Well, here it is. The story I've had locked up for almost a year. It's finally here. I put it off for so long on account of not remembering how to open the first chapter. The second reason is because I didn't know how to write with a male protagonist. It's mostly because I'm not used to having male protagonist.
This story is based off a dream I had a long time ago. I don't remember it exactly, but bits and pieces appear here and there. Making it up as I go was the fun part of a new story. Oh, and so there's no confusion, this story takes place in 2004.
Anyways, enjoy the story. ^_^
Sprays of water splash up against my face. The heat, the sun, the water in my face: it's definitely summer. I've been here almost a week. Califronia's got some sick waves. I swerve on my surfboard and make another wave, saltwater hitting my face.
I turn and see my friend Matthew come up to me on his surfboard. His is blue with a picture of a shark. Mine's white with blue waves painted on it.
"Hey!" I high-five him.
"Dude, you were gnarly out there!"
Matthew's been my friend since I first came here. It was eight years ago when I first came to visit my grandfather. I've been visiting him ever since. I met Matt the first time I came to the beach. He and his other friends also hang out, we're close as can be.
We surf back to the shore on our boards, surely enough I'm already thirsty.
"You wanna get a strawberry lemonade?" I ask Matt.
We carry our surfboards underneath our arms. We get to the concession stand which is over by the far right of the beach near the streets. By the time we reach the stand, Matt already jumps into conversation.
"Eh, think you can come to this party Ned's throwing?"
"I'll think about it."
I want to go, but I want to be there for Grandpa. I'm all he has since Grandma died twelve years ago.
"Aw, come on!," he insists. "He only has them every summer."
"And every summer I go to them. And next summer he'll throw another one till we're old and wrinkly."
Matt lets out a belly laugh. I bet he's imagining us in our seventies, surfing and trying to relive the glory of our youth. I laugh along with him. It's actually pretty funny.
"Will you please consider it?"
"I'll try." He's not wrong. But Ned's been throwing these summer parties ever since I first came to spend my summers here.
Matt and I order our favorite strawberry lemonades. They're sweet and tart and with just the right amount of chopped strawberries floating in it. And with the ice, it's the perfect summer drink.
He and I walk to the boardwalk to enjoy them. Matt spots a group of familiar hotties over by the lifeguard's bench.
"Hey hey." Matt chimes. He points at them. "There's Cymbeline Brash." The tall girl with red hair and a lot of freckles.
"You gonna go and ask her out?" I try not to laugh and spit out my lemonade.
"Nah, she's out of my league," says Matt.
"So are the other cheerleaders on the squad."
"What about you?," he suddenly asks. He takes a sip of lemonade. "You managed to find a girlfriend back home?" He means Maryland.
"No." I reply. Truth is I'm socially awkward. No girl would ever wanna date me if I were the only man on Earth. Besides, I'm better off alone. No pressure.
"There's more to life than just studying and doing homework," he says.
"Yeah, yeah, I know."
"Then come to Ned's party."
I sip my strawberry lemonade and stare out at the sea, at the line that separates the sky and the sea. Sweat beads drip down my forehead. I'm ready to call it a day and head home to Grandpa's.
"I'll think about it, Matt." I answer, grabbing my board.
"Yeah, alright," he retorts back.
I wave to him and go back to our spot. I put my board back in its bag, pick up my duffel back, slip on my sandals, grab my towel and make the walk home.
Grandpa's house is blue with a grey roof and white windows. It's got a porch swing outside, a maple tree out front, and a mailbox out by the yard. My room is on the second floor, the left window. It used to be my Dad's when he was young. He kept it the same, but when I started visiting I brought in my own knickknacks to make it a little more Travis-friendly. I brought a bucket of seashells that I put in a Mason jar with sand. I also brought my AC/DC posters, my telescope, a fishbowl with no fish, a radio, and my trusty surfboard.
I got my surfboard on my first visit to California. I was just getting settled and after a week, I stilled hadn't gotten used to the move. Grandpa took me to the beach to cheer me up and I saw three surfers just returning from their day of surf. It looked so cool to me. I looked at Grandpa and he bought one for me, just to see if I would adjust. And that was when I found my love of surfing. I loved it. I was a natural. I was a great swimmer and could hold my breath for a good while. My personal best is three minutes. That's when I wanted to come to Cali every summer. That and Grandpa. Mom doesn't mind, she was actually supportive. After Dad died she thought it be good for me to see my grandfather, so that, you know, I'd have a father figure in my life.
"Gramps, I'm home!" I shout as I enter through the front door.
"In here!," he calls back. I walk through the living room and through the doorway. My grandpa's study is down the hall to the right.
"Hey!" I say as soon as I walk inside.
"Hey hey, kiddo."
"I see him working on a model airplane. They're all amazing. He's got models of every plane designed in the course of history. He showed me his models the first time I came to visit and they've been my second favorite hobby since. I look over his shoulder, at his latest model. A blue biplane. I don't remember seeing that one before; must be new.
"You like it?" Grandpa asks.
"I love it."
It's different from the others. Most of the models are replicas of jets, military aircrafts, even some helicopters. This new one would feel right at home with its predecessors.
"How was your day at the beach?"
"Awesome." I say. "I caught some waves, got some color." I look down at my arms, which got sunburned instead of tan.
"Well, I'm glad you enjoyed yourself," he chuckles. He puts his model away on the desk. "You wanna come with me to the hardware store?"
"Sure, Gramps, just let me take a shower first."
We come back from the hardware store with supplies for Grandpa's airplanes. And I needed a stuff for my surfboard.
"Hey, Gramps." I tailor my sentence to make it sound reasonable. "Ned's throwing his annual summer party next Wednesday." I clear my throat. "I wanna go, but I want stay home and keep you company."
"That's kind of you, Travis," answers Grandpa. "But I'll be okay. You've got one life and you've got the duty to live it."
"I know." He'd not wrong about that. "But still, I'd—" Grandpa interrupts me before I can even finish.
"Now, now," he begins, "you go on to that party and have a good time. I ain't gonna keel over any time soon."
Classic grandpa jokes.
"All right, Gramps. I'll go."
I take the bag with my surfboard supplies and head to the backyard. I left it in its protective bag. I take it with me to the deck table. I unzip the bag, take the board and place it flat on the table. I take the sandpaper and rub it around a dent I noticed back at the beach. I'm only on it every summer and store it religiously when summer's over. It's like my baby. Yeah, you may smirk at the idea, but between school and trying to act the part, this is my favorite past time asides from riding my bike.
I finish sanding it off, and I pick up the tub of fiberglass resin. I pick up a brush, open the resin and dip it in. I smoothly cascade the brush against the board's sleek surface. I've got to keep in shape for the surfing competition. It comes around every summer, I never miss it. Not once. I won last year. Second place. It's not so bad. I won first the year before that, and second place the year before that. I've never come in third place before. I just feel so alive in the water, like I'm Poseidon and the ocean is my kingdom. Gramps always attends every competition. He's always supportive.
I can only wait until the competition.
I open my laptop and open my Skype account. Time to talk to Mom.
I sit in my dark room. Grandpa's already in bed. And I'm here, alone, with nothing but my inner thoughts and the moon peeking through the window. My surfboard's safely secure in its bag.
I log in.
A few seconds later, Mom pops up.
She looks at my bright blue eyes. The same as mine. Except I have Dad's blond hair.
"How's California?," she asks.
"Hot, humid, but the surfing pays off."
"How's your Grandpa?"
"He's fine. He's asleep right now."
"You might wanna head to bed, too," she points out. I check the time on the laptop. It's only 9:25 p.m.
"But I'm not tired."
"Travis." She uses her mom voice. Can't go against that.
"Okay. I'll go to bed as soon as we're done." I clear my throat. "By the way, I'm entering the surfing competition again."
"That's great, Travis."
"I wish you could be here."
"I know, sweetie. But work is really tough right now."
She's not wrong. She's partners with her firm, she comes home late. It takes up a lot of her time. I don't blame her for not always being there. But Mom's not too great with surfing. She's a good swimmer, but she'd probably fall of the surfboard a lot.
"Well, I'll talk to you tomorrow, Mom." I reply. "Goodnight."
I logout as soon as she does. I close my laptop, take it to my desk and let it charge. Trudging back to bed, I flop back and unwind. I look out the window. I see the moon. I wonder what it would be like to go there. I could ask Neil Armstrong if I ever meet him. He must have a ton of stories to tell. Well, moon landings aside and pull up the covers to my chest and lay on my right side.
Tonight I dream of waves.
Writing the first chapter was hard on account of not knowing anything about surfing, plane models and the like. If I got a few things wrong, I'm sorry. It's my first time writing this. If you wanna correct me, please be my guest. I can use all the help I can get.