First and Foremost | Teen Ink

First and Foremost

May 24, 2014
By Chala SILVER, Sonora, California
Chala SILVER, Sonora, California
8 articles 0 photos 13 comments

Favorite Quote:
"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."-The Great Gatsby
"All the world's a stage."-Hamlet


Ziggy hit the alarm clock with great force in the hope of turning it off; this achieved nothing except for a long, deep cut in her hand from striking the sharp corner of her nightstand, and a broken alarm clock, which fell to the floor with a loud thump! The blood trickled down her wrist. Kicking off her covers, she sprang out of bed, and, doing her best to keep her bleeding hand elevated, she stumbled through the darkness. She found a light switch, and flicked it on, wincing in the immediate light. She was facing the wall. Doing an about-face, she ran through the miniscule apartment to her equally minute bathroom. She began tearing through her cabinets,searching desperately for a roll of gauze. She eventually decided to wrap it in a leftover scrap of white terrycloth from an old dish towel until she could get gauze from the store. She pulled her bedraggled hair into a sloppy bun at the back of her head, and tried to hoist a happy smile onto her freckled face. It turned out to be more of a grimace, but she abandoned the attempt upon seeing how long she searched for gauze, and remembering that she had to go to work. She scrambled into her room, and strapped off the ridiculously uncomfortable back brace that she was wearing, and tossed it to the side. She threw on her clothes and pulled on her work polo which read, “Pizza Pie In The Sky!!”, and a pair of skinny jeans she pulled on her Converse, which
? ?
were technically antiques. They hadn’t been sold since the end of World War III, in 2018, making the shoes nearly 6 years old. She grabbed her apron and pulled on her sweater. She stuffed the apron into the muff pocket of her sweater. She turned and saw the brace; she had to pull her sweater off, strap her brace on, and the replace the sweater. She swung the front door open, bounded down the halls, and went down the two flights of stairs to the entrance of the apartment complex. She stopped, took a deep breath, and bolted down the block, turning at an underground parking garage. She reached into the muff pocket of her sweater, and said a silent prayer that the keys were in there. Hallelujah, she thought to herself, as not only did she have the
? house?
keys in her pocket, but her car had not been keyed by the local hoodlums.They had an unfortunate pastime of vandalizing the older cars in the public garage. Ziggy was sad to say that her car was one of the older ones. “Unlock”, she told the car. And the car jerked awake. She opened the door and slid in. Start, she told it. The engine hesitated, then roared to life. She was grateful that the car was all in working order. She pulled out of the parking lot, shooting envious looks at the newer, more expensive cars. Even now, the radio screen in her car was running advertisements. Ziggy rolled her eyes. The screen flashed, “Pre-pay for your new Honda Moneybuster 2024!!! Coming January 1st.” She could not understand why on Earth they were drafting advertisements for a car that didn’t even come out for another four months. She clicked a button and the radio turned off. She felt a stab of pain in her left hand, and lifted it off the steering wheel. The once white strip of terrycloth was now bright scarlet with blood. She drove down Boston Street, and smelled the salty breeze blowing in from the harbor. She turned and drove around the back of a bright green building. She pulled the car into a parking space and said, “Stop.” The car shut off and Ziggy picked her nametag up off of the dashboard. She reached over for her
? house?
keys and popped a stick of gum in her mouth. She got out of the car and slammed the door shut. She drew her hands up as though holding an imaginary violin. She inhaled deeply and began to play the violin concerto that she was nearly finished writing. A beautiful piece, about a lost lovers lament. A beautiful piece, missing only a final strain. She played furiously and passionately, as the faces of thousands of admirers shone before her . . . She shook her head and came back from this wonderful fantasy. Her attention instead fell to the thing that she least of all wanted to think about. Her final assignment on chiropractics. She had been on independent study, so as to have more time to work on her music. But this essay was due the following week, and she had no more than a rough draft. She wanted to ask her parents for help, but wondered what they might say. “You can do music in your spare time!!”, her mother would shriek, but Ziggy didn’t want to just do it in her spare time. She wanted to do it all of the time. Her mother didn’t understand. “Your schoolwork
comes first and foremost. Your career comes first and foremost. You are a smart girl and you are squandering your opportunities. Be a lawyer. Be a doctor. First and foremost comes bettering yourself.” Yes, and even as she imagined her mother’s monologue in her head, it sounded dreadful. She sighed, and went in through the back door. She stretched a rubber glove over her bleeding hand and pushed the matter of the essay to the back of her mind. However, even when the essay was pushed to the farthest corners of her mind, she still was panicking about it. Even when she was taking customers orders, she was panicking about it. She could hear it in her voice. Her usually dull-sounding voice asking if anyone wanted extra jalapeños on their pizza had now become unnaturally high pitched and shrill. Her head was spinning, pounding, as she looked for a solution. Mos
?t of her co-workers kept looking at her like she was some freak in a circus, but one or two of them asked if she was okay. She nodded and then they would walk away. So she drew her hands up in the air, as if holding an imaginary violin. She began miming her violin concerto, and suddenly, nothing else mattered except for music, and the sound of it. She closed her eyes, and began waltzing around the kitchen, humming, interrupted by an angry sounding voice . . . . “Why is there smoke in my kitchen?!?!?!” Ziggy’s eyes popped open. She was face-to-face with her boss. Dropping her hands, she realized that she had let the pizza burn, and now she was certainly going to be fired. She froze, then did the only thing that made sense. Ran. She fled out the back door. She flung the car door open, and got in it. She told it to start, but it did so in a sort of half-hearted fashion, like the last note of an unfinished song . . . A small redhead girl sat trapped in the corner, trying desperately, but failing to hide her half-finished sheet music behind her back, along with her violin. There were three girls standing over her, sneering at her. “Look at her shoes”, one would say. “See her ridiculous hair?”, said another. “She hears songs everywhere. What a freak.” And slowly they moved away, going to spread hypocritical rumors about her attacking them. She didn’t really care, it all would go away as soon as she heard the sweet song of the violin. She shook her head, came back down to Earth, and drove towards home. When she parked, she ran to her apartment, flying up the stairs. She stepped through the door, and froze in her tracks in front of her desk, where her half-finished essay sat. Sighing heavily, she slumped down into her chair and considered. First and foremost, first and foremost, first and foremost, first . . . She hummed to herself. That was it, the end to her song!! She picked up a pencil and slid over to her music, scribbling feverishly, writing the end at last. She

looked down at it, and there is a red slash across it. She sees the strip of once white terrycloth off to one side. She picks it up and ties it back around her left hand, which is burning in pain. She darts to the bedside table where her broken alarm clock sat next to her violin. As she put on her coat and scooped up her violin, a startling thought occurred to her. What if nobody liked her music? What if they laughed? What if . . . A small redhead girl sat trapped in a corner, looking up at the girls who surrounded her, who looked shocked and appalled at the violin in her hands. Picking up her music, case, and trying to carry her violin, she fled from them. She shook her head, flung the door open, and bounded the stairs. She stopped in the doorway and hesitated, the looming terror of her half-finished homework hanging over her. First and foremost, first and foremost, first . . . Making her mind up on the spot, she stepped outside and walked down the block. She stopped, set her violin case down on the sidewalk, and flipped open the latches. She felt a stab of pain in her hand as she drew the violin up, and lifted the bow to the strings. She pulled it across the strings . . .No worries, no more feelings, no more pain in her left hand, a simple medicine. Her simple medicine, music, using it to better herself.
Putting it first and foremost!!

The author's comments:
This was an essay that we had to write for the narrative unit; the prompt was "Your Future Self" but of course I always have to make it entirely fictional.

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