Saturdays in Burleigh: fresh coffee brewing on James Street, blue skies and golden sand, sand so hot you danced on it, Sadie calling out orders for fish and chips – yes this early in the morning, too – and the sea-salty air obliterating any aggravation from the work week.
Those were my favourite mornings, a time where I could forget death and just surf instead. Surfing was my temporary distraction, a way to calm my mind. It was my creative outlet. An artist painted, a writer wrote, and a surfer surfed. There’s the thrill of waiting for the lump, gauging the size and direction of the wave, readying my body – apprehension and adrenaline combined – and the wave lifting my feet. I block out the world. It’s just me and the wave. The board catches, the world falls away, and I stand. Gravity takes me. The wave knows what to do. It has a mighty energy of its own. For a moment, we dance. I don’t thrash and slash the water, I move with it. It’s the purest form of surfing, soul surfing, riding the rail with my longboard. It’s important to treat the wave with respect.
The other surfers stick their middle finger up if you drop in, but for some reason, I cop it more than most. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a girl, because I ride a long board, or both. Maybe it’s because I surf better than they do. But no one owns the waves. They own you. Continue reading →
BILLIE GAZED AT THE STUMP where her hand used to be. It was an old wound, yet it still ached when it caught her eye. Her memories tended to blur together, but not this one. The horror story behind the loss made it seem fresh and painful, a trauma that refused to heal, even with therapy sessions and several daily shots of Jonny, of which Billie was sitting at her table slamming back now … with her left hand. The warm liquid was giving her a nice little buzz.
Missing a hand was like missing an old friend, one that left long ago, and would drift in and out of memory forevermore. Maybe it was the difficulty in the everyday task of kneading dough the way she once did, with two strong hands, taking for granted the punching and pushing, the simple strength of forcing something soft to soften even further under pressure. She made bread with one hand now, like many others went about their day attempting to complete tasks to the same degree at which they used to, and never quite getting there. The postman and taxi drivers who learned to drive, teachers and students learning to type one-handed like they did in primary school, lawyers, stockbrokers, supermarket check-out-chicks, all a little more encumbered and heavy with the burden of life. Then there were those who had dared to purchase tech to replace their hands. Craziness.Continue reading →