Ring ring! Ring ring!
I ran my eyes over the scene before me, scanning the mess of splintered wood and crumbling bricks for the source of the ringing. It seemed impossible to find the phone among all of the wreckage. After multiple rings, it became quiet. I caught a glimpse of light between a dismantled dresser and a screen door before the cellular's screen went black. I scrambled over the jagged floorboards and was carfeul to keep my limbs away from any broken glass or fire. By the time I reached the phone, it was ringing again. I hesitantly pressed down the green button on the left, which I had learned out of observation meant answer.
"Maureen? Maureen are you alright? I heard there was a tornado in your area!" My aunt's frantic voice came through the speakers, and I could tell how worried she was.
"Auntie Nina?" I said, my voice sounding shaky and distant.
"Marin, dear, are you ok? Where is the rest of your family?" Her voice grew quiet when she realized it was me she was talking to. I hadn't ever answered her sister's phone before this, so it probably sent bad thoughts through her mind.
Tears welt up in my eyes. "They left."
"Well, where'd they go, honey?"
"Um, hea- heaven?"
Her voice fell and became quieter still. "Alright, just hold on. I'll be right there."
I hung up the phone and put it in my pocket. After searching for several minutes, I found my mother's crumpled body among the mess. I sat down on a piece of broken plaster and held onto mommy's hand until help came.
My family was dead, and it was my fault. At six years old, I hadn't really understood what that meant.