David and I became close friends when I was 12 and he 13. We were put in the same class when we entered Fraser High from Maeroa Intermediate in 1984.
We quickly became part of a small social group of people who were each outside of the mainstream school. We were rebels who had yet to find causes.
Our rebellion though, was always calculated. David and I tried shoplifting once. It wasn’t alcohol or cigarettes, but two books on history from Whitcoulls that we swiped. David had calculated that there were other benefits to wearing a long overcoat besides looking cool in 1985.
And by the time 4th form came around our social structure was pretty set. We hated rugby heads and posh girls mainly, although David was happy to be cynical about pretty much anything. We played soccer for a while in the world’s worst football team, getting thrashed each weekend. The rest of our time was spent just hanging out, watching the sea of people wearing stonewashed denim walk by.
We tried jogging to keep fit. David would throw stones at my bedroom window to wake me up each morning. The running must have worked because my Mum said to David one day, “I wish I had your legs” ‘cos he was always in pretty good shape.
Needless to say running was just one of our many teenage endeavours. David though, had the selfdiscipline, even at a young age to carry through with those kinds of things. There was always another “Plan A” around the corner.
David also loved to listen to music, particularly on his portable tape deck. He would take his stereo to the Hamilton pools over summer and we’d watch the sights. David would record the radio and lend other people the tapes.
I’m not sure if it was the influence of his older sisters, but David seemed to enjoy an independence at that age that the rest of us didn’t. We gravitated toward him because we felt that here was a guy in charge of his own destiny.
David’s freedom extended to organising a weeklongparty at Anne’s house while the family were away on holiday…a secret she only discovered this week. We survived on Hutton’s Cheese Sizzlers (supplied by David) and Lion Red beer. It played out as a stereotypical 1980’s coming of age movie. Tony started his relationship with his future wife, David proved he could organise the shit out of anything and anyone, and I became a vegetarian.
We learnt a lot from David during those times spent as teenagers. That was a process that has continued as we became adults.
Perhaps however, I’ve learnt the most over the last few months. Through David, I’ve learnt a little about death, but I’ve learnt so much more about how best to live a life.