Materialism. It's "a tendency to consider material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values", or so the online dictionary says. But what if an object is so important to one that they would sacrifice any and/or all of their loved ones for it? Does that label them as materialistic? How much importance can you give to an object before being slammed into the tiny, almost inescapable cage of materialism? Society gives no second thought to calling one materialistic, yet some of them don't look at their own lives and realize that the definition of materialistic they're using for others applies to themselves too. Maybe that's why Story was so hesitant showing her intense urge to turn the world upside down looking for her necklace.
A necklace? Maybe that makes her materialistic in your mind. Sure, there are important things that people really care about, but a necklace? It isn't a lie that necklaces are of much less importance than other objects, but this necklace... this necklace meant the world to Story. Yes, it was the last thing she had left from her parents before they died. The backstory to the necklace might've been cliche, but that didn't lessen her love for it by even a bit.
Speaking of the necklace, it wasn't anything intricate. An ivory pearl the size of a baby's fingernail hung suspended from a thin, gleaming silver chain. Even still, it meant the world to Story. As if it was the universe instead of a small pearl hanging on that chain.
Story was a petite, rosy baby when the orphanage found her on the cobblestone doorstep, the necklace tangled through her plump fingers. She'd lived in the orphanage ever since and was soon to turn eighteen and leave the place anyway.
The orphanage was completely terrible. Well, not the orphanage. It gave decent meals, the beds were comfortable, and the building was clean. They got basic clothes and even got allowances, which they could save up for more expensive things of their own. It was more like the people there were terrible. For starters, the teachers and headmaster had no hesitation to taunt kids. They only controlled the kids while the kids were in their presence, and when the kids were unsupervised, chaos broke loose from the teachers' handcuffs. Story didn't even know how she survived break every day.
She and the other older kids were forced to watch over the younger ones, all of whom took the greatest delight in pulling strands of Story's shoulder-length silky hair. By the time she staggered out of the preschool classrooms, it seemed as though she had a chestnut cloud floating around her head, curly and tangled.
Story had been saving up on money for almost her whole life. She had more than a thousand dollars in her bank account that Headmaster Liam had created for her. Every orphan got a bank account, and when they were eighteen they could take all the money out to leave to wherever they wanted to. It was a simple and sometimes pleasuring life.
Until the sunny morning Story reached under the mattress and felt-nothing. The necklace was gone. She groped around but couldn't feel the familiar roundness of the pearl or the delicate chain. Frantically, Story opened her drawer in the common girls' dresser, then searched through the other drawers. No necklace.
Subconsciously, Story pulled at her pale fingers. Where was her necklace? Maybe her best friend, Lachlan, would help her find it. The clicking of the headmaster's dress shoes on the polished floors alerted Story. Ah, yes. She was supposed to be in class. With a slender hand on her chest to still her breathing, Story was now crouched behind the creaky staircase. After the hollow clicks faded into the distance of the wood-boarded halls, she furtively walked out and to class.
Lachlan was an avid class goer unlike Story, who skipped at her own pleasure. Class had never been important to Story; she learned all the important knowledge from real life anyways. She was more of a kinesthetic learner, learning by doing. Story tapped on the heavy door with her knuckles and leaned on it, annoyed at whoever was supposed to open the door. Finally, the door opened and she stumbled inside. Oh. Nice entrance, Story. The whole class stared at Story with wide eyes before the teacher rapped on the desk with a ruler, signaling them to look at their books once again.
Story plopped down in the chair beside Lachlan and haphazardly scribbled a note with an almost blindingly yellow pencil. I lost my necklace and looked everywhere, help me find it. She stealthily slipped the note to him under the desk and looked down at the thick book lying in front of her with a yawn. What subject was it? Oh, geography. Her best subject. Lachlan always teased her, for the only class Story paid attention in was geography. She secretly loved imagining the beautiful cities and landscapes the teacher's words illustrated.
A tap on her shoulder woke her up to the real world. Lachlan shoved a note onto Story's lap with a frustrated look on his face, no doubt from his several attempts to gain her attention. She opened it to see, in lopsided scrawls, Okay, after class. Story inwardly groaned at the thought of having to sit through a whole class, yet the annoyance was softened at the realization it was geography class.
After an hour of listening to the teacher spouting irrelevant information, the bell rang and the students clattered out of the classroom. Story and Lachlan walked around the entire building, searching in every corner, every piece of furniture. To their avail, no necklace was found.
Story sank onto the bench during the break, tears sliding down her tanned cheeks. It couldn't have gone anywhere else; she would just have to accept the loss of the only thing she had left from her parents. Lachlan comfortingly rubbed her back in circles, soothing her despair.
Time went by. The earth kept turning. The sun kept rising and setting. The sky stayed blue. The grass stayed green. Children still played. Adults still bossed. Nothing had changed except for Story's once light heart turning heavy, dripping with guilt and grief. As Story grew older, she realized that her sadness wouldn't get her anywhere. The world would still go by, unaware of the struggles its residents faced. She would just have to proceed ahead into the fog that blanketed what lay ahead of her without the necklace chaining her to the past. Though her most valuable object had been lost, the sweet memory of her parents would always embellish Story's inner wall of memories.