The Sea Can Take – SHORT STORY

surf

      SURFBOARD WASHED UP; broken. They were still catching waves, I was sure of that. No more paddling, just one grand wave, ever moving, never breaking. Of course the mind plays tricks, tries to convince us there’s a life beyond life.

It would be greedy, don’t you think? One is enough. Some of us get to age until we are as helpless as babies once again. Gilly got twenty five. Enjoyed every minute that guy.

Supposedly it’s all the more tragic. So full of life they said, always smiling. Never said a bad word, the usual news friendly regurgitations. He was a real son of a bitch on a bad day. But then, aren’t we all?

Fuck it. He got twenty five years, loved every one, or so it seemed.

He’d been in the sea since the age of six, and if he didn’t have to leave to eat and sleep, he’d never have set foot on land again. Nobody thought to question why he was out there bobbing on the obliging Pacific’s blue skin, day after day. Not once. The assumption was he loved surfing so much, it was scandalously obvious that was his reason for bonding with the seas margins.

Undeniably he loved it. But not half as much as people thought. Not even half as much again.

No. What it really represented was detachment. From people. People didn’t make sense to him. He understood how people functioned, just couldnt hang with it. Their worries and stresses over the trivial…no – Gilly had to surf, like an addict needs theirs; to get away from them, to free his mind.

It’s a fucking tragedy he’s gone. And 99% of the people mourning his loss, he would never have given a shit about. Not that they cared. Once someone’s gone, there’s no holding back. Amazing how much people miss him now he’s dead. ‘Bit like anyone of even a speck of fame. They become more important than they were and might ever have been, through the long, long lens of death. Especially those early to the grave.

Looking out there, sand between my toes, my shirt rippling in the wind, I put my hand to my forehead and squinted at the sparkling swell. Gilly, you son of a bitch, I know you’re out there.

The conditions looked near perfect. Tomorrow they would be. I’d come back early, beach to myself, and Gilly and I would surf like old times. Typical really. He didn’t even need a surfboard. He was that good.

 

lion around 2

33 Comments

  1. I found the narrator’s laid back, pragmatic outlook refreshing. I love the sarcasm dripping from this statement: “The assumption was he loved surfing so much, it was scandalously obvious that was the reason for bonding with the seas margins.”

  2. This has extra appeal to me because of there being such a large surfing community here in Cape Town – made it easy to get a sense of place. I think what I like most is that this feels like a real person talking about a real person – no perfection on show here, just honesty and it’s all the more believable and powerful because of it. Nice work.

      1. No – I don’t, but my sister in law and her family base their whole life around surfing so some of the culture rubs off on me. My nephews are both excellent surfers – the younger has a billabong sponsorship which is a wonderful hand-me-down route for my son! I’m sure my kids will probably surf and at some point I’ll try – for now I’ll stick to running marathons. Much easier than all that balancing and swimming 🙂

        Are you a surfer? Or was this just fictional inspiration?

      2. That’s awesome. And marathons have less sharks lol
        I never surfed but I used to boogie board in California. So a small bit of inspiration from that, and the rest gleaned from documentaries and snippets here n there.

      3. Proof of the quality of your writing then as the whole thing felt very natural and believable.

        Yep…a few less sharks on the road for sure lol

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