A story of friendship.
|Friendship is about trust and loyalty. Having someone who is there for you when you need them or someone who sticks up for you when you’re at your most vulnerable. My name is Jake and I have a story to tell about friendship and what it is all about, so if you don’t mind I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you all about me and my friend Graf.|
It was a usual mid week evening, we’d meet at the park and have a good old banter about what happened at school, then we’d think of something naughty to do. Every night a different adventure. We were an odd sort of match, I always considered myself a good boy; well-mannered, kind and shy. Graf was rude, selfish and mischievous but that was why I liked him. He was different to what I had always known, he was exciting.
Every night was a rush of adrenaline, the buzz of evading capture and a chance to gain some reputation with the local school gangs. Don’t get me wrong, I never was a follower, in fact the complete opposite, but in my school if you weren’t part of the gang, you were the enemy. You were always taunted and bullied until you realised that the easier life was to be on their side. Graf more than anyone wanted to be part of that gang above anything he ever treasured, he would trade his games console such was his desire. He craved the status, he wanted to be known and he thought being in the newspapers was cool. I didn’t.
‘But it will do wonders for your reputation gettin in the papers’ he’d always say, I’d always shake my head or roll my eyes when he wasn’t looking.
The night of the full moon in October was different this time. Graf was more spirited than usual. Of course, his real name isn’t Graf, we just call him that because he is a dab hand with a spray can. He had two paint canisters in his pocket when we met, he came up to me and pulled them out holding one in each hand.
“How bout down to Kipper’s Hill on the railway tracks? I know a little spot where the trains stop for five minutes. We can swoop in like James Bond, quickly tag the train and jump off, that’s your mission Jake if you choose to accept it.”
I still remember thinking to myself ‘that’s Mission Impossible isn’t it?” I don’t know why I chose to accept, I can’t even draw and I remember on many occasions telling Graf that it would be far more productive if he picked up a paint brush and easel, it never did that guy with the white beard any harm, what was his name again? Ralf Horris or something? Anyway….
We ran down the grassy bank and leaped over the wire fencing onto the railway tracks at Kipper’s point. There was a little gap between the bottom of the hill and the tunnel. It was a good hiding place while we waited for the 7’oclock stop. Graf knew all the train times, he would have been an excellent train spotter. He had sprawled his name across most of the regional trains. A big G, little r, big A, little f with a smiley face. I wish I could have had his artistic flair.
It was on the hour and on time, stuttering along the tracks it slowly came to a stop.
“This is it come on!” shouted Graf and I followed. I usually played the sidekick in most of the missions, I was just along for the ride.
Graf ran up to the train and pulled out the red spray can and started to spray the side cabin, he looked over to me and offered me the blue can to do my bit. My excuse was that I was bad at art, and that I should keep a lookout for railway men. The real reason was that I knew what we were doing was wrong.
“You never do the dirty work, I’m beginning to think your not a real friend at all.” In his frustration he put the red can loosely in his pocket and opened the blue can stepping up onto the ladder in between the carriages to get higher. The red can fell onto the ground below.
“Pick that up for me and throw it up, I need that for the smiley face.”
Just as I bent down to pick it up, Graf had spotted someone’s footsteps come alongside the carriage on the tracks. When I stood back up to give him the can he was gone, like a ghost vanishing into the air. The next thing I knew, someone was grabbing me by the collar.
It was the train inspector, “Oi oi, what do we have here, looks like I’ve caught you red handed little fella”
More like caught 'carrying the can' I thought.
Fast forward two months, and I am standing in the prosecution box all on my own in the local court. No contact with Graf despite several phone messages and visits to his house. His status on MSN remained ‘offline’ for the duration of the months. How could he of done this to me? There he was questioning my friendship to him on that night, and here I was about to be sent to a young offenders institute on account of something he did. It was time for the judge to give his verdict and I was close to tears.
‘We’ve been trying to find you for some time Young man, you’re name is on most of the trains in this town, you are a menace to society…’
He was about to continue when the doors at the back of the room burst open and an exhausted teenager came shouting down the isle.
“It was me! It was me!” It was Graf. Never have I felt so relieved to see him, no anger just relief. He looked at me, and mouthed the words “I am sorry”.
There was commotion in the court and in the end they took him away and the day was postponed, I went home to find a letter on my doorstep. It was from Graf.
These last few weeks have been hard, I’ve been lonely, sad and depressed. No one to have fun with, no one to talk to, but most of all no one who understands me, not like you. I’ve come to realise that our friendship is more important than anything else in this world.
Graf was sent to the offenders institute for 6 months, and I went to see him every week during that time. Our friendship was solid for the next 25 years.
And I hope, that even now as I read this to you all sat here today, that Garry is looking down on us, and hears me when I say that these memories will always remain in my heart and you will always be my friend even in death. Rest in peace, Graf.