Monday, December 7, 2020

The Sea Hag -Chapter Three-

 

Michael


Surfing has always been my escape, my refuge, a kind of meditation. Everything falls away and it’s just me, my board and the waves.

After I lost my sight, I had to learn everything all over again; how to read, how to eat, how to move around in the world. But it was the loss of this connection to the ocean that I ended up mourning the most. My brother and I had learned to surf together and one day, with the uncanny mind-reading powers inherent in twins, he commanded me to grab my wetsuit and board from where they sat neglected and come with him. I followed, bemused but without much hope that we would succeed.

I’ve never been happier to be proven wrong. Apparently Gabe had been doing internet research on blind surfers, and he had some ideas I hadn’t considered. The biggest initial challenge had been my balance, or lack thereof. Your equilibrium is mostly maintained by the fluid-filled tubes of your inner ear, but the system is imprecise, designed to detect large changes. So, your brain also relies on visual input for the smaller changes. A simple demonstration of this is if you were to stand on one leg and then close your eyes. Balance suddenly becomes much harder to maintain without visual cues.

The point is, I fell off my board more times than I can count. I couldn’t even stand up, let alone catch a wave. I screamed and swore and beat my fists on the board in frustration. But Gabe never once lost patience, never even considered quitting. He knew this could be done, and he was going to stay out here with me until I knew it, too.

I smiled up at the heat from the sun, straddling my board, and ran a hand through my dripping hair. From the angle of the heat, I had been out here for several hours without a break. My stomach growled loudly in agreement and I patted it sympathetically. “Alright, one more run and then we’ll go eat,” I promised. I felt and listened carefully for the direction of wind and water before paddling out to the line and waiting for the feel of a really good, large wave to take me home.

I didn’t have to wait long. I felt the sink and paddled hard, feeling it surge beneath me and I jumped to my feet. I could feel the perfect barrel crest over me as I flew down it’s center. I reached out a hand to touch the wall of water streaming upwards next to me in bold defiance of gravity. I grinned and let out a whooping cry of sheer exhilaration. My board wobbled nearly imperceptibly as I did so. My stomach turned into an icy pit of dread a fraction of a second before the wobble became too pronounced to sustain forward momentum.

“Ooooh Shi--!” I heard myself shout as the board slid out from under my feet and I hit the water, tumbling. Normally, when this happens I simply tuck into a ball, with my hands and arms protecting my head, and wait until I bob to the surface to get my bearings. The surfboard itself was tethered to my ankle so I couldn’t lose it, so I’d drag us both to shore and either try again or call it a day.

There was nothing normal about this day, though.

As soon as I went under, something cracked me over the head. My air escaped in a surprised stream of bubbles and I didn’t know which way to swim to get more. The back of my head was screaming agony. All I could hear was a high-pitched ringing. I felt like I was going to throw up, and then I abruptly lost consciousness.


8 comments:

  1. This was such a teaser of a chapter (not that I'm ungraful!) :) Thank you!
    I had never before thought exactly how our balance works - a nice description! Can we hope that Michael will be rescued in the next chapter? :)
    Thank you for writing and sharing!

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  2. Such a short one and leaving us hanging πŸ˜‰

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  3. Such a short one and leaving us hanging πŸ˜‰

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  4. Such a short one and leaving us hanging πŸ˜‰

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  5. Such a short one and leaving us hanging πŸ˜‰

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  6. Color me intrigued! If Poseidon shines down on us, maybe another mini update this week??

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  7. Some of these chapters are really short, which is not something I noticed until I started posting them this way, lol. Cliffhangers are good though!
    Thanks for reading!

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