Please read “About this project and the Author” for more information on my project. In this excerpt, Daryl recounts the last night of his last summer camp in Happy Town.
“A few more minutes of silence, long enough to realize and reflect on the fact that these are my last hours as an orphan, as a Citizen of Ville Joie, and we go to bed in the dormitory located in the main camp. As we have done so many nights before, we chat in whispers some more before we fall asleep. Our nightly conversation is going just fine and the mood is light until one of the other kids turns to Allan and I and asks if we are sad to know that, after we leave in the morning, we will never see each other again. Oh, the sensitivity of a child. Although it would have hit us tomorrow, hearing the words now makes it official right at this moment and I instinctively bury my face in my pillow so nobody sees me and begin to try and cry myself to sleep as I hear Allan in the bed next to mine do the same.
The certainty of this upcoming separation has always been indeed painful. When he left the orphanage the night before Gerard and Grace came to meet me, I thought I had lost him forever. It had all happened so fast, there was this feeling of something incomplete inside of me. Allan is after all the one who thought me what having a best friend is all about and he did it just by being himself. He is the one who made our friendship what it is by taking the lead, by playing along with me and by teaching me to play marbles. He means so much to me, I feel the need to give him all the credit for “Daryl and Allan”. Luckily though, I have shared with Allan so many experiences, all of them filled with such intense emotions in the few years we have spent in Happy Town that, with the chance offered by this last summer camp, nothing is left unsaid, there is now no unfinished business between us. The tears I let out in my pillow, one for each of the marbles we have won together, are just a final pinch to my heart, a pinch he has earned over the years of moments of us, interrupted only by stays with families. A pinch he has earned over the years of uninterrupted friendship we shared no matter where we were.
The following morning when we wake up, we feel much better and after one last breakfast sitting next to one another, when the time to leave actually comes, we say goodbye like the big boys that we now are and return to our families.
I will never see Allan again.
I return with Gerard and Grace and the rest of the summer goes by very slowly, just like it’s supposed to be when you’re a kid…”
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