Consider this data gathered from the imaginary Rhys:
- Rhys is an only child raised by his father and grandfather in one of the high-rise buildings in the background of the photo.
- He and his grandfather, Johnno, have a game of chess constantly in progress by the front door and they try to make a move each time they come or go.
- He was diagnosed with a form of brain cancer in Year 6, had major surgery and was hospitalised on and off for two years.
- He has a double bunk bed in his room because as a kid he wanted to sleep as close to the sky as possible. It’s now a habit and he hasn’t slept on the bottom mattress for years.
- He had never really regarded Danny as a close friend until he started turning up at the hospital all the time during Rhys’ cancer treatment and talking to him as if they were just hanging out and there was nothing to worry about.
- Rhys’ best mate from Year 4 through to Year 6, when he was diagnosed, visited the hospital once with his parents and then never returned. They see each other at school but they’ve never reminded each other of the old days or talked about how their friendship fell away.
- He has twice been beaten up by older boys from the school who tell him to get a life every time they pass in the corridors or out in the yard.
- He has been caught shoplifting with Danny twice but he has been let off both times.
- He loves hanging out in the gardens at night when everyone in the block begins to turn on their lights.
- Despite missing so much school, he has achieved almost straight As for the past two years, even though he does just the minimum.
- He wants to be an architect. He is inspired by skyscrapers and dreams of creating towers of his own.
- The worst thing about having cancer was that he suddenly felt so different from everyone he knew around his own age. He had always thought of cancer as an old person’s disease because the only people he knew who had had cancer were his two grandmothers and an old uncle. He discovered though that there were toddlers and much younger kids in the cancer ward. It made him wonder if they thought that their lives were normal. Rhys felt anything but normal. He hated the cancer tag and hated that the drugs made his hair fall out.
- When Danny started visiting, he realised that he could play around with makeup and hair colour and create a different way of being seen.
- Rhys’ interest in changing his appearance led to Danny and him spending lots of time talking about subcultures like emos and goths.
Consider this data gathered from the imaginary Danny:
- Danny is one of three kids. He has been at school with Rhys since they began primary school.
- His older sister was dux of her secondary school and he resents the attention she gets.
- He has been talent spotted by a soccer club but his real love is art.
- He is disenchanted with school: the pressure, discipline and limited opportunities to focus on art until Year 12.
- He works at a local chicken shop on weekends and can no longer bear the thought of eating chicken.
- He has a severe peanut allergy.
- He visited Rhys at least once a week when he was in hospital and never even asked how he was feeling. Instead, he treated Rhys and spoke to him as if they were in the school yard. They have never talked about brain cancer or the treatments.
- He has a girlfriend who is jealous of the time he spends with Rhys.
- He pierced his own ears in Year 4.
- He attends church with his parents every weekend.
- He produces worms at home and sells them at the local market.
- He has $3000 in the bank and can’t bear to spend any of it.
- He loves that Rhys has been so interested in his music and values. He expects Rhys will copy his style.