Daniel had always believed in God and always went to youth group. When my parents were out of town they would make me stay with Daniel’s family, who believed in God as well, and attended church on Sundays and lived in a modest house. My mum met them at a time when she was troubled about what she believed in, so she joined their church and made friends. Staying at his house wasn’t bad. We played G-rated Playstation games like Crash Bandicoot and skimmed across the surface of his pool on boogie boards. At night we ate tuna bake and beetroot from the tin. There was always milk on the table as well, instead of fizzy drink or wine. If I stayed at his house on a Friday night, I would go with him to his youth group. We would sit in a tight circle and I would pray with Daniel’s church friends in silence. I didn’t know what they prayed about but I would ask God if we could win soccer on the weekend or that mum would start putting chips in my lunchbox. They were young, like us, and had a cloudiness in their eyes the way Daniel sometimes had when I used swear words or talked about girls. We would all squeeze our eyes shut and rest our sweaty palms on each other’s. I would never normally touch another boy’s hand, but when I prayed with Daniel, I always did. Our grips were only loose though and I could tell he thought it was awkward.
Daniel didn’t go to my school, but sometimes I would say to my friends that he was my best friend. Other times, when he came to my birthday parties, he would sit alone inside and I wouldn’t talk to him the entire time. It was hard to know what kind of friendship we had. I haven’t seen Daniel since I finished high school and moved to the city. The last time I visited home I drove by his house but didn’t stop. Mum said he still lived there and was engaged to a young woman from his church. Even knowing this, I still wonder what he used to pray about when he rested his sweaty palm on mine at youth group.