Teenager, Computer addiction, Video games, Computer, Technology, Modern life

Unregarded Value of Relationships

He sat down on the blue chair, the only kind you can find in this stupid school. He put his backpack down, his eyes stuck to a weird stain on the floor. The door opened and closed. A pair of high heels were now standing on the stain, he looked up. “Hello James, how are you?” their guidance counselor said as she sat down behind her desk. “Good”. “James, I talked to some of your teachers. I heard you were an outstanding student.”, she smiled, her pink lipstick was smudged at the corners. “But lately your grades have been dropping. Is something wrong?” She asked. “It’s just difficult.” He said. “Well if you need any help you can always take extra classes, ask your teachers or come to me.”, She said. “How are you getting along with your classmates?” She added. “Fine, I made a new friend.” “That’s nice.” She wrote down something. “Well have you been thinking about after graduation, any universities in mind?”. “No, I- I won’t be applying for university.” his leg was bouncing up and down rapidly. “Hmm, is that so? Well what do you want to do?” “Social media. I have 2 million followers when school ends I can finally have more time to create better content.”. “Well James, it’s impressive that you have that many followers, and I appreciate your passion for filmmaking. However fame can be unstable, you can continue it as a hobby while attending school.” she said. He was now gripping the sides of the chair, his hands started to shake. He was getting overwhelmed. “May I go to the bathroom?” he said, “Of course James, take your time I will be waiting.” she answered. 

The corridor was filled with students; pushing, laughing, shouting. To James, there were only his thoughts running a marathon in his mind. His mother; he had to help her. But his followers were the only ones supporting him. His friends, no his one friend, his disgusting father, his mother, the school, and even the stupid bullies didn’t believe in him. He just needed to gain more fans, more followers, bigger numbers. More likes, views, follows. 

“Hey, James. James, hellooo!” “Come on look up from your phone for once.” Kevin was waving his hand in front of James’s face. “Hi.” James muttered. “Come on man what’s wrong? We never talk anymore.” Kevin said. James ignored him and continued walking, “I had a lot of school work.” he said. “That’s bs, you are failing all your classes.” Silence. “Look at my face while we are talking! You are so obsessed with social media that you don’t care about your real life.” Kevin raised his voice. “That’s not true! Even so, why would YOU care?” James shouted, looking Kevin in the eyes. “I am supposed to be your friend James.” he said. “You don’t get it. My followers are the only way out of this hell hole.” James answered. “NO! You are the one that doesn’t understand. I am the only person that talks to you in this school. People don’t like me because I am friends with ‘you’. And all you do is obsess over social media. You would be dead without me protecting you in this filthy school. You are nothing but a lonely, insecure little kid hiding behind a screen”’ Kevin shouted. James’ ears were burning, his face was on fire. He turned around and started to walk faster. This time towards the exit.

His mother knocked on the door, ‘Darling let’s just talk.”. James didn’t want to talk. He opened his camera and started to record.

It was now 10 pm and James had just posted his video. Already thousands of views were streaming in but it just wasn’t enough. “James please come down for dinner.” His mother said. “I’m coming,” James answered. He looked at his YouTube account one more time. Kevin was right. His teachers were right. He was getting lost in fame, he needed to get rid of it, fast. James dragged his mouse on the red box, “Delete account”. Tick. “This page is no longer available”.The light from his computer lit up his face in the dark. Pat. A tear rolled down his cheeks and hit his keyboard. Pat. Pat. Pat. Pat.

Lasagna. James loved lasagna and his mother knew that. She sat down beside him.

”James darling.” Her voice was as delicate as a feather. “I heard you were failing your classes”, No answer. “It is only the first semester, we can pick it up in the second half and get you to a better school.” She said. James didn’t know what to say, he was thinking of his account. “James ı need to tell you something.” She said. “Yeah?” James asked. “Remember I told you I went to the doctor last week.” She said. He didn’t remember. “I went in today as well. The doctor diagnosed me… with-with.” Her voice broke. “Stage three cancer”. James finally looked up. “Are you going to be alright mom?” He said. “They can treat it right, cure you?” “I will start my treatment next week.” She said. James needed to do something now. “Thank you for dinner,” James said and went up to his room. 

“Hello folks and welcome to my channel. Here you are guaranteed to have fun or learn something new. Today ı want to talk about cancer and clinical illness.”

James looked at his computer, uploading his new video. He had opened a new account and shared it on Instagram. Already a million people had subscribed. He chuckled. “I couldn’t even stay offline for a day.” He murmured to himself. “I am pathetic”. 

Three months had passed since he had opened his new account. It was doing well but not good enough. He was on his way back to his house when his mother called. She was at the hospital. She was at the hospital. Why was she at the hospital? Her treatment had been doing well right? Right? He had no idea. He hadn’t talked to her properly for months and he had no idea how bad she was. He had no idea. He started to run as fast as he could. 

When he arrived at the hospital he saw a familiar face. His father. His mother had gotten a divorce a year ago to get away from this animal but here he was again. “Hi son.” He said. “Where is she?” James said. “She is under intensive care.” He replied. James didn’t want to look at him any longer than he had to. He started walking towards the reception. “You know kid you haven’t changed one bit.’ His father chuckled, ‘You are still the same worthless kid that was too self-centered to care about other people, even your own mother.” He said. James stopped dead in his tracks. “You are delusional if you think you can actually achieve anything in your pathetic life.” His father said. James continued to walk, that wasn’t the worst thing he had heard from his father.

He was sitting next to his mother’s bed at the hospital. Her eyes were tired, she could barely keep them open. “I’m sorry.” James said. “I never spent time with you. All I would do was obsess over my following, the numbers, and not what is really important. I will spend time with you from now on. I promise we will have lots of fun.” He said. “I love you honey.” She said in pain. “I love you too mom.” He said.

His mother was coming home after a month, she was still undergoing intense treatment but today she was coming back home. “Well, I surely have work to do.” His mother chuckled when James opened the door. There were dirty dishes stacked on top of each other and clothes scattered all over the living room. “I’ll clean up,  don’t worry about it”. James quickly said. That same day they had a picnic at a nearby park and James took his mother to get some gelato, her favorite ice cream. He still had his channel but he hadn’t uploaded since that day at the hospital.

The first day of the second semester, a fresh start for James. He hadn’t talked to Kevin since, well since that conversation. “Hey, Kevin.” James called out. 

‘What do you want?’ Kevin said.

“Just to spend time with my best friend.” 

“Oh, that’s nice where is he?” Kevin asked sarcastically.

“Come on, I am sorry. I really am. I was a douchebag.” James said. 

“You were.”, “By the way sorry about your mother.’ 

“She is doing a lot better.” “Well do you want to hang out after school?” James asked. “Under one condition.” Kevin said.

“Okay, What is it?”

“You have to say how good of a friend I am and how much you missed out on when you were obsessed with your online persona.” Kevin said. 

‘Oh mighty Kevin, you are worthy of everything, I was stupid when I chose to ditch you several hundred times. It will never happen again.” “But you were rude as well.’ James added.

“Thank you, you are being too nice. Wait what did you say? I was being rude?! Man do you not remember what you did.” Kevin exclaimed. 

“I mean you were a bit rude when we last talked.’ James shrugged.

 “Okay, maybe a little. Sorry about that. Let’s just forget that ever happened deal?’ 

“Deal.”

“I can’t believe it took you so long to realize.” Kevin sighed.

“Realize what?”

“You know the saying you don’t realize the value of something until it’s gone? That’s what it took to make you realize my value.” Kevin jokingly slapped James’s back and put his arm around his shoulder.

“I think I realized it’s value before everything was gone though, if I hadn’t I don’t know what I would be doing right now.”

“Are we still talking about me?”

“No, I was talking about my mom.”

 

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