My friend Foz died today, killed this morning in a motorcycle accident on the freeway on his way to work. He was only thirty-three years old. A breathing, vibrant, passionate young man, full of promise & hope & expectation.
I haven't been close to him for a while now, but we'd shared a few memories together: so many cold, empty, windy days out at The Point, when no one else could be bothered; quiet talks at the lookout while sea-gazing; waves of a lifetime at empty reef passes in Polynesia; handwritten overseas correspondence in the days before email; a few dinners with my growing family over the years; the wide smile & wild sparkle of his eyes on his wedding day; the wounded disappointment in those same eyes when his marriage failed a few years later.
My favourite memory of Foz is being cocooned with him in the back of a pickup between a pile of surfboards, while driving across Upolu, Western Samoa: blissed out after weeks of surfing ourselves silly, watching the sun sink across the jagged teeth of grand verdant tropical mountains, while drinking several longnecks of good hearty Vailima beer & toasting our good fortune. It was nearly fifteen years ago now, but it doesn't really feel like it. We were young & bullet-proof & life was endless & good.
Right now a southerly change has arrived to kick the guts out of the heat of this summer's day. Rain & wind lash the windows, as if in recognition. It is fitting: so should the sky so rage against dark thief death.
Foz was a surfer & a dreamer. He was deeply in love with the sea & the earth & his creator. Finally, he has arrived to the place of final, everlasting, once-&-for-all homecoming.
Farewell old mate, & welcome home.