On Tuesday he would've been 37, but he never made it to 21.
A talented surfer, experienced water baby, inexplicably he drowned during a shallow dive on the Transkei Wild Coast a year or so after we all finished school.
He was there with friends who pulled him out the water and drove him over bumpy rural roads to the nearest settlement, but he'd gone in the water. Blacked out and slipped away.
We were all scattered around the world when we got the news, but his funeral was huge. And horrible. I've not seen so many men crying together before or since.
On Tuesday I went to the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert with a dear friend from high school. It was incredible. The music I'd known would be good, but I'd not expected that pure, white hot energy.
I'd been thinking about Adam anyway, I always do on his birthday, and we spoke about him that evening, but during the concert he came to mind again. He'd had that energy - taut, electric, unstoppable we'd thought.
What do you do with a friend who died so long ago? I've no idea what he'd be like now, I can't look to my male friends of the same age and see him in them. Even by the time he died we'd lost a lot of contact, I didn't know what his life plans were.
In my mind he burns a bright 16 year old flame, hot energy, golden light, never still, fiercely bright. We talk about keeping the memory alive, but with him I've never had to try. Eternally young, he lives on and on for as long as those who knew him do.
I've thought about contacting his Mum, I imagine she'd be the most comforted for knowing this. Should I call her to say I remember his smell? Would she want to know I remember how his hair felt, the shape of his ears, how his mouth tasted?
One year, unbeknownst to me, he wrote all over my pencil case: 'Adam is King.' It would amuse him to know that every year, on 5 February, he is. Over and over again.