Archie Gregson lived at Sandy Bay, the guesthouse next to ours.
My mother didn’t approve of Mrs Gregson, her home’s faded pink paintwork, the fact she didn’t wash her step every day or her net curtains every week.
“Clean glass means clean guests, Phillip,” said Mum, scrubbing our windows with balled sheets of the Daily Mail.
I don’t know about their guests, but she had a point with Archie. A torque of dirt circled his neck, river valley runnels up his forearms. In summer he smelt more like the sea than the breeze did.
But when you’re 12 you don’t love people because they’re clean. You love them for skipping stones, for teaching you to catch spiky crabs with a line of string and a chicken bone.
You love them for not laughing when you fall over. For keeping your worst secrets the best.
And so I loved Archie.