Please read “About this project and the Author” for more information on my project. In this excerpt, Daryl speaks about what Danielle meant to him.
“…But for now, we return to our story and the conclusion to Citizen of Ville Joie.
I have been told by my parents that I have nothing to worry about, that they will keep me no matter what happens. My long journey into the unknown is now behind me so I can focus on being a kid and ask myself inconsequential questions such as “who do I want to be when I grow up?” instead of big ones like “where will I be tomorrow?”
I’m making a few friends and see them every day at the community centre where we hang out most of the time and I begin playing baseball with some personal success although as a team, we all know we will never amount to anything. Summer goes by fast and I attend the local school where I make a lot of new friends. Our teacher is nothing but kind and patient even though I act like a mentally challenged class clown most of the time.
One day, after school, my mom announces to me that Danielle has lost her long battle with cancer. Hearing this, of course, takes me by surprise and saddens me but I don’t react to the news of her death with as much emotion as one would imagine. It will be a few years later or when I begin revisiting my past through a more mature eye, that I will be able to measure Danielle’s immense impact on my life and appreciate the importance all she did for me. As an orphan, I was lucky enough to benefit from her kindness, from her devotion and I absolutely adored her company but I couldn’t process everything it meant at the time because there were too many things happening around me so fast. I will need a little more living and little more losing before I can learn the true meaning of appreciation.
The afternoon Danielle and I first met, she made the promise to find me a home, knowing how testing it would be even in the best of circumstances. Obviously, she made that promise before she knew she would face this personal and painful challenge. With her own body working against her spirit, she kept a promise she made to a child who wasn’t even hers and she worked until the very end to keep her promise to give me a life, even though she was in the process of losing her own. She lives still in my memories of Happy Town, in the kindness I can see in others thanks to the example of her own and yes, she lives in the regrets I feel whenever I look back on some of the things I wish I could do over. I wish I could see her again, hold her tight in my arms as I know I would and thank her for everything she did for me.
Danielle forever is an angel on my shoulder.
A few years past and my parents who opted to wait until I was old enough for my signature to be legally binding, take me to the local Social Services’ office so I can sign the adoption papers and officially become their son.
I keep going about my life the best I can and experience my teenage years like any other normal teenager you’ve ever known. That’s if there is such a thing and you’ve ever known one. I smoke, I drink and I get caught. I stay, I leave, I live, I fail and I come back. Life is strange that way; maturity has this way of showing up after you mess up which is usually when you don’t need it anymore.
As a young adult I spend years trying to heal the wounds from my past and fight with everything I’ve got to shed a layer of skin stained with the shame and the sadness left by these confusing years. I refuse to succeed at anything, sabotaging countless golden opportunities, believing to my very core that I am not deserving of the happiness that would accompany any accomplishment.
When I finally become an adult, not in birthdays but in actual mental age, I get to discover which of these wounds will never completely heal. Love, what else, as the deepest and the most grueling of them all.
Early on, I make a habit of dating women with whom I know for certain there is no possible future. Women who in return will use my vulnerabilities and hurt me deeply, some of them without even realizing it, others for their own entertainment. I can’t really blame any of them; I drive most of them to do it. This never ending battle that took place inside of me throughout the events of my childhood, this desire for happiness which constantly clashed with my self imposed restrain from enjoying it, stays in me until the quandary itself becomes a biological part of who I am.
I was trained to wish for love so intensely and for so long, in the end it’s the wishing I became comfortable with and as more time passed, I became less willing to trade that comfort for the unavoidable uncertainty that accompanies actual love…”
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This project is entirely written on an iPad.
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