgar did just that and pretended to continue to inspect the green slide.
“Uh… Mister?” The little girl said again. Edgar sighed but then thought something. This could be an excellent opportunity to study and observe the new generation in its natural habitat.
“Yes?” He responded.
“I’m Celina, what’s you’re name?”
“Hello Celina. My name is Ronald” Edgar always used a fake name in case the person was an identity thief.
“Do you wanna play?”
“By ‘play’, do you mean figuring out the length of the see-saw and the fulcrum point needed to lift a small child?”
“Um... ok! You can tell me all about that while we walk to the pond. Edgar shrugged and followed after Celina’s delicate steps.
“So the whole reason why a see-saw works is not just because...” Edgar was interrupted.
“Look! A butterfly!” Edgar whipped his head around. He loved butterflies. Every time he saw one, he would catch it and take it home to study.
“Where?!” Then he spotted it. It was a Viceroy. “You know,” Edgar began, “Viceroys are a Batesian mimic for the poisonous monarch. It looks almost exactly the same except for a distinguishable...”
“Shhhh!” Celina scolded. She crept closer to the butterfly, enchanted by it beauty. Edgar also tiptoed until he was right in front of it. His hands cornered the butterfly that was sitting innocently on a flower. He tripped, and then, in a whirl the butterfly flew off.
Edgar was furious at himself. He just wasted a perfectly good chance of scientific research all because of his clumsiness.
Celina could tell that her friend Ronald was mad at himself for not catching the butterfly. She patted his arm “There are other butterflies. you can try again When we find another.”
“But what if we can’t find another Viceroy?” Edgar persisted, “They’re extremely rare.”
Celina stood up. “Well you’ve got time.” Edgar thought he saw Celina’s face fall a bit but it brightening up immediately making him doubt if it had occurred in the first place. “You can get a second chance.
“Not with that particular butterfly,” Edgar pouted, “I don’t get a second chance with him.”
“Well, sometimes you just have to move on”
Edgar wiped his nose, nodded, and took the lead to the pond.
As soon as it came into view, Celina kicked off her shoes and went running into the water.
She squealed, “Come on in, the water feels great!”
“Umm... No thanks, not really into uh... ‘playing’ outdoors.” Edgar crinkled his nose.
“It’s really fun!” Celina playfully splashed Edgar. He cringed at the cold droplets but she was right. It DID feel great. It was unusually hot for fall and Edgar was sweating... and then he thought about the thousands of germs that lived within the waters.
“I— I don't know. Minuscule organisms are numerous in ponds by the way.”
“Just think about it. Tiny little things swimming around you right at this very moment!”
“It's fine! Come on in.”
“Well...” Edgar was unsure. He had watched documentaries about germs and they didn’t seem all too great.
“You'll regret it later and you’ll be mad at yourself for chickening out. Come in. Just this one time. If you don’t you’ll never know how amazing the water feels.” Celina swam up closer to Edgar who was now squatting beside the edge of the pond. He sighed and carefully pulled of his shoes and socks to lay them neatly down beside Celina’s right shoe which had landed on its side.
He took a few steps back and rocked on his feet. “Ok... I-- I’m going now... into the filthy pond water...” Celina vigorously nodded her head.
“Come on! You can do it!” She panted. She was shivering now and her arms were wrapped tightly around herself.
“Just push me or something. I’m too scared but I know it’ll be fun,” pleaded Edgar.
Celina giggled. “No, you have to do this by yourself,” she said promptly. She enjoyed playing ‘mother’. She watched as Edgar slowly dipped his big toe in, then his foot, then his whole left leg, and the rest of his body followed. Soon Edgar had lowered himself into the water and was splashing happily along with Celina.
He actually did it. Celina didn’t think he would. She was so proud of him but didn’t know why he was scared in the first place. He needs to get over his fear of ponds because ponds are one of the bestest things in life, next to ice cream and movies of course.
After an hour of swimming around, they finally crawled up, out of the pond to settle down on Edgar’s L.L Bean jacket which, she could tell, caused a lot of conflict within himself.
“So I hear the doorbell ring and I go to disinfect it when I realized I had grabbed the wrong disinfectant spray! And that’s not even the funniest part. So I open the door and my neighbor’s standing there and... drum roll please... he invites me to go to the Blue Moon Cafe with him! You can never trust restaurants today. You don’t know what they do to their food before they give it to you. So I explain this to him and it feels like trying to explain the concept of string theory to a college professor!” Edgar was cracking up so Celina did too although she didn’t really understand the funny part.
“And then, he said, ‘Edgar, you are the...”
“Wait, Edgar?” Celina silenced him with a wave of her hand.
“Darn,” Edgar muttered under his breath. He looked away from Celina’s amused gaze. Then he quickly stood up and backed away from her. “Please don’t steal my identity! I’ll do anything!” he begged.
Celina giggled. “I’m not gonna steal your iten...itenti...itenti-tentitee,” Celina stumbled.
Edgar sighed and returned to his seat next to the young girl. “I know. I’m just--” Edgar was cut off again by the sound of autumn-dried, crinkly leaves being crunched under someones running feet. Suddenly, a tall, well dressed man cam bursting through the foliage. Edgar noticed with intrigue that he had a deep red Brooks Brothers button-up shirt on. He decided that he liked this man.
“Daddy!” Celina squealed.
“How’s my little Seal goin’?” He responded in a big thundering voice, setting down his briefcase and sweeping the petite child into his arms.
“Arp! Arp!” Celina barked happily, badly imitating a seal. Father and daughter collapsed in heap of giggles.
Once they had recovered from the laughing fit, Celina’s father -Richard, as he had introduced himself- became quite serious. “You know Seal, I love you.”
“I know daddy, you tell that to me every single month!” She slurred the last couple of words so it sounded more like this: “ehhh--vrysing--glemonth!”
“But I just wanted to make sure you knew how much I love you.” Richard enveloped Celina in another hug.
“What’s with the mushiness all of a sudden?” Celina questioned, leaning away from the slobbery kiss her father aimed at her forehead.
“Kissing can cause...” Edgar decided not to ruin their moment and trailed off into oblivion.
Celina’s father grasped the girl’s hands and knelt down to her eye level. “Celina... I don’t know how to tell you this but soon you’re going to go... you’re going to...”
“I know daddy, I know. But pinky-promise me that when it’s all over, you’ll take the offer of becoming the CEO.”
By now Edgar was terribly confused and felt very awkward intruding in on an obviously very meaningful conversation. Celina and her father grasped pinkies and then she went off to collect pretty stones by the banks of the pond. Edgar approached Richard.
“I’m sorry if Celina was bothering you in anyway. Some people tend to find her, well, a bit annoying. Her mother and I are divorced and I only see her one weekend a month so, naturally, I had to come say my goodbyes.” Celina’s father wiped his eyes with his his sleeve.
“Goodbyes? Where’s she going?”
“Oh. Perhaps Celina didn’t tell you. She looked so comfortable that I guess I just assumed that she told you. Celina... well, her mother called me this afternoon explaining how they went to her doctor and... she’s not gonna make it... She’s not. Gonna. Make it.” Edgar was stunned. “It’s all my fault! I ruined her life!”
Edgar gauchely patted the now sobbing 6 foot 6 inch man on the back. “It’s not your fault. How could it be?”
“Leukemia’s a genetic disease. My grandfather had it and now Celina does too. I killed her! I came to take her to the beach with her mother. She loves it there and I think she’d enjoy spending her last few days on the shore.”
“We’re going to the beach?!” a voice came out of nowhere. “Wahooo! Right now? I have to get my bathing suit, and-- and my goggles, and my bucket and my shovel... I can’t wait! Bye Edgar! I’ll see you--” Her face fell, “hopefully not for a while now. Goodbye Edgar and just in case I don’t see you again, have an fantastic life!”
Edgar was the glitter in a pack of crayons, exciting, spontaneous, and full of life. He got up everyday whenever he first heard the birds start chirping. As he was stretching, he suddenly remembered that he and his neighbor were going out for breakfast today at the Blue Moon Cafe. He got dressed and brushed his teeth with bubble gum toothpaste, his new favorite. Then he slid down the banister and opened the door to walk out into the beautiful fall day.