In about a week’s time I’ll be hopefully on the shore of the French atlantic coast in Brittany.
Ten years ago I’ve been already there. We were a group of friends, Henny, Yann, Giannina, Julia, Yannick and me, and just a year short of graduating high school. In August we decided to head out to France, in an adventurous journey of overnight bus and train, to spend a week or so in Yann’s family’s little cottage near the coast. In Erquy we promised to dig out the garden in exchange for room and board. Well, we provided for ourselves, but we were really happy about the house.
Being just around 18, none of us could drive anything but a bike, and so we hiked and biked around the area. We were enough to split up on days, so some of us explored the coast on foot while others just enjoyed the sun on the beach, playing volleyball or go for a swim.
Last week ten years ago it was Yannicks birthday. We celebrated with Haribo and beer and even his parents stopped by for a bit. I don’t recall exactly why they were in the area, but they were very welcome.
I was on antibiotics due to a tick’s bite some days before the holiday. I was extremely light sensitive and alcohol affected me way more than I expected. One night I tried to climb out a window because I didn’t want to stay behind while the others went to the beach. I was way too drunk. Yann and Yannick used their towels to shush me back inside. I fell into bed and slept.
To this day I remember that summer. It was my first time on an adult-free holiday, far away from home, surrounded by friends. I just bought my first DSLR, a Canon EOS 350D, and played so much with it. I grew closer with Giannina, with whom I only had few interactions before. And I had so much fun with all of them.
When it came to fulfil our debt to Yann’s parents, the digging in the garden, Yann, Yannick and I went topless and just by sheer muscle power moved around 2 cubic meters of dirt. We then first posed for some photos and then proceeded to drink and dance to music in the streets. It was glorious.
As with any good time, also this one went past way too fast. And with any good time, this one created plenty of long-lasting memories. The meals we prepared together, the evenings at the beach, the long hikes on the mountainous shores of Brittany, the jokes and the discussions. I miss the days we had.
Today, six years ago, a drunk driver ran his car over Yannick, who was biking down a street in San Francisco. The driver checked what had happened, got back into his car and drove away. Yannick died.
I miss Yannick.