Saturday December 15, 2001
Cape Town, South Africa
This is the very hardest correspondence that I have ever had to write and I hope that you understand, once you have read it, why it has taken so long to write this to you, in spite of pleadings from Steve.
I am not sure whether you have tried to contact me via my Hotmail address, but I stopped it, because of all the SPAM mail that was coming through.
Cody was involved in a very serious motor accident during the early hours of the morning on Saturday 3rd November. He was apparently coming home from a party with friends. He was admitted to hospital and underwent emergency surgery. His injuries were incredibly serious and he never regained consciousness. He passed away a few hours after surgery.
I wish there was something more comforting that I could say to you because I know that you have lost a son, at least that is the impression that I have always gained from you, and most certainly from Cody who loved you incredibly. So no, I do not know how you must feel, so I will refrain from the cliche.
A memorial service was held for Cody which was attended by hundreds of his friends, including Paul who arrived on the day of the service. Him and Mark read the tribute which was more than I could bear so I left the service at that stage.
A private cremation was held and Cody's ashes were scattered on Sunday 18 November. I have attached two notes from Steve. I don't think it was his intention that I forward them to you but I feel that he says it better than I could.
On a personal note of observation. You, besides the obvious, were the best friend that Cody ever had and I think he spoke to you about the sort of things he would have liked to talk to his dad about. The two of you complimented each other in that you gave Cody a balance in his life that most youngsters will never see. I think Cody gave you the inspiration to write the most beautiful stories that have inspired more than one generation of reader.
I have had the privilege of seeing Cody but I was never as close as the two of you. I enjoyed doing things for him, like helping him with his graphics and his website, which is something Steve has asked me to look into. Right now I find it difficult but I feel that Cody said a few good things on his site which should be read by many. Like the labelling comments, and he got the inspiration to write that from you.
I am not going to write any more right now Gary. I feel that I know you quite well and would like to correspond in the future. Steve has said that he will write to you as well, but right now he does not have the right words to say to you. Who will have? I know that he clings to every little memory of Cody, including visits to your site using Cody's logon but he's now feeling guilty about having done that and has asked me to tell you that he's doing it.
There is one more thing that I would like to say. You always said that there was only one Cody. And you were right. But, Gary, there are hundreds of thousands of boys out there who live for your writing and learn from it and it gives them some bounds of comfort to know that they are not alone in an incredibly alien world. It would be an injustice to Cody's memory to not continue with your incredible talent.
I won't write any more until I get a reply to this mail. Steve can, for the moment, be contacted using Cody's old mail address because he lives in there.
Hey John. You need to write to Gary and tell him about Cody. Theres a shit load of mail come in and one of them from a few weeks back is from Gary who thinks that Codys fucking their friendship over. I thought that you would have written already. I dont want to sound all fucked up aggro but Gary did a fucking lot for Cody and I dont think its fair that he thinks Codys forgotten him. And no I cant write the mail because Im using Codys and just fucking imagine that mail coming from Codys email addy. I also dont know what to say. I hate laying this on you but I thought that you said you were going to write to him. Hes going to be wondering about Wingnut and Mark as well. You can tell him that theyre okay. Wingnut has taken it the hardest but I think hes going to be okay. Cody was like his big brother. Paul has gone back to England. Maybe you also want to do something about Codys web page. Youve got the code for it and you know all his passwords and shit. Im okay. Like everyone Im fucking lost but I guess everyone will come around in time. Its a fucked up time of the year though, as you can imagine. I know that its hard for you too even though you didnt have contact but youre the only person I can think of to write this thing. Please dont leave it too long. You can also tell Gary that Ive been using Codys id to get into the Mr B web page but Ill stop if he wants. Thanks. Steve
Hey John. This has taken a while but I know you understand. Sunday before last we scattered Cody's ashes behind the back line. It was fucking hard to say the fucking least. It was me , his dad , Wingnut , Paul , Mark , Steph and a few of our other surf friends. It was one of those magic fucking mornings that Code used to enjoy on his dawn patrols so I know that with everything else this was even harder for his dad. His mom didnt come down to the beach.
Oh my fuck this is so hard. While Im writing its like its happening right now. Codys dad wanted Wingnut to paddle the ashes out but he couldnt. The little dude just cried the whole time which didnt help me trying to control myself. Codys dads eyes were tearing the whole time and I don't know how he managed to control himself.
So Mark paddled the ashes out. I was fucking expecting him to drop them in the shore line cos Ive seen him paddle before. But its like maybe he felt Cody there with him and he took it slow and easy all the way and paddled like a pro. It was really quiet. The surf was gentle and more glassy rollers than anything else. It was warm as well so none of us were wearing suits. Nobody said anything on the way out. It was my first time out since the accident and I kind of expected to see Cody paddling out next to me chirping his normal bullshit. I think that was the hardest for me not seeing Cody out on his stick. We followed Codys dad out and when he stopped we all sat on our boards. Wingnut has earned a lot of respect from all the guys cos we were like sitting not knowing what to do next and he piped up that all the sad faces are bullshit and thats not how Cody wouldve wanted this to be. Then Mark told everyone about the story of how he first became friends with Cody when he was in hospital and the fights they had and how they used to laugh. I think thats really the hardest. Cody laughed almost all the time, when he wasn't shoving his fist into mine or someone elses face. Codys dad took his ashes and scattered them. That was really so fucked up and more than any of us could handle. Wingnut paddled off and sat staring out to sea. Paul Mark and me paddled up to him and we sat there just watching the rollers and the horizon.
The next hard thing is for someone to write to Gary and let him know. Id like you to do that and I know its hard but I dont know what the fuck to say. Gary was like a second dad to Cody and Cody felt as close to him as to any of us. I feel bad about not writing to him but I will later. Id also like to keep Codys web page going somehow. Not yet tho cos I dont know what to do but for now its going to have to change so people stop thinking that hes out there somewhere. Let Gary know that Codys folks are handling it okay , as well as anyone can expect them to. Christmas time is going to be the hardest for them and everyone else but theyre pretty strong and anyway we all go around there still and I think they like that. They put on a brave show when I go around. Wingnut almost camps there and spends a lot of time in Codys room which is still the same as he left it. So please write to him. I dont know how hes going to handle this cos I know he thought the sun shone out of Codys ring. Maybe you can tell him that Codys hanging out with his pink fairy. Cody always used to joke about the pink fairy when the two of us were making love to each other. That is something that I miss a lot, the closeness that we shared. I think thats what all his friends miss.
Seeya John. I know this is hard for you too. Steve.
When I received John's email, I was shocked. But I suppose you could also say, in a way, that I was prepared for something like this sooner or later. I remember telling Cody many times that hitching rides into town was dangerous, and that hitching rides home in the early hours of the morning was even more dangerous. But advice like that to teens falls on deaf ears. They're indestructible.
Yes, I've been crying, and for a long time I'll continue to feel the awful sadness and emptiness of losing the best friend I've ever had. No more emails; no more Cody graphics. No more "hiya Gary" or "luvya". Ever. It's just so fucking permanent. But I'm also incredibly thankful for having known Cody. He inspired me to write the Daniel stories, and Daniel, in turn, helped to save the lives of Cody and his friend Paul moments before their suicide attempt in 1997 would have been successful. Cody lived for another four years, during which time he told me about his life, and his relationships with his friends. I was able to turn them into stories so that Cody, Paul, Mark, Wingnut, Steve, Steph, Nick and others could profoundly touch the lives of people like you and me. Cody's death has now turned those stories into treasures. Cody may no longer be with us in the physical sense, but he has left us an irreplaceable legacy. He has given me the unique opportunity to document his life and the lives of his friends so that he will live on in the words he inspired me to write.
God only knows how devestated Cody's folks must be. He was their only son. Wingnut would have been totally crushed. And Mark? He was going to visit Cape Town to spend Christmas with Cody. Instead, he visited Cape Town for Cody's memorial. And as you read in Steve's email, he was the one who paddled Cody's ashes out to the back line... a fitting place if ever there was one for Cody to rest in peace.
None of us will ever forget that lovable scallywag. None of us will ever forget the difference he made. He did more for people like you and me in those few years than most of us could hope to do in several lifetimes. Yes, there was only one Cody, and there will never be another.
Cody is dead? His ashes scattered? It's difficult to comprehend. My life has revolved around him for the past four years or so. Before that, I didn't even have a life. John's right. It would be an injustice to the memory of Cody for me not to continue writing stories. But it's not gonna be easy without my "partner" beside me to guide me. I don't think the reality of Cody's death has really sunk in yet.
If there's one consolation, it's probably that he didn't survive his horrific injuries. Many years ago, my best friend at the time, Kurt, crashed his hang glider. He survived a coma after some weeks, but was never anything like his former self. Cody, on the other hand, will forever be the person we knew and loved. He will forever be a teen. And he will forever be my hero.
I really don't know what else to say right now. I knew that I had to write something after receiving the worst possible news this morning, but I suppose it will take some time for me to collect my thoughts, and to come to terms with this most terrible of all terrible realities.
I'm grateful to Steve and John for letting me know how Cody felt about me... a close friend, confidant, and father figure. Cody would sometimes tell me how he felt, but that was pretty rare cos he wasn't into being too "wussy". I only wish I'd heard his voice, and his laugh. I envy those who did. He did once say that he loved me more than I'd ever know. I can tell you this: his love for me was/is the most special I could ever have hoped to receive from anyone. And I mean anyone.
I will never again be loved by anyone the way Cody loved me, and I will never again love another person the way I loved Cody. But that's cool. Once in a lifetime is more than enough. I'm just glad our paths crossed, and that for a few short years we were able to share something very, very special: not only between ourselves, but also with you.
I'm not gonna say goodbye, Code. I never will. Somehow, I hope that you're still around. Maybe you are. For the first time in more years than I care to remember, I put real presents under the Christmas tree. Prior to this year, I would decorate the base of the tree with empty boxes and bottles wrapped in gift paper. When I made the decision to place real presents under the tree this year [and I even bought a new tree], your ashes had already been scattered over the back line. Coincidence? Maybe. Anyway, if you are out there somewhere, keep an eye on me. Remind me always to be grateful for having known you, and not to get too maudlin about your passing. Your job's not over yet, mate. I still need you.
PS: I've often thought about having my ashes scattered over your local beach. It seems home to me. Because of you, I have a sense of belonging to Cape Town and your beloved Table Mountain. So I'll see you there one day, and then I'll be able to hear your voice and your laughter. I'll look forward to that. Meantime, thanks for everything. MrB was, is, and always will be dedicated to the Captain. YRC-BT!
[There’s one more chapter of The Codeman to go. The final chapter on Monday – #135 - will be a convo between me and my scallywag mate. My soul buddy. I need to chat to him about my future direction. I want to know that somehow he will still be a major part of MrB, and everything I do. Otherwise, there would be no point in my continuing. I once wrote that I couldn’t imagine my life being Codyless, and I still can’t. He picked me up, dusted me off, and turned me into what I’ve become for the past six years. How do you replace that? Anyway, if you wanna contribute to The Codeman’s final chapter, go for it. I need all the help I can get. MrB]
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Codeman Part 135