My first day at Cambridge High (well, first official day; the actual number one was a half of getting timetables sorted and such) I was sitting in history with my scowl on (this was the time when I HATED Cambridge and didn’t want to be there and was adamant I would make no effort nor friends, with the aim of getting back to Auckland as soon as I could) when the lad next to me struck up conversation. 
His name was Phil, but everyone called him “Viva”. Weird to be named after a handi-towel-slash-Spice-Girl-song, I thought, but I wasn’t one to question the validity behind sobriquets. (It was a good month later I realised his appellation was actually “Beaver”, stemming from his surname of “Bevins”). 
Unspokenly sorted, Beavs and I sat together at the back of history every period from then on. About two days in I learnt of his love for Arsenal and all things football; “I play football,” I casually said. “I actually found out this morning I’ve got a place in the CHS first 11.” 
I tell you what, his eagerness was epizootic. Somehow I managed to bluff my way through some terminology talk about assisting and clearing and boxing and what not, hustling the only footballing female in the class to go along with it (lots of cajoling with my eyes for her to agree that yes, I was a magical midfielder). By the time the bell rung, he was a believing Beaver. 
A couple of days later (after many more lessons discussing football – never soccer – speak) Beavs came to class downtrodden. “I went to watch your game,” he said. “You aren’t in the first 11.” 
And we both pissed ourselves laughing. 
It’s crazy to think that was coming up a decade ago. Almost ten years of bestfriendship, going through waves of strength as every relationship does but continuing to hold true and tight. From the days of wagging to go and get supplies for media studies (our rad teacher Matua let us eat in class, so Beavs and I would often shoot off to the supermarket in the Uturus – his ute – to amass viands. One time as we cut across the field the deputy principal marched over and demanded to know if we’d been wagging. “No miss,” we said, the picture of innocence. “How do you have ice blocks then?” She said, accusingly pointing at the magnums we sillily didn’t shroud. “Philip has a fridge in the car,” I blurted. We both got an after school) and me making him sandwiches every day (usually a medley of pepperoni, cheese, tomato, avocado, an assortment of sauces and lettuce all encased in Vogels – even when I was wagging, which was more often than not, I would drive the 200metres to school in the Raverous to gift him some sustenance), our mateship maintains. 
And it extends. I have been blessed to become friends with both his mother – Loren – and sister – Danielle – in our own rights. Their house in Burns St is like an icon of my teenage and early adult years, of so many deep yarns and drink ups and movie-watching sleepovers. I count the trio as among my very most special people, three I would go to the ends of the earth for if need be. 
Beaver is truly the most beautiful soul. People use that phrase to describe others quite often nowadays, but if there was an actual competition I firmly believe Beavs would take it out. He is so caring, so intent on making people be healthy and happy, that at times he drains himself out in his quest to succour. He is so earnest and advent on filling people up, all coming from a place of utmost love. 
And he is love. We found out the other day that in the Greek word “philosophy”, the “phil” translates to love. I’ve never heard a conversion so correct. Phil really is love; he beams it out like the brightest lighthouse beacon. 
Plus, his wisdom is second to none. Whether it be natural therapies or juicing or how the world works, he spills out with energy and intelligence. But he never forces his ideas and intuition upon you; no. He lays it all out, presenting the facts and perceptions, then leaves you to decide your disposition. But you almost always agree with him – his enthusiasm is like the most infectious euphoria. 
Mummy Deb has always said Beavs should be a radio host – his voice is just beautiful. It’s that perfect pairing of deepness with character, and it just makes you feel safe. (He is also a pretty talented singer, and his “om”s here in mantra chanting are the most rumbling sounds of magnificence). 
It is the most special sensation to think him and I are here, at the base of the Indian Himalayas, studying yoga and health and happiness. It’s something I will always hold close to my heart, the time we truly did what we talked of and went to the other side of the world to grow. One day we want to go to China and study traditional medicine, and from us both being here I know I will do whatever in my power to make that happen. 
Today is July 1, and Beav’s 26th birthday. (As I said to him, what better way to start your second quarter-decade than with a clean intestine? I shall elaborate on in the next post). I think back to ten years ago and our sixteen-year-old selves, and realise that though so much has changed, nothing much has at all. 
He’s still my best friend and one of my all-time favourite humans, and I know it shall remain that way for another six or seven or so decades to come. 
My boy Beavs. 

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