Sunday, 20 May 2012


          “Jeeez !”

          Terry stretched out and sucked in a great breath of damp air, the breath turning into a yawn as he stood in the doorway of the caravan. Out of instinct he glanced down at his mobile phone, laying next to the sink, the screen was blank; the battery had run out a day ago. He didn’t worry about it.

          He wasn’t sure what to do now. He knew it couldn’t last for much longer – this return to his past, this getaway from reality. The money was fine, he had enough for a long time whilst he was living like this. It was just that sooner or later he’d either run into someone who knew him from home – this place could be like that – or someone would put two and two together and track him down here to see what the hell he was doing with his life.

          So, only one thing to do then.

          Ten minutes later he was in the water. There were a couple of kids out there, maybe fifteen or twenty years younger than him, but otherwise he was on his own. His suit was rubbing at his neck and he reached in to adjust the leather that held the necklace that Dave had given him. As he pulled it free of the neck of the suit he remembered where he’d seen it before. Joe had been wearing it that time he’d last seen him in the shop – it looked shiny and new, incongruously so, when he’d thrown the cigarettes over at him. Terry allowed himself a small smile at the thought. Then tucked it back in. There were links to the past everywhere – you just had to remember where the past was sometimes. Idly he wondered if Joe had been wearing it when he died. He dismissed the thought at once – way out of line – better not to consider that sort of thing.

          He bobbed in the water, astride the board, the waves travelling under him, lifting him and gently settling him back down. Terry knew that the water didn’t move – what was moving was the energy. Energy from way out there in the middle of the ocean, it might be from a light breeze some three or four hundred miles away, causing a ripple, which grew and picked up more wind, acting like a great sail, picking up more and more until it swept underneath him and then hit the slope of the beach. Then it rose up and toppled over, sending all the energy crashing down onto the rocks and sand. If he was lucky one of the waves would pick him up as well and the energy would transfer into his board, sending him slicing across the face. Thing was, where did all the energy go then ? Some noise, sure, probably even a little heat, although not so’s you’d notice in this water. But where did the rest go – or even where did the energy from the noise go?

          Some of it must surely be up there, along that thin coastal strip that people cling to so much. The energy must do things to the land, the people.

          Terry thought of Joe and his energy, of Jaz and his restlessness, even Dave, although in Dave’s case the energy seemed to be somewhere else, somewhere hidden and subdued.

          A set came through and Terry swung around to paddle for the third wave in the set. He always reckoned that was the best, although he had no evidence to back this. He worked his arms trying to match the speed of the wave, lifting his legs clear of the water, feeling the board start to slide along the face. He missed it. He swung around resignedly and paddled back out again.

          Looking up as he did this he saw a figure up on the cliff top – something familiar, too far away to see through his salty eyes – but it seemed they were looking down at him. The other guys had had better luck with that set and were a long way inside of Terry now, the person up there was definitely looking down at him. It could be someone he knew, he sensed that, but identifying who was beyond him as the spray blew back from the ridges of the waves as they broke just  behind him and the air filled with a multitude of spectral colours in the weak rays of the early morning sun. When he looked up again there was no-one there.

          Terry was unnerved for a moment and then another set built around him and he caught it, he was away, down the face, freefalling for an instant and then settling in to the face of the wave, a clean wave, slicing along the spinning green water, arm outstretched and feet planted solidly on the board. Breaking behind him, the water threw up a churning wake of white water, foam and sand. Terry stayed ahead of it, he was grinning, the water began to curve down in front of him too now as the wave collapsed from the opposite end. He pushed down, shifted his weight, turned back into the wave and gracefully slipped over the back and into the calm water behind. He was laughing. A perfect ride, a class wave. No-one to see it though.

          He looked back up at the cliff top, no-one. Shame he thought, he’d have liked at least one person to see it. But he’d ridden it and he was happy enough.

          Happy enough to start the walk back through the knee deep water and up onto the beach. It was only going to disappoint, carrying on after that. Only going to be an act he couldn’t follow.

          He put his board down just out of the water’s reach and sat next to it looking inland. Yeah, he thought, pretty much all of his life he’d been trying to follow acts he shouldn’t have tried. Those things it would have been best to have left alone and stored in the past, safely. But he kept trying to match them and never did. This wave at least was his and his alone and he wasn’t going to spoil it. He headed back across the sand, still grinning, back up to the village and into the site. Someone seemed to be walking parallel to him off to the side of the beach, there in the long dune grass. But when he looked there was no-one there again.

          The shop was shut when he reached the village. Unusual, but things were since Joe had died. Dave was never quite as good at getting up for the early start. Terry ambled back to his van, looked in the cardboard box of shopping he’d not yet unloaded and pulled out some bacon and eggs. That wave deserved a good fry up.

some days just need surf music.....Las Chicas Del BonBon

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