What Matters Most

January 31, 2018

Cecilia fumbled through her mom’s drawer looking for a pair of scissors.

“Ugh. Where the heck are you?” she groaned.

She couldn’t wait any longer and was getting quite impatient. Cecilia had already waited two weeks for her phone to be mailed in and didn’t want to waste any more time lookings for a pair of stupid scissors!

“You know Mr. Mail Man, it would’ve been nice of you to just drop off a pair of scissors with the package so I could open it!” Cecilia grumbled to herself.

The bedroom door cracked open and a small body peeked it’s head full of shaggy blonde hair around the door.
“Hey Ceci? Can you help me with my math problems? It’s takeaways and I don’t get it.” Once Cecilia’s little brother Benjamin heard he would be going into Kindergarten, he was overjoyed. He was doing all he could during the summer to prepare for everything he would be learning.

“I’m sorry, but not now Benny. I have my own problems to deal with at the moment. Later, okay?” Cecilia continued feeling her way through the drawers.

“Well okay. Just don’t forget.” Benny said, slowly closing the door shut.

She then felt a sharp poke on her palm as she shoved her hand to the back of the drawer.

“Aha! At last! Some scissors,” Cecilia exclaimed. Finally, the moment she had been waiting for. Cecilia snipped off the tape and ripped open the box to find a smaller box inside. She picked it up and gently lifted off the lid. There it was, right in front of her; her new iPhone 7! It was just as wonderful as she had hoped it would be. A sleek, shiny rose gold case, a clear uncracked screen, and it all came with a new charger and earphones! It was all so perfect. She couldn’t wait to show it off to all of her friends. No more having to be the loser of the group with a used, cracked iPhone 4. Those days were over. This was it. This was how she would survive the upcoming long days of high school.

Over the next few weeks Cecilia spent her summer days on her new phone. Her mother continuously nagged her to do something more productive like playing outside, getting together with friends, or doing something fun with the family. It was time she quit wasting all her time on a stupid electronic. To her however, it wasn’t wasted time at all! Being able to take pictures of anything, scroll through Instagram, and text her friends whenever was just as good as doing any of the things her mother suggested.

Cecilia woke up one morning to sunlight pouring in through her window. She lay comfortably in bed as she watched the tiny dust particles, illuminated by the sun, dance around. She rolled over to grab her phone from ther desk, but found it to be missing.

“What? Shoot. Where’d I put you?” . This was alarmin. She always set her phone right next to her bed before going to sleep. Where could it have gone? She threw off the covers and stumbled her way up onto her feet. “Oh whoops. There you are.” It appeared that she had fallen asleep the night before still holding onto her phone. There it lay on her wrinkled sheets almost completely covered by her pillow. She stared at the small bit of the phone peeking out, thinking of how awful it would’ve been if she hadn’t been able to find it.

It then occurred to ther that today marked exactly one week away from her fifteenth birthday. There was so much planning and preparation to be done for her party! Luckily, she had already finished more of her playlist of favorite songs and bought all the nail polish for the party. But, she still hadn’t finished making her birthday wishlist. She had already been keeping track of what she wanted on a list for the past few weeks. After some thinking, she decided to add on to the list: a pair of white vans, an itunes gift card, and some scrunchies for her hair. She opened the drawer of her desk, pulled out her wishlist, and scribbled down the rest of her wishes.
“Cecilia?” a soft voice said through her shut door.

“What is it Benny?” she said with annoyance in her tone. She thought of how nice it would be to just be left by herself and not to have a little brother disturbing her every 5 minutes.

“I lost MIlo the dino,” he said, slowly sticking his tiny toes under the door.

“Not my problem Ben,” Cecilia blurted.

He began individually wiggling each toe that stuck through the crack of the door. “I know. But can you still help e look for him? I don’t want him to be lost for too long. He might be scared,” Ben said with concern in his small voice.

It honestly shocked Cecilia that at five years old he still didn’t know that object have no feelings. They’re not people. “I can’t. I’m busy right now. Go ask mom,” she retorted. She watched as his little toes disappeared from underneath the door.

“I would, but she went to the back and told me that you would take care of me while she’s gone.”

At times like this, Cecilia really missed being an only child. “Fine. Whatever. But not now. You’ll have to wait,” she said folding her wishlist back up and shoving it into her desk.

“Okay, I guess. Mommy also wanted me to five this to you. She said it was an early birthday present for you.” Benny opened the door holding a perfectly shaped box. Cecilia felt a rush of excitement, hoping the box held what she wanted it to. Could it be? Was this the Polaroid camera she had been hoping for? Preferably a light blue one of course.

“Let me see!” she said, running towards the door, tripping over an abundance of shoes scattered amongst the floor. Ben stared down at her on the ground with his big, brown eyes. He carefully walked around her shoes and clutter surrounding her, handed her over the box, the raced out of her room and down the stairs.

Cecilia lay sprawled out on the floor with all of the clutter and mess of her room. Gleefully, she smiled at the box. She held it up towards the ceiling as if it were a trophy she had won.

“Yes, yes, yes! Ahhh! You’re finally here! Muah!” Cecilia cried out with joy, repeatedly kissing the box. She sat up and slid off the lid. “Are you serious?! It’s even in light blue!” SHe couldn’t imagine this day getting any better. “Oh my gosh! I have to tell Clarissa and Kylie! They will flip out!” she exclaimed.

Cecilia pulled out her phone from the pocket of her oversized hoodie and saw she had a new message from one of her best friends.

She unlocked the phone to see that Clarissa had sent a picture to both her and Kylie with the caption, “Omg! Look what my mom just got me!” Cecilia clicked on the picture to see that Clarissa had also just gotten a camera.

What a coincidence. Clarissa’s however, was waterproof. “No fair!” Cecilia whined. “It’s not even close to her birthday.” Just when she had gotten excited about her new camera, Clarissa had to come and show off a better one she had gotten. Was she ever going to get it right? Could she just for a second be slightly better than Clarissa?

Her thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the smell of smoke. Alarmed, Cecilia stepped out of the room trying to locate the scent. The smell rapidly became stronger, and the smoke more visible. She followed the trail through her hallway and saw the bright sparks and flames of a fire coming out of the bathroom.
“Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Shoot!” Cecilia had heard of fires being caused because of bathroom fans, but she had never imagined that this kind of situation would occur in her life. Her life had always been so normal and uneventful. In fact, receiving her new camera and phone was probably the most eventful things that’s happened to her in a long time.

“Oh no! The camera! My phone! I need to get out of here!” she exclaimed. She rushed back to her room, grabbing her phone and camera, feeling the temperature rise higher and higher by the second. After stuffing them both into the pocket of her hoodie, she ran out of her room and down the stairs.

She reached the bottom of the staircase realizing she had forgotten her phone charger. Her phone was the one things she knew she wouldn’t be able to live without, but it would be useless if she didn’t have anything to charge it with. She had to think fast whether or not she wanted to risk being burned just so she could get her charger. Thinking time was up. Ceciliaa ran back up the stairs, squinting through the heavy grey smoke. Her room was filled with the smoke of the fire. Quickly, she grabbed her charger from the wall and booked it downstairs, coughing all the way down. By now, the smoke had made its way to the bottom floor and the fire wasn’t too far behind. Now she really had to get out of there. Cecilia swung open the front door and bolted out of the house. ONce reaching a safe distance from her home, she pulled out her phone and the called the fire department. They informed her that a call had already been made for her home and to just stay calm and out of the way while she waited. Once they hung up, she dialed her mom’s number, but got no answer. She left a message for her and explained the dressing situation. After finishing the call she shut off her phone and slid it back into the pocket of her hoodie.

She stared at the burning structure she used to call home. How was any of this happening to her? Why not someone else? She was absolutely heartbroken. This was her home. This is where she had grown up. She still remembered being four years old and how upset she had gotten when her told said they would be moving here. Then, the thought of living here had seemed like the end of the world. Now, she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. This was where she had made memories. Not only that, but everything she had ever owned was inside that house. By now it was probably all in flames. All of her family’s valuable were gradually turning into ash. Cecilia felt her tears trickle down her face as she stared at the house being overtaken by fire.

A loud siren began ringing through her ears. She watched motionlessly as a fire truck pulled up into her street. The fire truck parked on the curb and four firefighter jumped out and raced towards the commotion. An hour passes, but Cecilia didn’t move. She was still having a hard time taking it all in. She watched as the men rummaged through the burnt wood and piles of debris when she realized her mother still wasn’t here. She thought she would be here by now. Maybe she just hadn’t gotten her message yet.

“Hey miss?” Cecilia heard the firefighter call out to her. “I..um...you-you need to take a look at this.”

Cecilia reluctantly walked towards the man. “Yes?” she said almost in a whisper. She looked around at all the broken piece of her home and life. Could this day get any worse? The firefighter looked at her and pointed down towards a ditch where another firefighter sat kneeling on the ground. In his arms he held the small, lifeless body of a precious little boy Cecilia called brother. “Benny,” she whispered.

Her heart fell out of her chest and onto the ground. She stared at his ashy black body and what remained of his shaggy blonde hair. “No, I couldn’t have. What have I done?!”she creamed. She had been so caught up in getting her belongings that she had forgotten the most important thing. Her little brother. Through her glossy eyes she could see the small toy dinosaur he still held in his hand. The one that she was supposed to help him hind. Her head started pulsing. She began to feel nauseous. What was wrong with her? Was her stupid charger really that important?! It was honestly a shock that at fourteen years old, she still didn’t know that objects were replaceable. After all, they weren’t people.

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