Survivor

Author Alexander Crawley

When my brother and I were little, our family hit a rough patch after the birth of our youngest brother. My mom and the baby went to live with our grandparents while my father took care of us. However, daddy had some unpaid debts, so he had to leave for a week to work them off.

He left us (ages 12 and 10) with no food, only a few dollars, and no electricity (we were cut off due to unpaid bills). We bought some cheap food that lasted us for a few days in combination with some cans we had left, but even after that careful rationing, it was game over. We had nothing to sell and even though we were starving, we were too proud to beg. I had heard that there was a store nearby that was buying glass and plastic bottles, so I decided to gather everything I could find and see if we could make it to a meal.

As I was ravaging through the nearby alleys in search for bottles (and praying I didn’t come across anyone dangerous or anyone I knew), a friend spotted me and asked me what I was doing. Bottles in hand, I told him what the situation and broke down crying.

He ran home and told his parents. They came by to our place to gauge the situation and even considered calling Child Protective Services, but we managed to convince them this was but a temporary situation. They knew our parents (and through the many mistakes they’ve made, they’re still good people), so they decided not to get us into the system.

They did buy us food enough to last us a whole week and some sweets. Honestly, it was better than Christmas! We hadn’t eaten anything delicious in weeks. They also invited us to their place and said we could stay as long as we wanted. We thanked them for their hospitality but we didn’t want to abuse it. These people helped us survive.

Later, we too moved in with our grandparents. After a very difficult few years, we managed to pull through. I’ve been on my own ever since I was 18. Both my brother and I managed to make sure our little brother never had to go through what we had gotten through.

Ever since I was little, if I was ever in a position where I could help (even a total stranger), I did it. I couldn’t pay my friend or his parents back. All I can do is keep paying it forward till the day I die and hope the people I help do the same.

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