Posted by: smithdavid | November 25, 2012

Forget the Ego

I’ve just dropped Scorge off at Cape Town International and now I’m sitting on the retaining wall at Muzeinburg. The Shark Watch stand is on one side, the public toilets on the other, I’m right in between them. If there were more people on the beach they would probably look at me with reserved curiosity – there is a notebook on my lap and my left hand is bent in on itself, guiding a 0.7mm Mitsubishi Uni-Ball along the lines of a page. A strange thing to do at seven a.m. in the rising heat. But it’s what I do every day wherever I am – on the Tube in London, jammed in-between Economy seats on a plane, at a dusty desk in a site office in Dublin.

There is a surfer or two in the line-up, the waves are small but someone is making a few on a short board. If the rented yellow biscuit wasn’t locked away in Lifestyle, I’d be out there too. But I’ll have to wait until half seven when they open. Whenever I look up from the glare of the sharp sun on the white page, the short board/long board internal debate kicks into another cycle.

A girl walks out to the ocean, she’s in shorts and a T-shirt, no costume. She’s ankle, knee, waist, shoulder deep. I wonder if she’s doing a Virginia Woolf on us. But then she begins confidant, elegant strokes.

these waves are not roaring…

I’m watching the waves. The surfers fade into the background and then the waves too are indistinct. These waves are not roaring but grumbling with restraint, like Highveld thunder.

Your presence rises through me – I remember you sitting on a bench in Gonubie, looking out over the rocks (the same rocks where we later returned you to the ocean), listening to the less reserved East London waves. You told me in a soft, gentle voice how the ocean soothes you. Your words were almost lost to the wind. But they weren’t.

I am soothed now too. And I haven’t forgotten.

the less reserved east london waves…

The girl has finished her swim and is giving a Pick ‘n Pay packet to an old tramp on the beach. ‘Here Uncle Peter, we got you a few things…’

Later I’ll drive east, past Strand, Gordon’s Bay, Pringle Bay. EV is waiting in Keinmond, we’ll have a few beers around the fire with his family tonight and then start the surfari tomorrow. We’ll move east, Wilderness way.

This afternoon we’ll probably surf Betty’s. I hope EV will notice some improvement in my surfing.

I turn around and see that someone has opened the door of Lifestyle. I take one last look at the break zone. I know that if you were here you would tell me to forget about the ego (eggo as you always pronounced it) and take the board that will allow me to catch the most waves.

‘I’ll take the long one today…’ I say when inside Lifestyle.

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