Sandy, white beaches. Wind blowing through the palm trees. Blazing hot sunshine. All common attributes of any place in the state of Florida where I live. Last summer, before my junior year, I went on a vacation to a new place that I’d never heard of until two weeks before; I was going to Captiva Island, Florida, off the west coast, or to me, a four hour drive across the state. I was going with my parents, my then 5 year old niece, and my two best friends Rachael and Jade. We stayed at the only resort on the island, South Seas Island Resort, a huge yet gorgeous resort, filled with pools and sandy beaches overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. It was nice to be on the opposite coast of the state and experience a whole new sensation and see how things differed between my local beach and the beaches at Captiva.
We were staying there for a week. Originally, Rachael, Jade and I wanted to go off and do our own thing, as most teenagers do and we lounged by the pool looking for anyone even remotely close to our own age that we could befriend. We walked to the shops on the resort property and glanced at all the Vera Bradley purses we loved so dearly, but didn’t have the money to buy, and the thousands of swim wear pieces that people could buy while we wondered who would even come to Florida without a swimsuit.
It was around the middle of the week when two things happened. First, we accomplished our goal and befriended a boy from Ohio who was visiting Florida for the first time. Second, it was the week that both Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett died. The King of Pop as he was so famously called was my mom’s favorite singer when she was growing up in the 80’s and she was absolutely devastated at the news. I remember exactly where we were when we heard the news. We were in the car and I received a text message from another friend of mine telling me that Michael Jackson died. I told my mom who immediately didn’t believe me and thought this was another one of my pranks that my friends and I were pulling. However, when we arrived at Ruby Tuesday’s about 10 minutes later, she was proven wrong and I was put into a state of shock. It seemed surreal that he died and it just didn’t feel like a true story. I felt like it was an April Fool’s Day prank gone wrong. Our dinner was focused on topics other than the death and finally that night, I felt the full effects of the death and what it meant to my mom.
Just from that one simple thing, my day had gone from perfect to horrible. The death really opened my eyes on how a person can simply affect another person, whether it’s in the form of songs like Michael Jackson, dances, poems, or even just being there. It may sound clichÃ© but you can’t take a person for granted because you never really know when they’ll be gone. Anything can happen in the blink of an eye and your whole life can be turned upside down with the flick of a button. I’ve never taken my parents granted since, always expressing my thanks and love towards them, knowing that even though Michael Jackson wasn’t a biological part of my family, he was there spiritually, and he was wrongfully ripped away from us, something no one was expecting.
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