SURFING

by Doreen F.

Sean was back home over the summer holidays and had a job working at the Quiksilver Store. He loved the brand and there was a new store in town so he had applied for an internship there and they were happy to have a helping hand. Summer was a busy time and there were many tourists in town. The best thing was that Sean got a discount on all Quiksilver clothes.

The only sad thing about being back home was that while he had been away at college his family’s dog had died. The house was so empty without it and Sean always felt so sad when he came home and no dog was there jumping around and barking in sheer happiness that he was back home. He knew that in due time he’d get over the loss, but he had had this dog for half of his life. That was one of the reasons why he usually went surfing after coming home.

His hometown had plenty of beaches with good waves for surfers. The water was freezing, but the wetsuit made it bearable and the waves were amazing. Ever since he was a kid Sean had enjoyed being in the water. Surfing came to him naturally and he knew all the good places to surf and had a board he was very proud of. He knew the beaches like the back of his hand which was good because his eyes got worse over the years. He had had glasses since he was about 12. Contact lenses were not an option because his eyes were fairly dry and sensitive. After crashing his glasses once while surfing his mother didn’t allow him to wear them to the beach ever again. Sean wouldn’t have done that anyway because those days at school without glasses while waiting for the new pair had been a nightmare. He had felt so vulnerable and dependent on others. Ever since then Sean went to the beach bare-eyed having stored his glasses somewhere safe. Now at 22 his eyes had been fairly stable for some years, but with -5.50 in both eyes and some astigmatism it wasn’t that much fun to be without glasses. Still, at the beach it couldn’t be helped.

During his second week of work Sean started to really enjoy his job. More tourists came and that meant more business. His colleagues were nice and even when there weren’t many customers they always had a good time. However, more customers meant more cute girls to check out and since Sean was single at the moment he wouldn’t mind chatting up one of the cute tourists.

Even when the weather wasn’t that good, Sean still went surfing every day. He either went to the beach that was right outside the house, just down the cliffs or, in case there were too many people, he took his dad’s car and drove to another beach. On Wednesday is was quite sunny and there were too many people on the beach that was close to the house for Sean’s taste. Furthermore, this beach reminded him of all the long walks he used to take there with his dog. So he took his dad’s car and drove some miles down the coast to a beautiful beach which had amazing waves and was almost deserted. Sean parked the car and got changed. Before going down to the beach he took off his glasses and put them into the glove compartment. Then he locked the car and pocketed the keys in an inside pocket of the wetsuit and zipped it shut. Then he headed down to the beach. He hadn’t been to this beach for about a year so finding the way without glasses was more challenging than he thought, but he eventually managed to reach the sea. There weren’t many people around and the waves looked good. Sean went into the water and paddled away from the shore. Like always surfing took his mind off all his problems and there were some great waves. Sean had always been pretty good at surfing and even had the license to work as an instructor. At one time he wanted to teach surfing as a summer job, but with his vision it would have been very difficult, so he had just worked at a store that sold and rented surfboards. When he saw all those cute girls flirting with their surfing instructors he always felt a bit jealous that they got all the attraction. Furthermore, he had found out that many girls didn’t like his glasses which really annoyed him as they were a part of him and there was nothing he could do about his bad eyes. If only he could tolerate contact lenses.... Life would be so much easier, but Sean had tried every brand, he had tried hard and soft lenses, but nothing had worked.

When the sun was setting Sean caught one last wave which took him to the shore and got out of the water. He realized that the current had taken him further down on the beach and he had to walk quite a bit to get to the car. As he was walking a guy approached him.

“Hey man, that was awesome.”

“Thank you.”

“Listen, this may sound very straight forward, but do you give lessons?”

“I have the license, but I’m not working as an instructor.”

“Well, my sister and I are here on holidays and we’d love to learn how to surf, but there’s a lot of demand right now. Would you be interested in giving us lessons?”

“It’s the first time anyone has asked me for lessons. The problem is that I’m working during the day. I work at the Quiksilver store in town. But I could give you lessons after work, if you really want that. You’d need boards and wetsuits, though.”

“I’ll check if we can rent boards and suits and then we’ll just come to the store and arrange when to meet.”

“Sounds great. What’s your name?”

“Jason, yours?”

“Sean.”

“See you tomorrow, Sean.”

“See you.”

They waved goodbye. Sean was pleased that his surfing had impressed Jason and that he and his sister wanted him as an instructor. That would be a nice way to pass the time after work. Finally Sean reached the rock which was close to where he had parked the car. He stumbled up the cliff and fumbled for the car keys to unlock the Jeep. Leaning the board against the car he took out his towel, took off the wetsuit, dried himself and got changed. Then he took his glasses out of the glove compartment. What a relief to be able to see clearly again. It didn’t bother Sean that much while surfing, but he wasn’t even sure he’d recognize Jason if he saw him on the street. After stowing the board in the car Sean headed home. At dinner he told his family that someone at the beach had asked him for surfing lessons. They were happy for him and told him not to charge too much as hiring boards had become quite expensive and the lessons cost even more. Sean secretly hoped that Jason’s sister would be cute and not a Paris Hilton lookalike.

On the next day there weren’t too many customers in the store around lunch time. Jason hadn’t been in yet and Sean regretted not giving him his phone number. Too late for that now. At around 2 a really cute girl came into the store. She had a athletic figure, blond hair and was beautiful in a very natural kind of way. She was exactly Sean’s type. She looked around the store for a while and then she approached Sean. His knees were weak. She was probably looking for a t-shirt for her boyfriend anyway.

“You must be Sean. Jason told me that you’re a great surfer, I’m his sister Shelly.”

“Hi Shelly, nice to meet you.”

“I’m meeting Jason here in a few minutes, but he’s always late, probably styling himself to impress you. He’s so into surfers.” She winked.

“You mean he’s gay? I didn’t realize that.”

“Yes, and he thinks you’re really cute.”

“I’m not into men.”

“Oh, he realized that, but he still wants to look his best in case you change your mind.”

Sean laughed nervously. “I won’t change my mind.”

“I’ll have a look around in the meantime, if that’s all right.”

“Sure, if you need anything, let me know.”

Shelly looked around for a while and tried some of the bikinis and t-shirts.

“I had no intention of buying anything, but somehow I think I won’t be able to leave the store without buying this bikini.”

“If you pay cash, I’ll be able to have one of my colleagues debit it from my account and you get a discount.”

“That would be lovely.”

While they were at the cashier Jason entered the store.

“Hey sis, I thought you didn’t need anything.”

“Well, I couldn’t just wait here for 20 minutes and not buy anything. What took you so long?”

“Mom called and I couldn’t get her off the phone. I didn’t tell her that we’d be surfing. She’d be worried sick.”

“Same old, same old. Can you believe it, Sean got me a discount on the bikini.”

“Where is he? Oh, there he is, hey Sean, almost didn’t recognize you with your glasses. They look nice.”

“Hey Jason, I didn’t have them on while surfing, I was kind of blind when I met you yesterday.”

“No worries. So you don’t wear contacts?”

“No, my eyes won’t tolerate them.”

“If I had that problem, I’d shoot myself, I’m glad I don’t have problems with wearing contacts.”

“You do?”

“Yes, Shelly and I both do, runs in our blood.”

“But the difference is that Jason would rather walk around naked carrying a banner saying “I’m gay” than wear his glasses in public.”

“I just don’t like them that’s all.”

“Never mind.”

“So, did you ask about the prices for renting boards and wetsuits?”

“Yes, they made us a great offer if we take them for more than one day.”

“Perfect. Do you want to meet after I finish work? There’s a nice beach close by which is good for beginners. I’ll just have to get my board. We could meet there at around 6.30, if that’s all right.”

“Sounds great.”

“How much will you charge us?”

“We’ll just see how it goes, but I’ll be certainly cheaper than the others who advertise their lessons.”

“Great.”

Sean told them where the beach was and what else to bring and then they left. When they were gone his colleagues were curious about this cute girl and the girls about the cute guy. They were disappointed when they heard that he was gay, but all his colleagues were jealous that he’s be giving them surfing lessons.

So after work Sean went home, grabbed his surfing gear, took the car and headed to the beach where he met Jason and Shelly. They were already geared up. This time Sean didn’t leave the glasses in the car. He had to see clearly while giving instructions. He would take them to the car once they all went into the sea. At first Shelly wanted Sean to show them how good he was as she hadn’t seen him surfing before.

“All right, but you have to take care of my glasses in the meantime. Without them I won’t be able to teach you much.”

“Sure, what’s your prescription?” Shelly asked

“ -5.50 in both eyes.”

“That’s almost the same as me, I’m -5 and Jason here is -4.50, but with astigmatism.”

“So we’re all pretty blind, aren’t we?”

“I guess so.”

Sean went into the water and caught some waves in order to show Shelly his skills. She was impressed, even more so considering that Sean was doing it without glasses.

Once Sean came out of the water, he put his glasses back on and taught Shelly and Jason the basics of surfing. They did some exercises on the beach and after that they decided to go into the water to get a real feeling for it. Sean took his glasses to the car and returned in no time. They went into the water and got some distance between themselves and the shore. As both, Shelly and Jason, had done bodyboarding before, they knew when to catch a wave, but they soon realized that surfing was a different matter. They managed to stand a for a short while, but it was more difficult that they had thought. Before it was getting too dark they got back to the shore. Sean caught a wave and met them at the shore.

“That was great.”

“Wow, that was so much fun. I know I suck, but I still love it.”

“The beginning is tough, you’ll see, tomorrow it will be easier.”

“I hope so.”

“Do you have any plans for tonight, Sean?”

“No.”

“Why don’t you join us for some cocktails after dinner.”

“Sounds great. Shall I meet you at the B&B?”

“Yes, I’ll give you the address and our phone numbers.”

“What time do you want to meet? Nine? That should give us plenty of time to shower and eat.”

“Perfect, see you later.”

“Bye.”

“Bye.”

Sean went his car, took out his glasses, got changed and went back home. It had been so much fun with Shelly and Jason and he was looking forward to meeting them tonight.

Back home he had dinner with his parents and told them about the surfing lesson and how much he had enjoyed it. After dinner he had a long hot shower and got dressed for the night. He was really happy that the store only opened at 9.30 which meant that he didn’t have to get up before 9, if he got home late.

At 9 o’clock sharp Sean was at Jason and Shelly’s B&B and rang their phone the let them know he had arrived. Shelly came to open the door. She was wearing a pair of stylish glasses in a blue plastic frame.

“Hey, nice glasses.”

“Thanks, after all this time in the sea and on the beach my eyes needed a break. Come on in, Jason’s still in the bathroom.”

She led Sean to their room, which was fairly small, but nicely decorated and had just about everything you needed. They chatted along while waiting for Jason. After about ten minutes Jason finally emerged from the bathroom.

“Hey Sean, sorry that it took me so long, but my contacts were bothering me quite a bit so I had to take them out for now and put in some eye drops. I’ll pop my lenses in before we go. Now I’m as blind as you were on the beach.”

“Hey Jason! Why don’t you just don your glasses and give your eyes a break like Shelly does?”

“He’s right, Jason, you’ve been wearing those contacts more than you’ve been without them.”

“I don’t know. I really don’t want to wear glasses.”

“Nobody knows you around here and I really don’t care. I’d be the last person to say anything nasty anyway.”

“Come on, just this once, Jason. At least put them on for now.”

“Ok, ok, ok. I’ll put them on.” Jason surrendered and put on a pair of rimless glasses which suited him very well.

“They look really nice, Jason” Sean said.

“Thanks, but it’s just weird, I mean it’s great to see, but I just don’t like wearing them.”

“Anyway, there’s this one bar which has the best cocktails in town and if we’re there before 10, we might get a table outside and a happy hour cocktail.”

“Let’s go then” Shelly said.

“You mean there’s no time to pop in my contacts?”

“Don’t be a baby, let’s just go.”

After convincing Jason to go out in glasses for once, they left and walked to the bar which was fairly close to the B&B and managed to grab the last free table on the terrace. The cocktails were good, even the non-alcoholic ones to which Sean stuck to as he had to drive home. At around 11.30 the bar was really packed and suddenly one of Sean’s colleagues appeared and asked if he could sit at their table. After a short while was obvious that he was certainly flirting with Jason. That gave Sean and Shelly some time to talk as Jason obviously seemed to enjoy the attention he was getting.

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