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.
The days passed, the waves kept pumping, and before I knew it, two weeks had slipped away. I could spend a lifetime in the little town by the river, surfing with my friends, watching throngs of birds come to feed and nest, peeling sunshine-colored mangoes, sticky and sweet. Maybe someday I will shed the skin of my old life and return here, reborn. That is what I told myself in consolation whenever I thought about leaving.
One of my favorite places in the world is a point break that sits at the base of a wide river mouth, tucked away beneath a canopy of palm trees. In the shadow of mountains that sparkle in shades of emerald and jade, the harlot river rages many moods. Sometimes tranquil and blue, she offers her cool bosom to heat-heavy bodies that bask in the shade of her banks. Children jump from a rope swing on the riverbank and cannonball into the water, just shallow enough to stand, just deep enough to dive. Sand piles lazily at the mouth of the river, the water lapping playfully at the shore, seeping into the ocean as gently as a sigh.