"WITH ONE SMALL
GESTURE YOU CAN CHANGE A PERSON'S LIFE.
PUTS US ALL HERE TO IMPACT ONE ANOTHER IN SOME WAY.
FOR THE GOOD IN OTHERS"
i am alive
alive tonight because of my new friend Eric. Yesterday I wanted to
die, and I thought of all the ways that I might do it. I decided
to take all my books home from school and that when I was at home I would
sit in the car in the garage before anyone else came home, and that I would
leave the door closed and the engine running. I could not stand being
so left out any more. I was quiet and shy and everyone else already
had their friends. My parents could not afford for me to wear the
brand names and the stylish things that others had...I looked different
and no one wanted to be my friend. Perhaps, I thought yesterday,
that things would always be this way. What was the point of living?.
But today, I was knocked down
by some kids after school and the nicest guy came to help me. I had seen
him before and I thought he was a part of that great "in" group, but I guess
not, because he came over to me and helped me up. He even talked to me and
invited me to a basketball game. I guess there is hope for me too and if
Eric thinks I'm worthwhile, then maybe I am. I wonder if Eric knows what an
impact he had on my life. Eric saved my life
................. He had been a strange
looking sight when he first came to our school, tall and gangly, his clothes
and shoes out of date. He had, I suppose tried to fit in, but there
had been little response from those of us who thought we were the jocks
of the school. I knew within my insecure heart that we were not very
friendly, oh well, too bad, he would have to make his way into our "group"
he dared....Fat Chance!!!
We worked hard, those
of us who thought we were something special, to keep him and others like
him on the outside looking in. We were not sure what we didn't like
about him ...probably nothing but there was an unwritten rule among us;
a code that indicated that somehow by including him we would make ourselves
less powerful, less important. Yet, out of all my high school memories,
the kids I knew and the things I did, he is the only person who made lasting
impression in my life.
One particular Friday
after school, I spied him walking alone, as always, a load of books on
his back making him look more stooped and nerdy than ever. I shrugged,
"What a nerd, who would take so many books home on a Friday?" I myself,
had taken none, for I had a weekend of socializing to look forward to.
Still, I thought..." I wonder what he does at home with all those books...does
he study, sitting alone in his room." It occurred to me that I didn't
know anything about him at; where he lived, who his family was or what
he did at all on the weekend.
|His walk across the
school yard was slow but yet purposeful, totally unaware that a group of
kids were running toward him. His head moved slowly toward the sound
of their voices and at that precise moment, his body hit the ground below
and the books on his back and in his arms slammed into the tree beside
him. Like a bitter cold wind, the group disappeared almost oblivious
to what they had done and he was left sprawled on the ground.
Like a movie unfolding
before me, I watched myself run over to where he gathered together the
pieces of his wounded soul. Two dark eyes, filled with tears, searched
my face and expected ridicule. "Those guys are jerks!" I heard
His face filled with
the biggest smile. I jerked back to reality. It seemed so natural
to talk to him, to help him pick up his books, to walk with him down the
street...I could not believe how I had ignored him before. "Thanks,
" he said again as we parted ways.
Within two weeks he
was gone. I had spoken to him several times in school and had invited
him to a Friday night basketball game. He began to walk with his
head up, and I began to understand how truly awful we had all been to him.
I vowed to try to be a better person , to think more for myself rather
than of myself and to be more accepting of other students like him in our
When I heard the news
of the car accident and his death, I cried for all the time that had been
wasted on ignorance and cruelty but mostly I cried because he had been
a student in our school and there were probably only three of us who knew
his name and had spoken to him.
A week after the funeral
his mother came to the door of our house and handed me a letter.
"Simon told me you had been a good friend to him but I never realized how
much you had helped him until I found this in his room. I thought
you might like to have it." I opened the raggy, tear-stained envelope and
began to read ....."
I am alive tonight.....
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