Into The Shallows {A Short Story} - Part One

Hi friends. So lately, I’ve been feeling like I’ve lost my writing mojo, like all my creativity has left my body – or at the very least, my brain. And it frustrates me. Yes, I write for a living, but that’s for clients so there’s no real creativity to it. Not the kind where you can just follow where your imagination leads. So, as I was walking home from work last night, I set myself a challenge: to sit down at my laptop, open a Google doc and just write. So I did. I don’t know if you’ll like it or if you’ll want to read more, but here it is…

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Into The Shallows (A Short Story) – Part One

I stood, the water lapping at my feet, fingers curled around the hot mug of liquid heaven in my hand as I watched the sunrise over the ocean. I love this time of day. The way the pale fingers of the dawn creep over the horizon, turning off the stars in the inky black overhead and slowly turned the sky from pale pink to the perfect shade of blue. This is my time of day. Before my kids tumble from their beds, eyes still filled with dreams, hair curly from the salt and sand and begin begging me for food. Behind me, the wooden gate creaks open and I turn to see the father of those troublemakers make his way down the beach towards me, surfboard tucked under one arm, the top half of his wetsuit hanging free from his waist. Even after 20 years, the sight of him in the morning still makes me grin. He stakes his surfboard in the sand and bends down for a kiss. The hair across his lower face is soft from years of ocean water, white sand and salty air as his lips touch mine.

“Morning sleepyhead,” I murmur as he slowly relinquishes his hold on my mouth.

“We can’t all exist on 5 hours sleep a night, Wonder Woman,” he replies, his face split by a grin that lights my heart on fire. I giggle in reply.

“Coming out?” he nods in the direction of the waves. “Your laptop will still be there when you return,” he reminds me.

Being an author, full-time mum to four and owning a small shop in town doesn’t leave much time for anything else. But Louis is right, the kids won’t be up for at least another hour or so and we could use some ‘us time’.

“Why not?!” I respond, already turning to grab my own wetsuit and board from the back deck of the cottage. Louis’ face is split, yet again, by a huge grin that makes me want to forget all about the waves, the kids, and anything else for that matter. But that will have to wait for later.

I run through the gate that separates the backyard from the beach and up the stairs to the wooden deck where five surfboards remain, each one a different colour, along with wetsuits, towels, swimsuits and various other beach paraphernalia. I slip off my denim shorts and soft grey cable knit jumper and slide my legs into my wetsuit, hoisting it up around my waist, leaving the arms dangling by my sides. I attach the leash to my ankle and tuck my white and turquoise board under my arm before heading back to Louis at the water’s edge.  

A few minutes later, we’re paddling out side by side, eyes searching for the perfect wave. It’s still early enough that we appeared to have the entire ocean to ourselves. Out of the corner of my eye, I spot it. It’s going to be a big one, ten foot at least. I watch as it moves closer, gaining momentum. Glancing over at Louis, I see him transfixed by the incoming wave, his right arm pulling him round ready. As much as I love the waves, they weren’t my true love. Not the way they are for Louis. These are his waves. I paddle a little further away, making sure he’ll have plenty of space and lay flat on my board ready to ride over the crest.

As the wave hits, I watch as Louis pulls himself up, as light on his feet as a ballet dancer on the stage. To watch him surf is to watch magic. The way the water moves around him as if under a spell only he can weave. As the wave begins to break over him, I see him crouch to begin surfing the inside of the wave. I wait a moment, expecting to see him come out the other end, arms raised in triumph. It always makes his day to catch a big one first thing. But nothing, no Louis, no board, just whitewater. It’s then that I see it, A grey shadow in the water followed by a telltale streak of crimson. Without thinking, I paddle as hard as I can for the shore. Thankfully, the surf was momentarily flat. Getting wiped out by a wave is the last thing I need. Within moments, though it felt like hours, I reach Louis’ now visible board, but he’s not there. I feel in the water for his leash, find the cable and pull hard, expecting him to be at the end, but instead, all I pull out is cable. No ankle strap and no Louis. I swing around wildly, my eyes scanning the ocean but I can’t see him. My heart pounding in my ears, as I swing wildly from side to side. Then I see him, in the shallows, spluttering as he coughs up water, blood pouring from his left knee.

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If you’d like to read more, let me know.

Love,

Annéka xo