If you haven’t read Part One… click here.
Me, Brad and John get out to take a break and decide to go have breakfast. I’m hungry as hell and dying for coffee. We eat omelettes and tease each other. We are in Bradenton, but it could be Nicaragua— I feel so far away from my ordinary life. I could not be happier.
We head to The Street after breakfast. I don’t usually surf here because it gets aggro and I don’t feel like I have the skills to back up my presence. But today I’m with The Kingpin, so I figure what the hell.
I know something awesome is about to happen because the portapotty is being changed out just as we arrive. If a fresh port-a-let isn’t a good omen, I don’t know what is. We amble and joke around down the path and emerge onto the beach. There is not one person surfing. We look at each other like, “did we miss something?”
I have a harder time reading the waves here, but once I finally get one, I feel like a rockstar.
“Surfing with you is just like surfing with a dude now. You’ve become a real surfer.” Brad says to me. My lip is starting to split from smiling so much.
Everytime I duck dive, my bikini bottoms slide around. John has a very paternal nature so this vexes him.
“You need to get tighter bottoms.” he says, looking very concerned.
“Do you think you would surf that point in Nicaragua now?” he asks me. I still don’t think I would, I tell him. Then he asks Brad and they discuss my new surfing abilities for awhile. Then there is some talk about triangulation and exactly where to sit out here to be in perfect position.
“You’re not going to put that in the blog are you?” John asks.
“Oh, John, you know better than that. I only write about my feelings.” We laugh.
Surfing with Brad and John is the closest I’ll probably ever come to feeling like just one of the guys. I know that neither one of them is trying to land me in any way and we can just be honest-to-god friends enjoying the surf. I feel loved, but not coveted. Effortless belonging, it’s an amazing feeling. Amazing. I wish I felt like this all the time.
I get out of the water to take a break. I lay on my board and watch the wind kick up sand across the gray expanse of empty beach. I watch the guys bobbing in the water, paddling around in unspoken, organic choreography. My eyes are heavy and my body is buzzing with exertion and elation.
“Hey!” Brad wakes me up, shaking his head, “how the hell do you do that?”
All I see are his sandy feet when I open my eyes. I am so tired it’s retarded. All I can do is laugh. I get up and try to keep up with the guys as we walk to the shower. We are going to take a break at Starbucks before the next session.
Brad gets me my latte and we eat twenty-five bucks worth of Starbucks snacks and shoot the shit. I’m hoping that the latte will give me a second wind. I could sleep right here sitting up.
“You’re done.” John says, looking at me. “Done.”
I must look the way I feel.
“I wish I could surf as long as you guys.” I say.
Brad’s truck is 45 minutes away at my house, so if I am done for the day he’ll have to ride back with me now, get his truck and drive all the way back.
“If I was your girlfriend, I would have to hang out and watch and not make you drive back.” I say, “but I’m not so I’m going to go home and sleep instead.”
“Isn’t that awesome that you can do that?” he says.
“It is awesome.” We laugh.
On the drive back we talk a little about how well I surfed today— my best day ever— but mostly we just listen to the radio. In my driveway, he moves all his stuff from my car to his, says good-bye and is gone. I go inside, take off my clothes and crawl into bed, sand and salt and all. When I close my eyes, all I see are sets rolling in against a horizon. Nothing matters right now. I am happy.
* * *
One of the guys that was out that day sent me these pics. One is Brad shredding and the other is me almost surfing… I wasn’t sure John would want the notoriety so I’m going to let him remain anonymous (if that is possible). I can’t remove that last photo from the gallery because it is the featured image for this post– sorry. :/