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His Second Chance

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Small towns are a peculiar thing.  Every person is important, but it takes something drastic for us to realize this.  May first is a day that will be infamous in my small town’s history.  May first is the day a dear friend made a slight mistake while driving and ended up underwater in the little Pee Dee River for close to thirty minutes.  May first is the day my friend was rushed to the hospital and put on life support.  May first is the day everything came crashing down.


But I did not know this.  May first was a day of drizzly rain and the rolling thunderstorms the South is all too familiar with.  May first was a day of preparing for an AP test and trying to clear my mind from the stresses that had seemed to grow exponentially.  In fact, everything seemed fine until it was too late to realize.


Small towns are a peculiar thing, you see.  We don’t realize what we have until it’s gone, and when it’s gone...we all feel its loss.  May fourth is a day that took a small piece of this town with it.  May fourth is the day I found about the events just days before.  May fourth is the day my friend told me what happened and I was hit with the reality of why my friend hadn’t came to school.  May fourth is the day I cried so hard I couldn’t breathe.  May fourth is the day I called my mom, nearly screaming.  May fourth is the day a substitute teacher had to support my weight as she walked me to a guidance counselor.  May fourth is the day I didn’t go to all my classes.  May fourth is the day my friend, my beautiful, strong, special friend was released from this Earth, was allowed to be free from his suffering. 


May fourth is the day the time 1:29 PM was forever cursed.  May fourth is the day I argued with the principal for an hour, trying to convince him to have a memorial for the friend I just lost.  May fourth is the day I went home with a migraine and tears running down my face.  May fourth is the day I forever changed.  May fourth is the day I bought purple flowers to lay in my friend’s parking space.  May fourth is the day I didn’t get any sleep.  May fourth is the day that will never go away.


May fifth is the day I had to put on a strong face.  May fifth is the day I had to get ready for school, unknowing the pain I would face.  May fifth is the day I learned certainly my friend was gone.  May fifth is the day we created the trend ‘#ALEXSTRONG’.  May fifth is the day the whole school drifted away, to the parking space we never thought we’d see empty.  May fifth is the day we all hugged each other and cried because we couldn’t believe.  May fifth is the day I learned about the power of an amazing thing.


May fifth is the day his parents decided that they would donate Alex’s organs to children that needed them.  May fifth is the day my friend’s family decided he would go on to make other children Alex Strong.  May fifth is the day I kept thinking I saw his face.  May fifth is the day I went up to another friend, believing they were him.  May fifth is the day I left at lunch because I couldn’t take the pain.  May fifth is the day I realized how small town proud, not born, but raised can be.  May fifth is the day I realized life is fragile and one mistake can be unforgiving.  May fifth is the day I realized I will never forget.  May fifth is the day that will forever stay imprinted in my mind.
Alex will never get a personal chance to graduate, get married, have kids, or travel the world, but he will give other people the chance to do just that.  By donating his organs, he will save 58 people, just as he would have wanted.  My helpful, silly, quirky friend, my purple-haired, goofy, happy friend will go on to make people have a better life, a good life, just like he had for himself. 


May 19th is a day I will never forget.  We honored Alex yet again.  By releasing balloons in his favorite shade of blue, we remembered him once again.  A yearbook dedication and a chance to smile and remember.  May 19th is a day I will always hold near.  I reached out to his family and told them of this beautiful thing.  May 19th is a day we cried because we couldn’t ask God why.  May 19th is a day full of beauty, but full of pain.  May 19th is a day we felt him near.


May 24th is a day imprinted in my mind.  Because today, I was finally able to smile.  A small town that has been picking up the broken pieces after disaster destroyed us all has finally started to recover, as we remember the friend we miss most of all.






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