Holy Brothers

One World English Course 3 (Heisei 24) pg. 122-127

As a thirteen-year-old boy living on Long Island, New York, I found comfort in my friends and in our secret places around our neighbourhood. I knew all the best spots: the small parks, the best trees to climb, and the best bushes to hide behind.
It was a cold February. It was report-card day, and as usual I did not get the good grades that would satisfy my father. I was afraid to go home, because I knew my father would be angry. I stood in a small park. I had my report card in my hands. Ron and Scott, my two best friends, were with me.

"Jay," Ron said, "it won't be that bad." He put his hand on my shoulder and smiled.
"I don't know," I said. "This time I feel like it's going to be really bad."
None of us were good students. But we were best friends. Ron, especially, was my oldest friend. I knew he would be at my side, always.
I waited in the park until it began to grow dark. Finally I knew it was time to face my father. As I made my way home, a light snow began to fall. I turned onto my street, and reached home at last. As soon as I opened the door, I knew I was in big trouble. My father was sitting alone in the living room. I saw my report card on the table beside him.

He looked up at me and said, "Sit down, Son." I walked over and sat on the couch beside him.
"Your report card arrived today from school. Do you have anything to say for yourself?" he said.
I looked up at him. Tears filled my eyes. "No," I said softly.
"'No'? Is that all? What am I going to do with you?"
He put his head in his hands. "Your mother and I have decided that it might be best for you to go to a private school."
A private school meant a boarding school and of course it meant leaving my friends. I began to cry and begged my father, "Don't send me away." He just got up and walked away.

The next day, I met Ron at the park. "How'd it go last night?" he asked. I just nodded. He understood right away. In a friendship like ours, sometimes words weren't necessary. "So, do you want to talk about what happened?" he said.
"I'm running away," I said.
He stopped and turned to me. "What do you mean, you're running away? It can't be that bad, can it?" he asked. "Besides, where will you go?"

"Florida."
"Really? Are you serious?" he asked. "You can't run away! You have no money. Nowhere to stay."
"So! I'll figure it out somehow," I said. "I'm leaving tomorrow."
"Tomorrow!" He grabbed my arm. "Jay, you can't do that. You'll never make it alone."
I stared at him for a moment. "So, you're coming with me then?"
"What? ... I don't know ... Maybe ... We can't!"
"I'm going!" I shouted. "So, you better meet me here tomorrow morning at eight, or you may never see me again."
I ran off and left Ron in the empty field.

It was Sunday. I walked to the park with my backpack. The park was empty. Suddenly I saw a boy with a backpack. I knew, even from the distance, that it was Ron. We sat down on a bench and talked―holy brothers united by a strong bond. Ron put his arm around my shoulders and presuaded me to stay. I asked him, "Why, then, did you bring your backpack?" He smiled.
"Just in case."


(Jason Berzow, A Cup of Comfort for Friends, Edited by Colleen Sellより)

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