Monday, September 29, 2008

That Sharky Feeling

It was our last afternoon today. The waves have mellowed further still. Nic’s determined we make the most of our last day, and while I loudly complained about my deflated arms, I agreed we had to do it. We had to surf just one more time today. (Such problems is life) Without any afternoon storm clouds to veil its light, the sun beat down with unusual intensity and prompted a mini-mariachi dance just to get from the black sand past the sea flotsum to the cool water.
Perspiring from just the short walk down, we paddled out one last time. A hot offshore breeze lacerates the gentle afternoon waves, little dappled cuts that sparkle with each movement. They reflect the pale-blue cloudless sky. In the afternoon sun, everything takes on a silver-tint. Staring straight ahead, paddling, it starts to feel like sky and sea are all that exist anymore.
It’s like we’re all old friends now. Those in the lineup smile or wave, or the Texans just call out a celebratory, “Nic and Joya!” as we catch up on all the nothing that has passed since the morning’s session.

Tired, I don’t do much. I try for a few but can’t seem to make my arms move like they should anymore. Time passes and I wonder if I’ll end my last session with the paddle of shame back to shore, so far away.

A wave rolls in and feel it pass under me and watch it roll to the shore, leaving behind a smooth surface with only a few bubbles of foam to mark the passing. It flops and struggles in the water then. Something dark and big. The water boils, smoothes and another wave rolls through and wipes it out completely.

Frozen, this guy looks at me – you saw that? Don’t know what that was but it was big.
I saw it. We watch the spot, but nothing more. We conclude it’s a turtle. But I’ve made up my mind it’s time to be done. The next wave comes in. The first of a big set. Heartpounding, knowing that if I don’t catch this one, I’ll get washed right over the shark-turtle spot. Shiver. I wave my tired arms as fast as I can, my heart pounds, as I’m pulled up and up. I slide down as I try to stand and spray dusts my shoulder and head. It’s not pretty, but on accident, I catch the biggest wave of my week. Thanks to a shark attack that never happened.

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