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Another Day Another Life
Looking back on my highschool days at East High Gators in Miami, I can’t believe how many stupid things I did. The one incident that sticks out most in my mind is not necessarily the worst, but it was definitely the most life changing. The senior year of highschool. Parents and teachers are always going on about how it is your most important year, to me it was just another year to pull pranks, misbehave, and any other forms of getting in trouble you can think of. Don’t get me wrong I’m not a bad kid, I just do it for the attention, so say the counselors. It wasn’t until I met Aylynnd Richards that I finally figured out what my purpose in life was, and straightened out my life.
Senior prank week, I don’t care what school you go to, everyone knows what senior prank week is and East High Gators are no exception. All week seniors are running around pulling pranks and asking me,” Hey Zac, what prank are you going to pull this year?” I’d simply reply in a cool voice just you wait and see.
For my senior prank, I wanted it to be the greatest, so Thursday night I snuck into the school, broke into the principal’s office and took her desk. Now, like many others you may be thinking oh big deal a desk, but it’s what I did with the desk that made it so important. I had put the desk onto the moving jack and was planning on putting it into the guys bathroom. Just to let you know the set up of the school the principal’s office is on the second floor. Now this may seem odd to you, but if you look at the school it would seem there are only two floors, but our school has a sub-level with more classrooms. So the principal’s office is on the second floor. The guys bathroom on the second floor has the steps to the sub-level right beside it. Anyway I was on my way to the bathroom to put the desk in when I started to hear the night guard coming my way. I panicked and started pushing the jack faster and at the speed it was going it was next to impossible to turn, so down the steps the desk went flying breaking both the desk and the jack. Once I realized the damage done I fled the scene not wanting to be recognized.
Friday morning at school I found myself in the principal’s office with a choice, six months in jail followed by community service, or counseling at the Second Chance Counseling center and fund-raisers to pay for the broken items. It turns out the night guard saw me and recognized me from my previous pranks pulled, so I had little to no choice. I took the counseling and fund-raisers. I figured it would be the easiest. Little did I know the total cost was around one thousand dollars. I left the principal’s office with a horrible feeling in my stomach about what to expect at home and my first day of counseling being June 18, my birthday, Happy Birthday to me.
When I got home that night my mom had already heard the news. The principal had called her at work so she had the rest of the day to plan the speech for when I got home. Lucky for me my dad wasn’t going to get off of work until 10 at the earliest so I didn’t have to deal with both of them at the same time. By the time that mom got done with her rather extensive lecture covering the main points of future work, college acceptances, trust, and loyalty all going down the drain if I didn’t straighten up. Not to mention her part about how she and my father worked to hard and too long to make money so I could succeed in life for me to just throw it away, and if I was going to just throw it away for me to figure some way to support myself and then see if it was all worth it. Then at the end of her lovely speech she topped it with a cherry no nothing except for school, homework, counseling, or fun-raising for at least six months depending on how it goes.
I woke up the next morning to a note on my door. Come down to the basement it time to straighten out your behavior once and for all. Down at the basement my dad was there holding a bucket of nails, some insulation, and dry wall. He said on simple sentence,“ Finish off the basement, and learn some real discipline.” Not exactly what I had expected my dad to say but, then again he’s given me so many lectures I guess he’s trying a different method. I spent all morning and afternoon working on that basement and barley got a fourth of the way done. Then I got cleaned up and headed to the Second Chance Counseling Center for my appointment. Yes, that’s right today is my birthday, but my parents are so ticked off right now I think it’s better if we just skip it this year.
As I entered the center I felt out of place. There were people there who were crying, ill in the head, hurting themselves, and going through divorce, and I was there because I couldn’t act like a normal human being. Then I noticed this girl, she was tall and blonde and happy, walking around and cheering up people, I wanted to ask her why she was here but I just ignored it. She looked to be about my age and I wondered why I hadn’t seen her before, but then I remember there were two schools in this part of Miami, both high schools, and she could have gone to the other one. Right as I sat down on the sofa in the waiting room a very tall, thin, woman probably in her late 60's came out of a door and called,“ Zachary Edmond I’m ready for you now.” I got up and enter into a very dark room, the woman came in and sat behind her desk and asked me to sit on the sofa bed. She introduced herself as Ms. Emily Bradshaw, and then proceeded to ask me annoying questions, like how old I was, how long had my behavior been this way, if I thought it was something that could be fixed on a minor or major scale, where I saw myself going in life and if this behavior would be acceptable there, and finally would I be interested in family counseling to see if it could better help the situation. The last question took me awhile to answer and I decided that yes it would be okay but not at this stage in my sessions.
On my way out of the center the girl I saw in the center ran up to me and introduced herself as Aylynnd Richards. I was about to tell her my name when she said,“ Oh yes and you must be Zachary Edmond, I’ve heard a lot about you at school.” I thought to myself wow people at a different school know about me. Then I asked her what school she went to and she said,” East High Gators, just like you, although I’m not surprised that you don’t recognize me, I’m not exactly in the crew you hang out with.” Feeling like a total jerk I tried to change the subject and asked her why she was in counseling. She smiled and explained that she wasn’t at the center for counseling, but that she volunteered there to help cheer some of the patients up, and she wanted to pursue a career in counseling. This gave her the opportunity to get a taste of what it’s like. She ended up walking me home and then saying she hoped to see me again. I went into the house with a smile on my face and a happiness I hadn’t felt in years.
Well, weeks started to pass by and I regularly went to the counselor, but I hadn’t seen Aylynnd there in awhile. Then one day I walked into the center and I found Aylynnd there crying. I went over and asked her what was the matter. She looked at me smiled and said,” Zac when I told you I didn’t need counseling it may have made it seem that my life is great, but I need to tell you something. When I was born my mom died, the birth was to much for her, my dad had to raise me on his own and he gave me her necklace with her name on it before he died and I was sent to an orphanage. Then about three months ago I found out I was pregnant with my boyfriends baby. As soon as he heard the news he left me and I was stuck trying to raise money for the hospital bill. Yesterday I got the news that I was fired from my job in a downsizing, and now I have no way of getting enough money.” I felt so bad for her having to go through all this on her own. I decided right then and there that any money I made extra with the fund-raisers I was going to help Aylynnd pay for the hospital. I told Aylynnd not to worry and that everything would work out and she smiled and said,” I’m glad to see that you have such an optimistic personality.” I thought yeah right if you only knew why I needed counseling.
Over the next few months I worked so hard on the basement and got it finished my dad was so proud of me. I also made a lot of money off of the fund-raisers. Let’s just say after paying for the new desk and jack, I had enough to pay for the rest of Aylynnd’s hospital room. Along with the change in situation I also started to do better in school. Because of my problems in my senior year I had to repeat it. The date of the midterm exams was the same as the delivery of Aylynnd’s baby. I had told her this and she said that she wanted me to take the exams and then after school come and she her and her new baby girl. I promised her I would and then left the hospital to get a good nights rest and get in a little more studying.
The next day I woke up on time and had a great breakfast. I had the perfect mind set for take my exams. Since the grade and attitude improvement my mom and dad were in such a better mood when it came to my after school activities. I asked the both of them about visiting Aylynnd and they agreed. I also asked if they would be willing to come down and see her as well. They both said that they got off early and would probably get there before me. I told them not to wait for me but to go in a she how she is doing.
I left for school with a certain confidence in me. My first exam took me the whole class period to finish and I was very pleased with the fact that I knew the answer to every question. The rest of the exams went the same way. Then at lunch some people were rather sad and all talking about a death of a friend. I didn’t know the people but I felt bad for them. Little did I know I knew the person that they were talking about.
At the end of the day I rushed to the hospital as fast as I could. I couldn’t wait to see Aylynnd and her new baby girl and I wanted to see if she would become a part of my life. I got to the floor that my mom and dad were and I started to tell them the good news about my exams. When they turned around and I saw the tears in their eyes it felt like a ton of bricks fell on top of me. I immediately ran over and asked what was wrong. They tried to smile as they told me that the baby was born healthy as could be. With that news I felt a little relief then I asked how Aylynnd was doing and my mother burst into tears. My father looked me in the eyes and said,” I so sorry to have to tell you this, but Aylynnd didn’t make it. It turns out that the birth was too much for her body to handle. I’m so sorry son.” At that exact moment I fell to the ground. I had no emotion, no feeling, I was just in shock. I can’t recall exactly what time the nurse gave me the envelope I just remember that she said Aylynnd wanted me to have this.
I opened the letter and out fell her mother’s necklace and this letter.
If your reading this letter know that I’m in a better place. The doctor just told me that there was a very slim chance of me making it after this birth, that my body is just too weak. I want you to know that I made the decision to have the baby seeing as I’ve already had the chance to live and I want her to have the same opportunity. I know you may not understand this right now, but I’m okay with this. I only regret one thing, that I’m not going to be able to spend time with my child, and you. Please don’t be too upset with this. I also need to tell you something, I’m proud of you. You changed completely. I knew from the beginning your problem and how many counselors you had been to before. This time I wanted it to work out for you. For you to change and become a better person, and I’m glad that I got to see that happen. I mean I know the old Zac would not have paid for the hospital room. That’s why I have decided that I want you to be the babies god father and since I am no longer here, you will be the one to take care of her. I know this is a lot to ask of you, but because I have no family to take the baby in, instead of giving her to some orphanage like I was in I would rather her be with a close friend. If you accept these responsibilities then I think that you should be the one to name the baby. I know you will make the right choice and I know that you will be a great father one day if not now. Know that I love you and will be watching you from where I am now. Also know that someday we will see each other again.
It’s been nearly a year now since Aylynnd’s death and I thank God each day that I wake up and get to spend more time with her daughter, my god child. Thanks to the support of my parents and there willingness to take her in I’ve been able to take care of her. She’s not old enough to understand yet, but when she becomes old enough I’m going to tell her of how much her mother loved her and that she always wanted the best for her. As of now I’m just treasuring all the time I get to spend with baby Aylynnd.