Matthew clamped his hands over his ears. “I can’t hear you!” He chanted it over and over to drown out his little brother’s whining.
“Yes, you can,” Peter said. “Why can’t I go with you?”
The trouble was, Peter always wanted to hang out with Matthew. Usually Matthew didn’t mind. But today he wanted to go to the park with just his friends. Peter could be such a pest!
“Why can’t you leave me alone?” Matthew said between gritted teeth. “You’ve got your own friends.” Then he ran out of the house before Peter could follow him.
At first he felt a little bad about leaving his brother behind. But when he and his friends started playing soccer, he forgot all about Peter.
When he got home from the park, Matthew walked into his bedroom. He stopped cold in his tracks. He couldn’t believe it! One of his dinosaur models was scattered in pieces all over the floor. It was the T-rex, his favorite.
“Peter!” Matthew yelled. “What did you do?”
Dad stuck his head in the doorway. “What’s all the yelling about?”
All Matthew could do was point to the broken model. He was too angry to even speak. It had taken him hours to paint it and put it together.
Peter came to the bedroom door, eyes on the floor. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to drop it. I just wanted to play with it. I tried to fix it. …”
“Get out of my room and don’t ever come in here again!” Matthew yelled.
Peter started to cry and ran down the hallway.
Matthew didn’t need to look at Dad to know what look he had on his face.
“I’m sorry,” Matthew said at last. “But he deserved it! He shouldn’t have played with my dinosaur. And then he wrecked it.”
“It was wrong of him to play with it,” Dad said. “But I think he just wants to do the same stuff you do. You’re probably the most important person in the world to him.”
Matthew thought about that. He could picture the happy look Peter had when they played basketball together, even though Peter couldn’t dribble the ball that well. Matthew’s shoulders slumped. “I probably need to tell him I’m sorry for yelling at him.”
He found Peter curled up in his bed, the covers pulled up to his eyes. Matthew tugged at the covers. “I’m sorry,” he said.
Peter swiped tears off his cheek. “I’m sorry I wrecked your dinosaur,” he said in a muffled voice.
Matthew thought of all the hours he’d spent making the dinosaur perfect. He swallowed hard. “It’s OK,” he said. “Maybe we can fix it.”
Peter sat up. “You mean I can help you?”
Matthew nodded. “Sure.”
By the end of the afternoon, the dinosaur looked pretty good—even if one eye was a little crooked.
Matthew glued the last piece in place. “Not bad,” he said.
“Not bad,” Peter echoed.
Matthew studied the model and smiled. “Cool. He looks like he was in a fight but still came out on top.”
“Cool,” Peter said.
The next day Mrs. Garcia assigned the class to write about the most important person in their life. Matthew didn’t even have to think twice about who he would write about. His essay about Peter got an A. But that wasn’t as important as realizing how much Peter meant to him.