Ocean Paths

I set my bike against a pillar to rest (it always seemed glad for it), unclipped my helmet and let the straps hang as I sat down to watch the surfer’s peak and trough. I couldn’t hear anything, even the ocean wasn’t loud and the long-boarders seemed increasingly graceful in my silent gaze. Some dog owners chatted near a picnic table while their animals passed time with forced companionship. They gradually embraced it, noses twitching, tails swishing. Those sounds too were being taken by the wind as it blew away from me.

A woman caught my eye as she pulled on her wetsuit. Beautiful, fit, blonde. Another rider came by, slowed down and made it too obvious he was looking. The fabric accentuated her curves and they were hard to ignore. She headed down to the water. I wondered how cold it was, it was winter after all. The warmth of the sun was filtered with chill air but it was clear and I was comfortable in shorts and the wetsuits are designed for it.

I was curious to know if she could surf well. Why? I didn’t know anything about her. I didn’t know her name, her age, where she worked, if she studied. I didn’t know where she lived, if she had pets, if she had brothers and sisters. I didn’t know if her parents were alive or dead. I didn’t know if she had children of her own. I didn’t know if she was vegan or omnivore. I knew it was past 3, she was attractive and she surfed. I was curious to know if she surfed well. I didn’t really care though, but people have always interested me, despite how many there are. Everyone I see amazes me (some more than others). How can we all be the same yet so different? She made it out past the breakers easily, pushing out further than most of the men with smooth lithe strokes. She probably knew what she was doing. I watched a few more sets but she was still judging the conditions. I got back on my bike and started riding. I knew I would never see her again, or if I did it would be in ignorance. I would never know how well she surfed. I saw the other rider again.

He was watching the sea as well, but he was much older than me.


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