I shouldn’t have watched the procession of feathers and Prada as they walked into the house next door.
I should have closed the bedroom window and started on my homework. My huge, boring, uninteresting, English assignment. Instead of resting my head on the windowsill and watching as twin sisters dash from the moving van to their new home.
They carried in everything I wish I had. Personal TV’s in pink or purple, matching blanket sets, beanbag chairs and moon chairs!
And then computers.
I counted ten.
Each member of that family had a desktop and a laptop.
I made up all sorts of silly excuses for such extravagance, but watched, spell-bound as the sisters decided they’d had enough of work and sat down on their moon chairs on the lawn, laptops in hand.
Oh how I envy them.
Within minutes their heads are bowed, eyes glued to the screen, lost in their own digital worlds.
They are oblivious to the workmen stacking boxes around them and the fancy lady shrieking for them to help.
She must be the mother. Everything she’s wearing sparkles. I wince as sunlight bounces off one of many shiny things around her neck, wrists and ears. She rushes to the sidewalk as a red Ferrari pulls up to the curb.
Her high-pitched voice makes my pooch, Max, whine and burrow under my pillow. She gushes over something I cannot see and greets the driver with promises of Chinese takeout.
For a moment, I imagine they are movie stars and then I wonder where the paparazzi is. There are no cameras anywhere in sight.
A skinny teen in punk leather joins the group, sliding out from the back of the car. He teases the twins, reluctantly helping the workmen lift a heavy couch. The mother scolds him and the father seems busy on his cellphone.
“Whatcha watchin’ Maddie?” Little sister Sue wriggles into place beside me. Her eyes grow wide at the soap opera unfolding outside.
“Sue!” Vanessa’s whine fades as she promptly inserts herself between the two of us. “Who are they?” She breathes with the reverence reserved for marshmallow puffs, our family’s signature desert.
“Aliens from another planet!” Alex exclaims from the doorway. His hair skims the doorjamb as he ducks inside. “Man, I’m home from college for three days and nothing can stay the same.” He flops down on the floor. “That’s a lot of stuff.” He whistles as the home sound system is carried in. “Sure are lucky.”
I stare at him.
My mind is twisting and turning in a feeble attempt to figure out why.
Does having stuff make you lucky?
I wish I had a pink moon chair, and a new computer. Laptop or desktop. I’m not picky. Wireless internet would be great too.
Alex suddenly leans forward and shuts the window. He wrinkles his nose. “Don’t have to listen to all of that yelling.” He explains, with a glance at Sue.
I watch her sucking her thumb.
Why can’t I be lucky? I’m a straight-A student, I passed my driver’s test, I have my own room and cellphone. I have two parents who have been happily married for almost thirty years, an older brother who doesn’t torture me to tears, younger sisters who think I’m the coolest and a pet dog named Max. I also got the job I prayed for at the Youth Retreat.
I rolled over and slid off the bed. “We’re plenty lucky, Al.” I shove my feet into fluffy pink slippers. “Anyone wanna play dominoes?”
“Are we really lucky?” Sue slides off the bed, taking my hand.
“We’re blessed.” I grab the tin of dominoes off my desk. “We’ve got each other and marshmallow puffs. I think that’s pretty cool.”
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