I’m not even sure you could call them waves;
whitewater, perhaps—class six.
Definitely no sets.
Bummer conditions for a first day out,
but not for our resolve to do this thing,
this birthday thing.
To see her surf was my wish
for me to join her, hers,
and so it was that we agreed to meet there at Avenida 18
by three pm on Mother’s Day.
With 15 minutes to spare, I pulled into the Tom Thumb
for a Diet Coke where I came upon the news
that there’d been a drowning that very day in that very gulf;
that turbulent spanish sea, that had come to claim so many lives that summer,
and into which we were about to head.
Right on time, I was immediately and profoundly struck by her confidence with it all,
this lithe little sea urchin,
my sister’s daughter,
and how completely intoxicated she had become with the pull of the waves.
Bouncing out of her topless Del Sol
sporting a simple black rash guard and some board shorts
she looked every bit the surfer chick that she was
(and I was not as my baggy t and running shorts would attest).
Popping the rubber tie-downs off the boards with precision
her infectious spirit quickly took hold.
And so, we walked the beach, niece and aunt, hottie and matron,
in search of the perfect channel.
We never found it, really,
but we ventured out just the same.
For all our paddling, there was no discernible headway
and so we gave into the foamy brine instead.
Hanging ten became hanging on
but we were never in any real danger (I don’t think)—
my sister stood guard from the beach.
No matter that I never even stood up
much less rode the pipeline that day
I was awash with the power of the women and the waves that surrounded me then.
Packing off together down the beach road toward navarre
in my jeep it was a lovely night
three smart women with nothing better to do
than belt the words to a patty griffin song from the top of our lungs
with a shared contentment that right here right now was quite possibly the best of all
possible places to be in the world.
From there, we hit the casino (why they call it that I’ll never know)
for an outdoor shower.
It started raining as we were rinsing off,
and the symphony crowd scattered.
It was only a sprinkle, and we were already wet,
but we ran to the Hampton Inn bathrooms anyway,
to blow dry our hair under the automatic hand dryers,
laughing like the teenagers that she would be for one more year and we no longer were.
We all had our favorite parts about the day and this was my niece’s:
my sister’s was being hit on by the 20 year old busser at dinner—
and for me, it was celebrating a day with two women who embody best what we all love
most about the indomitable spirit of those we call Mom.
Karen Doyle: Wordmonger and folkpoet.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise