Listen while reading: Holocene, Bon Iver
Mid January. The air is warm and sticky, and it’s only 5:30 am. I’m fumbling around in my sheets, searching for the blaring alarm. Next to me, Lucy stirs. We groan and mumble, rubbing eyes, and emerging from our sleepy cocoon. Lucy throws open the curtains, but it’s only darkness outside. I hear the creak of the stairs as she dissapears. I grab my bag and follow.
We strip down in the airless living room, throwing bathers on and grabbing still-damp towels from the laundry. Her dad makes an appearance, rubbing his face and dissapearing into another room. The sound of the garage doors opening splits the silence, and we follow.
The sky is grey now. Her backyard is silhouettes. We haul the stand-up paddle-boards from the garage, sliding them onto the roof of her van. Her dad throws ropes across the roof and secures them, and we wriggle into the back seat.
The sky blushes as we fly down roads, our skin turning golden in the light. We stumble out of the van, salt in the air and the waves just behind us. A board between us both, balanced on our heads. Our feet sink into sand, and we leave it by the shore and return for the second one.
Yellow flits across the sky. The ocean is a mirror. We secure straps to our ankles and grasp paddles in pink hands. Several brave swimmers cut across the water further out. We’re balanced on boards balanced on the surface of an ocean that looks like the sky. Our paddles carve through the water, and we drift further and further out. We discard our t-shirts on the space of board in front of us. Our toes shiver as the water skims across them. We exist in a painting.
Lucy calls out. I turn, I slip, and with a flailing of limbs I dissapear.
It’s cold. I’m laughing, spluttering, throwing myself back across the board and clambering to my knees. Lucy’s nearly crying, doubled over. We paddle to the jetty and climb up rusty ladders, only to throw ourselves back into the deep. The sky is a greyish-blue. Fingers tangled together, feet slapping worn boards, we run down the pier and sink into warm sand, grabbing bags of chips to dip our salty fingers in to.
The world is waking. Dogs sprint along the shore-line with energy that puts us to shame. Coated in sand and tired smiles, we are piling back into the van and leaning into each other, eyes fluttering. We crawl back into bed a quarter of an hour later, drawing the curtains shut and curling up between cool sheets. Sand is caught between my toes and in my eyelashes, and I sleep.
This is a post long overdue, but a moment like this just had to be shared. Sending love from australia, where the days are getting shorter, my toes are getting colder, and I’m pulling out fluffy socks and blankets I’ll be insisting are clothes.