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Please read “About this project and the Author” for more information on my project. In this excerpt, Daryl is brave and goes to school by himself, but…

“When we woke up, we felt much better after one last breakfast sitting next to one another and when the time to leave came, we said goodbye like big boys that we were and returned to our families. I never saw Allan again.

I returned with Gerard and Grace and the rest of the summer went by very slowly, just like it’s supposed to be when you’re a kid. In the few days before the beginning of the school year, anxiety grew inside of me. A new name, a new school, new people, everything around me was new again. Except I knew that, when I would get there, I would the only one who would be new. Being new was becoming an old feeling. I was anxious but not necessarily scared and I wanted to be brave. So on the morning of the first day of school, I decided Daryl D. would tackle the matter all by himself. When Grace told me she would walk me to my school down the street, I said no. I told her I wanted to this by myself, which she agreed to let me. I walked the short distance with my heart racing and head filled with questions, but with no fear which gave me a lot of courage.

In my quest for heroism however, I hadn’t realized that I was at the time depriving Grace of the joy and the pride of being a parent. It was probably difficult enough for Gerard and Grace to accept that I wasn’t able to bring myself to address them as Dad and Mom because it still felt unnatural to me, now I was denying an incredibly kind woman of the important moment of walking her child to school on his first day and stand among other parents with the pride of being one of them. Although I had never before been as happy as I was when I joined them and although Gerard and Grace were learning how to be parents at lighting speed and with flying colors, I on the other hand, had yet to learn how to be a son.

The walls still guarding some areas of my inside were too thick to be taken down. A brick for every rejection, for every drop of blood and for every broken bone. It’s no wonder I grew so close to Gerard. I was so impressed by his strength, he was the only one I saw as capable of chipping those walls down. And believe it or not, he did…”

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