June 2, 2010
Purpose. Hope. Dreams. They all have one thing in common in my life, they drove me to continue the path into what I want to do. They led me to stay strong through this journey. They led me to happiness. My happiness is writing, journalism to be exact. The journey of journalism is a tough one, especially with... distractions. Let me take you back to one year ago when my world was falling apart, then I met someone that was able to pick up the pieces and solve my puzzle.

Home. Family. Flames. Ashes. That's all I saw on the windy Monday afternoon when I was driving home from my school newspaper meeting, which runs from four o' clock pm to five o' clock pm everyday. I was shocked to see the flames and the innocent hearts crying. There were about 12 firemen trying to put out the fire of my family's large and lovely suburban Chicago home. When I saw the horrific sight of my home being up in flames, I immediately got out of my car and started to run toward my home in tears.

“LANEY!!!” screamed my 17 year old sister, Allie, running towards me in distress.

“Allie... What... HAPPENED??” I asked in utter shock.

“It's all my fault... I'm so stupid...” said Allie in her soft guilty voice I've heard many times.

“What did you do that caused us to lose our home... To lose everything?!” I asked furiously.

“I was on the phone, baking a cake for Dad's 50th Birthday tomorrow then I dropped the huge
bottle of vegetable oil accidentally onto the ground, while I was trying to pick it up I also...
Dropped my cigarette onto the ground into the oil...”

“This is what you get for smoking... I thought you quit! Well, now I definitely agree that you're

incredibly stupid.”

“Hey! You can't say anything about me smoking, you used to smoke also... Remember? Just
because you had the will to quit doesn't mean you're better than me. I tried to stop, I was okay
for about a month and I just needed another hit... Wow sissy, thanks for making me feel better...
I already feel like crap.”

“Actually, it does make me better than you considering I actually tried and I'm the younger one,
16 remember? You always used to call me naive, now you're the naive one Allie... When the hell
are you gonna suck it up and grow up?!? You just destroyed our beautiful home!!! Why should I
try to make you feel better? Everything in that house was our life and our memories... HOW
COULD YOU DO THIS? You're lucky I have all my journalism stuff in my school bag, all my
articles, my applications, my work, and my precious Cannon Rebel T1i or else you would be in
even deeper s**t Allie Meredith Simons, I mean it.”

“Yeah yeah yeah... Whatever you say comes in one ear and out the other. And I know...
everything, gone, just like that,” Allie snapped her fingers. “Well geez Lane... I didn't want
our home to catch on fire on purpose now did I?!? That's all you think about, don't you? Stupid
journalism... Your stupid contest, stupid newspaper, and stupid D-SLR camera. Did you ever
stop to think if mom and dad were okay?”

“Oh my gosh... Mom and dad... DAD!!!!”

I was facing our house, my eyes widened when I noticed the ambulance, the body in the stretcher, and the woman, my mom Sarah Simons, following the stretcher, sobbing. I yanked Allie disregarding anything she had said to me previously and started to sprint to my mom and the stretcher. When my mom saw Allie and I, she hugged us tightly, crying, “They couldn't do anything... He was trying to find you, Allie, but he didn't know you already escaped so then he wasn't able to escape. It was too late. The gases were too strong and his body was too weak...”

My face and body directly dropped to the ground, aching. My tears created a tiny puddle right away onto the ground. After a couple of minutes I got up, still crying. “I'm sorry... I have to go. I can't deal with this right now... It's just too much.” I said to my mom and sister. My mom kissed me on my forehead and nodded allowing me to have time to myself.

I instantly bolted to my car, got in and took a hug deep breath. I put the keys into the ignition and drove to my favorite place, the wonderful and peaceful Buckingham Fountain.

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