- snow by red hot chili peppers
“You got this, Jude, alright? I have faith in you,” Patrick grabbed my face in his hands. I nodded.
“I know,” I replied. “I know.”
A small wave drifted by, causing us to dance over the water. We both sat on our boards, dawned in our wetsuits, out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, at Privates Beach in Santa Cruz, California. Out on the sand sat three of Patrick’s friends, all fellow professional surfers and today they were judging me as if I were one of them. It was like our own little surf open, except I was the only competitor. And more than just some petty trophy rested on my shoulders. My relationship with the love of my life was on the line.
I hadn’t seen Johnny for 17 days. A very long 17 days indeed.
“You’ll be amazing,” Patrick went on. “You’ve gotten good.”
I wondered what Johnny’d say if he saw me out here, saw me kiss Patrick on the cheek, turn and paddle deeper into the ocean’s dark expanse. I was doing this all for /him/. I couldn’t get that frantic call from Liv out of my head. Johnny needed me. He needed me now.
“Okay, SHE’S GOING!” Patrick cried over the crash of a mid-sized wave towards his friends at shore. I saw all of them stand, shielding their eyes from the sun and found their views settling on me. I cleared my throat and turned back towards the water, forgetting all about my judges and the large weight on my back. I thought only of my reward – nothing else.
I hummed a simple tune as I paddled farther out, waiting for my wave. Few came but none seemed worthy enough for a surfing showcase. Patrick said the waves were supposed to be good today; where were they?
I sighed, loving the feel of the sun down my back when I saw it – a blue wave began to grow in the distance, mounting larger and larger as it came near. It crashed before it reached me, clearly not the climactic wave of its’ set. But that was good. It meant bigger waves were coming. I sat up straighter and saw the second of its’ set head my way. I drifted over it, rocking in the water, before it crashed behind me. Bigger. Better.
“THIS IS IT!” I could hear Patrick wail in the distance as the next wave began to rise. I rolled my board around and began to paddle with it, feeling the adrenaline pump in my veins like an extra blood supply. I could hear my heartbeat in my ears, so loud that I wondered if it was louder than the crash of a wave. I shook all nervous thoughts away, feeling the sun against my back again and closing my eyes.
I felt only euphoria.
I was good. I was healthy. I was happy.
I was okay.
I cleared my throat and jumped up, landing precisely on my feet with the perfect amount of balance. I had been working on my jump, my calculations. Surfing wasn’t just a pass time, but a game of physics and measuring out the right estimations for movement. That’s all this was; simple physics.
The wave escalated as I held my arms out besides me, standing and riding it perfectly. I had gotten good, and I wasn’t just saying that. Patrick had been the best of his time, the best kind of teacher, and I knew I was just as good as he was. I could be. The potential I had was so intense, it was ridiculous.
As I rode the wave, I found myself looking out towards the beach. Patrick was grinning behind our giant Polaroid camera, snapping picture after picture as his friends all clapped and whooped wildly, shooting words of congratulations his way. My ride soon ended as I reached shallower water. I hopped off my board and began walking down the sand, pulling it after me before Patrick came running down the water, taking me into his arms.
“MARINA! THAT WAS AMAZING, OH MY GOD, I’M SO F*CKING PROUD OF YOU, KIDDO!”
He finally let me go to untie my ankle from the board and lead it onto shore. A few of his friends headed towards me, one even shaking my hand.
“Patrick, who is this girl?! She’s amazing!”
Patrick wrapped his arms around my shoulders and grinned. “She’s my daughter.”
Patrick lifted the last of my stuff into the back of the yellow taxi cup as I ran my hands down the thighs of my jeans. My sandals felt warm against the hot pavement, my newly dyed pink hair felt bright under the nice sun, and I felt blissful. I did it – I was good enough at something, at one particular thing. I spent two and a half weeks focused on me, training, and I did it. I actually did it.
“Please tell me that you’re not going to stop surfing in Los Angeles,” Patrick groaned as I slipped my round frame sunglasses over my bright green eyes. I giggled.
“I won’t, Patrick. I promise. I’ll go down to Venice Beach and surf with the big boys!” I cried.
He laughed, clapping my bag. “You do that, alright? Make me proud, kiddo. Actually, no. You don’t need to make me proud,” He shook his scruffy head firmly. “You already have.”
I felt tears well up in my eyes as I stepped forward and wrapped my arms tightly around him.
“You have to come down more often,” I murmured into his shoulder. “I can’t go that long without seeing you again.”
“I know, Jude. I’ll come down when you guys get back from England, okay?”
I nodded as we pulled apart. “Deal.”
“I love you, Jude. You know that, right?” He stuffed his hands into the pockets of his shorts.
I smiled, combing my fingers through my bangs and nodding affirmatively.
“I know that, Daddy. I love you too, okay? I’ll call you when I get there.”
He watched with sad eyes as I got into the back of the taxi.
“Where to?” The cab driver asked.
“Monterey airport,” I announced before getting on my knees and watching Patrick from the back window.
Dressed in his plaid button up, his khaki shorts, his man-flops, and his fedora, watching me with that expression, I felt sad to leave him. But then I saw a flicker of something else in his eyes, that same bliss that I felt earlier, and I knew I was doing the right thing.
I had to love myself before I could love anyone else, right?
And surfing taught me to love myself.
(type 'where it's so white as snow' if you read it all)