I learnt about the business of teaching and made it through three terms - English, Geography and History as well as rugby and my weekly singing club. I ate luscious paw-paw and experienced a devastating hurricane that came down from The Gilbert and Ellice Islands. With Richard, I wandered in the eye of Hurricane Bebe when the calmness was surreal, pressing us into ourselves with invisible thumbs.
One of the best things was Mofmanu Beach. So white and so deserted. Many was the time I wandered down there after school to swim along the edge of the reef. And I drank grog with the village elders - not in a ceremonial way but just to get spaced out, listening to Pacific waves breaking on the reef. The elders sat quietly in the shadows like buddhas. Words were unnecessary. Sometimes I was the one who pounded those yanqona roots under that starry sky where shooting stars and satellites flew nightly.
There was no electricity and no airstrip. Rotuma was the entire world. My mother and father, my brothers and my girlfriend Pamela were just dreams - tricks of the mind. Young men carried machetes to cut the lush growth in the bush. Young boys shinned up coconut palms to collect green coconuts that contained sweet, sparkling milk. I kissed pretty Maria-Alisi one full moon night. And we listened to the news on Radio Fiji as if tuning in to voices from some distant planet.
Till it was time to leave. Time to go. Beyond that vast horizon was the rest of my life.