Rebecca C. Crum grew up in Houston, Texas. She has been writing since she could remember, but didn’t take it too seriously until her freshman year in high school when she joined her school’s newspaper/magazine. She knew she wanted to become a writer for her career when she picked up everything and moved to Florida to attend Full Sail University to get a Creative Writing degree.
They Aren’t Just Rooms
It’s been months since Fiona’s landlord told her and her family they had to get out and the day was finally here. The weather matched everyone’s mood: it was dark, rainy, and cold. Owen and August were literally born in the living room, Malory had a lot of her firsts here, whether they were big or small. She had her first “I love you” to her girlfriend, the time she tried watermelon with salt, a now favourite snack of hers. Owen, Malory, and August were all waiting in the truck with Charlotte laying in Owen’s lap.
Walking through the house, Fiona remembered what it was like when she moved in. The first words she said in the house was, “this is home.” She bounced around all through her life, especially when her parents split from the family after August was born. She became a mom at 17 because of them. She never really took in the details of the house, but now that the details were the only thing left in the house, she couldn’t help it. Her fingertips traced the swirls on each bar that held the railing of the staircase up. She could have sworn at least a handful of the bars and part of the wall had marks and scratches from when Owen and August would wrestle down the stairs like the idiots they were, idiots that she loved.
A light laugh came from her lips thinking about all the times she would have to yell at them for wrestling on the stairs. Once she reached the top of the staircase and saw all five doors upstairs were open, a sight Fiona was not used to seeing, she couldn’t help but think about how just a few days ago was the last time she had to yell at them to get up for school.
Malory’s room was the first room Fiona stopped at. Fiona and Malory were the closest in age, despite Fiona having about eight more years on her, so they always got along. They shared a room and could tell each other everything. They were the closest emotionally between everyone in the family.
She looked into the last room on the left and let a few tears slip.
“Fiona, get out, I’m with Scott,” Charlotte would yell on almost a daily basis.
Charlotte was 15 and trying to grow up way too quickly.
“I need help.”
“Yeah? What with,” Fiona asked, despite knowing exactly what she needed help with, seeing the pile of clothes thrown across the floor, bed, and closet door.
“You’re old, you’ve been on plenty of dates, what do I wear?”
“Well, it’s your first date and you’re getting pizza and going to see a movie, so how about we put all of your sparkly and mushroom lookin’ dresses away, yeah?”
“Now, what pizza place are ya’ll going to?”
“Mario and Luigi’s Flying Pizza on fifth.”
“Perfect, that’s super casual. Here. Try these,” Fiona said, pulling a pair of dark blue, ripped blue jeans off the floor.
“And uh…these,” she said, holding up a black Avenged Sevenfold t-shirt and a red flannel.
“Roll the t-shirt sleeves up and put the flannel around your waist. Oh, and don’t forget your Chucks.”
Charlotte smiled as she looked in the mirror, admiring her sister’s fashion taste.
“Of course, now, have fun, I love you.”
“Oh, and just because he is 16 and has a license and his parents’ permission to use their car doesn’t mean to go be reckless, be careful, please,” Fiona called out as Charlotte walked out the door.
Fiona was sobbing now as she leaned against the doorway. She didn’t hear the rest of her siblings come up behind her.
“Fi, you okay?” asked Owen, putting one hand on her back while the other held a small box.
Fiona couldn’t even answer as she just sobbed harder.
“Scott,” Charlotte screeched as she looked out her window, seeing an eighteen-wheeler speed towards the small Fiat.
Scott barely had time to look through her window before they were hit.
Owen, August, and Malory sat by Fiona on the floor as they all sobbed, looking into Charlotte’s room and holding the box containing her ashes.