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Catch a Wave With Me
Even as seconds, hours, days, years slip away, I still remember him.
I still remember to unmake both sides of the bed. I still remember to leave the newspaper on the kitchen table. I still remember how he stroked his hair back incessantly. I still remember how I thought that if he did it too much, he’d tear his hair out. I still remember how the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee always lingered around him. I still remember how the scent of my vanilla perfume would blend with his coffee after we hugged in the morning.
I still remember his spiky chestnut hair as a teen, and his spiky chestnut brown hair with silvery tones splashing against his locks as an aging adult. I still remember his one green eye, like an emerald, and his one blue eye, like a sapphire.
I still remember his crooked smile, the obnoxious way he laughed, the way he gazed into my eyes, the way I gazed into his, one emerald, one sapphire. The thing I remember most though is the way he loved me, and the way I love him.
Thirty-four years have flown by, and I still remember what happened on July 1, 1976. Engraved onto my brain, dancing in my memories, I still see it play over and over again every minute of the day.
* * * *
Clusters of cotton-like clouds blanketed across the sky in symmetrical rows, tinted rosy and golden as brilliant sunbeams streaked the heavens, the rays blazing through the clouds. The intense red and orange hues of afterglow blended with the cerulean of the sky as the course of daybreak deepened
Yellow tones outlined the beach that lied in front of me, the sight reflecting off the mirrors that were my eyes. I gazed at the sea, sparkling as the sun surfaced from the watery horizon, ebbing up and down the shore, the water just reaching the very tips of my flesh. I wiggled my toes at the sudden, moist chill that had engulfed my feet. The sand was perfectly leveled. It felt warm and damp under my feet. My summer skin thrived off of it.
“Pretty mild waves today,” I whispered to myself, watching the water ripple, vibrations spewing out in spirals as fish and other beings under the surface created a small, wrinkled current. I clenched my long board in frustration.
It was sometime between six and seven in the morning. No one I knew would ever wake up that early in July by choice, but I was just so drawn to the beauty. I craved it, like a bee craved sweet nectar of a vibrant blossoming flower.
I had found it amazing how the colors blended into one another, merging and creating glorious tints of all sorts, just because the sun had awoke. The sun was a painter, I realized, an artist of sorts, daubing the sky how it wanted it to appear. It didn’t matter if it was supposed to be pure blue, the natural color. The sun wanted it to be fiery orange or ruby red or lemony yellow, or even the color of pink lemonade. I wanted to drink that lemonade.
I plopped by board flat on the sand and then positioned myself to sit on it. I imagined the water swelling up into a powerful, foamy wave peeling down the ocean at magnificent height before curling into a roaring tube. I imagined myself in that barrel, standing confidently on my long board. I was smiling.
That would never happen today though. The waves were abnormally weak. They barely had a flow.
As I began stepping up from my surfboard to trudge back home, I noticed something off in the distance. Sporting red swim shorts, drenched from head to toe in saline water, a teenage boy glided in the water on his belly using a board. Slowly, he paddled through the water, his hands wafting harmoniously, his board rocking back and forth as he climbed small knolls in the ocean.
My eyebrow shot up in fascination. I was fixated on him, dazed by what I was observing.
He stood up on his board as he swam further into the ocean, and balanced himself on the board as he tried his best maneuvering it to catch and drive a wave down the shore. Of course, in mere seconds did he fall back into the water. Bubbles ascended to the ocean surface as he splashed into the sea and plummeted to the wet sand underneath.
I couldn’t help but giggle. He rose out of the water, hair dripping, and faced my way.
He was grinning. Not just randomly for the sake of grinning, but like he was grinning at something. He had noticed me looking at him. My face felt heated as he waved, blobs of water flailing from his hand.
I sheepishly raised my hand up, but no waving movement was produced. He continued to grin until he turned back to his board and, with pure determination, attempted once again to catch a real wave.
It was a wonderful moment. I wouldn’t meet him until about a week and half later when I caught him once again trying to ride a weak wave, but there was something about that grin he gave me, that twinkle in his eye, that determination he possessed, that made my heart flutter, that made me feel like I had met him before.
His name was Derek. The first thing he would day to me was, “Catch a wave with me.”
* * * *
I love carrying the ability to remember every little thing about Derek, even though it’s been thirty-four years since I met him. I remember the parts I love, like when welcomed our daughter Lily to the world. I remember the parts I cry at, like when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. I remember the bittersweet parts, like when we kissed on last time in the hospital room three years ago. I remember everything, every detail, every memory, whether good or bad or happy or sad. I still remember. I will always remember.
* * * *
“What day is it?” I say, my voice strained.
The nurse stares back at me, appearing sad. I know she feels oh so bad for me. “Its…. It’s July 1, 2044.”
I weakly grin. I want to cough, but I feel so determined to keep that grin. “I remember that day,” I chuckle.
The nurse looks at me as if I have gone insane, but says nothing. “Why don’t you rest?” The nurse pulled a thin blanket over my body. “There. Is that any better?”
“I remember today,” I whisper inaudibly to myself. I raise my hand in front of my face weakly, and flip it over to my palm. A gold band wraps around my finger, glistening.
“I remember today.” I read the engraved cursive, like ocean waves, slowly. It read Catch a wave with me. I smile. “I remember today.” I feel one more heartbeat as I reread the my wedding ring.