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The Boy Who Flew This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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Everyone remembers when Alec Fischer died, but nobody remembers Alec Fischer. We remember his death because it reminded us that everything counts. It reminded us of every time we passed him in the hall without seeing him. Every time we snickered at his strangeness. It reminded us of ourselves. Not of him.



Alec Fischer looked like an alien. Not because he was ugly or green; quite the opposite. He was just too beautiful to be real or human. Scarily beautiful with skin as opalescent as a porcelain doll's. He had such big eyes it was hard to notice anything else about his face. His pupils were as enormous and black as a starless night, making it look like he was always dreaming and that his waking life was never quite there. A thin band of pale light, like the sun shining through cracked green stained glass, was painted around those nighttime pupils. One day I caught his eye and felt like I was falling into them. They were as endlessly deep and vast as a tunnel, but before I could reach the light at the end of it he looked away, upwards to the sky, pulling himself back into himself and snapping me back to reality. He was too shy for eye contact, and he took up space as if apologizing, I'm sorry. Excuse me, but his eyes said I'm here! Look at me! Hardly anyone ever did. In fact, I never saw anyone talking to him. He was too strange, too otherwordly. He was too quiet and his calmness unnerved us. For all we knew, he was a freak that could snap at any moment. And that was all anyone felt they needed to know.



His note said "Why does it always seem like the more I want to touch the sky, the lower I sink to the ground? The more desperately I search for light, the deeper and darker the night becomes." When we heard how he'd died, none of us wanted to believe it. None of us wanted to believe that we didn't even notice the first four days he'd been gone. None of us wanted to believe that we'd never spoken to him. That we didn't know what his smile looked like or his laugh sounded like. That we never got to reach the light at the end of his tunnel. That we didn't know there was a light ever there. At the very least, we wanted to believe it was an accident. Alec climbed that building to get a better view of the stars and, trying to reach out and grab them, he fell. A breeze pushed him. He slipped. Alec Fischer never wanted to die; he wanted to reach the sky. So maybe, hopefully, he did.




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