Your andante whistle matches your advance—measured and slow, as though you know where you are going, but are in no hurry to get there. You’ve grown weird and amphibious—spending equal time in water and on land, a surfboard your new mount, your cowboy hat metamorphosed into a billed cap worn backwards.
You have achieved some notoriety due to that prowess in water that you never found on dry land. You, who crashed cars into traffic cones and bicycles into fences, weave effortlessly from wave to wave, then ride their crests. You nosh on kale and granola, leaving McDonald’s in the past. Who would ever guess that this cowboy farmer would start surfing from scratch at the age of thirty, thereby achieving a fame he’d never earned in the rodeo?
You scratch your forehead, freeing a long blond lock from its imprisonment, pull off your cap and take a playful swap at my shoulder as we draw close enough to share a hug, a kiss. Classmates our whole lives from elementary school through college, we have somehow slipped into different generations—you the proverbial beach boy surfer, me the middle-aged mommy herding kids away from sand crabs and beached stingrays, you gliding between them on water, already a fixture in this cool beach town–your whole life composed of what for me is an occasional weekend visit lugging picnic basket, beach towels, blanket, umbrella and three children aged four to ten.
“Daddy!” the kids scream, running toward us streaming seawater from their heels. One by one, you grab them under their arms, spinning them in wild circles, then, with the smallest one on your shoulders and grasping the hands of the others on either side, you make off for the water to reacquaint them with their aquatic side. The picture I took that day shows four kids playing in the water. I had given birth to three of them. You gave birth to the fourth.