My brother James has surfed, but he doesn’t own a surfboard. He doesn’t know what the swell is doing, or forecast to do, on any given day. He has a good job. He plans out his weekends in advance. Though he has surfed, he wouldn’t describe himself as a surfer, and thus is not susceptible to the same fanaticism as I am.
I don’t know if I can do this. The voice seemed to emanate from somewhere underneath the black neoprene brace wrapped around my right knee. Clad in several layers of thick Velcro and flanked by rigid metal hinges, my knee felt more vulnerable than it probably was, like a baby suffocated in swaddling clothes.
I have a vivid memory of a young boy throwing trash out the window of a bus in Mexico. Piece by piece, his mother handed him a plastic shopping bag, a food wrapper, a Styrofoam plate, a fork, a plastic water bottle. Each item twirled briefly in the air before settling on the side of the road, amidst piles of colorful and stinking detritus. The little boy squealed with delight. His mother clapped her hands. I sat silently next to them, angry and resentful, feeling powerless to do anything about it.
“This doesn’t look familiar,” I said to Heathyr from the backseat. She sat up front navigating on her phone as Dave drove down a dirt road, past goats and chickens and mango trees. Heathyr’s phone promised to lead us to La Saladita, a surf town that I’d visited two years ago. Only, I didn’t remember the road.