I had conspired with George to surprise mum with a visit this off season. Our parents had moved back to Tamworth shortly after George had signed his first professional contract. The City was too busy for them, too hectic.
I first caught a flight up to Sydney to meet up with George. In my 2 seasons back in Australian football we were yet to face each other on the field. Either I was injured, he was injured or one or both of us were away with our respective national sides. It was all a bit disappointing really. Our flight to Tamworth didn’t leave until the following morning though so we had the night to catch up & swap war stories.
It was nice to see him, he’d grown, not only physically, but as a man.
I was quietly impressed.
He had made a home for himself in Penrith in the far west. It was far enough away from the city to escape the majority of the hussle & bussle but close enough to Parramatta to train & such. He took me to his favourite resteraunt before hitting a little bar for a few quiet beers.
For the most part we went unrecognised, bar a few Uni girls who wanted an autograph & to flirt. I felt like a paedophile, these girls wouldn’t be out of their teens yet, but I obliged. Who was I to say no to these pretty little things?
Soon enough a few quiet beers had turned into a binge & by the time morning rocked around we were both quite sick. Thankfully the flight to Tamworth would be short, just long enough to grab some shut eye & rest up before our arrival.
Dad met us at the airport, he was clearly happy to see us. Mum was at home, still unaware of our arrival. We hastily threw our bags into Dad’s ute & made for home, their home at least.
We arrived to screaming & hugs, the surprise had worked out quite well. Mum never suspected a thing, she was shocked, close to fainting by the look.
We spent our time in Tamworth quietly, mostly staying at home. We jogged together each morning to maintain some sort of fitness & visited the little club where I had began my career. I took charge of training on occasion, putting some of the youngsters through some drills I had picked up, George mostly hung back & spoke with a few of the older guys.
In all it was a nice little holiday, very relaxing. It was nice to have someone to cook & clean & fuss over me. It had been a while since that had happened.
All too soon though it was over & we were making our way back to our separate lives. We endured a tearful farewell as we boarded the plane back to Sydney. This time there was to be no lay over for me in Penrith. My flight to Melbourne was to leave just an hour after my arrival. George hung around until I boarded, we shook hands “ see you on the pitch bro” he said as I headed to the gate. I nodded
I was back in training for less than a week when the phone rang. It was George, he was excited! It seemed he was off to Italy. A bid had been accepted. It was a big move.
“Sorry bro, looks like we will have to wait for our face off!”
“No worries mate, go! Make me proud! I know you can do it!”