I’m going to start posting some of the short stories I’ve written and maybe some of my drabbles that haven’t become full fledged stories. Beginning with this one which I had written for a local competition, though I’ve edited it a bit since then. Inspired by the time I used to spend sitting and watching the surfers at the beach across from the house I lived in for a few years.
Aidan sat huddled on the windswept dunes, a blanket pulled tight around his shoulders as he clutched a hot cup of coffee in his hands, relishing the warmth radiating from it. The crisp morning air nipped at his exposed skin till goose bumps littered its surface, making it easy to forget that soon the Summer sun would spread itself across the sky sending a scorching heat over all those beneath it. Breathing out, white tendrils of steam escaped his mouth, swirling around him, dancing with the gentle breeze till it began to feel like he had slipped back into the clutches of Winter. It begged the question as to why he sat there, what drew him to this beach in the early hours of the morning, when most people were still tucked up in the warm comforting embrace of their bed.
The morning always coldest in those few precious moments before the sun began its daily trek across the sky. Aiden heard it mentioned in the past by those hardy souls who thought nothing of waking before the sun began to peep its head above the horizon. But Aiden never once felt desperate enough to test the theory for himself in the past. Now, he knew through his own experience, making the journey down to this beach or the one, two hours down the road, how true the words were. Weeks, months he willingly sat amongst the dune’s cold grains of sand, getting chilled to the bone as it seeped in through the soles of his feet. His only company, the thermos of coffee which kept him awake and the heavy blanket providing him with warmth as he gazed out over the ocean.
Staring out at the vast expanse of water, it’s currents and waves reaching out beyond the horizon and marvelling at the colours Aidan could see forming in the low light of the early morning. Blues and greys mingled with the white tops of waves as the last light of the moon left a silvery trail along its ever changing, always moving surface. Aidan could see the beauty in it, the way the sea sparkled despite the darkness of the sky, but this was not what drew him down here. His gaze focused not upon the sea, but the silhouette Aidan could faintly see against the still dark horizon. A silhouette of a man sitting on a board, waiting.
Waiting out beyond the breakers, where the ocean appeared to be calm despite the way it gently rocked the board he sat and the waves it sent rushing toward the shore. Sitting; waiting; eagerly anticipating the sign which would tell Levi the wave he wanted was coming – a wave whose crest he could ride. But the sea wasn’t a beast you could predict, with waves of all sizes moving in all directions despite their end-point being the same. Currents tugged at the waves, egging them on as they raced toward the shore and flung their white tops against the sand. Reaching out up the beach and caressing each grain of sand they scooped up along the way. Waves desperate to not let go of the sandy floor they sprawled on, clinging to it tightly as the currents pulled it back. A black stain on the water’s surface, a warning to those who respected her – a trap for those who did not. Levi respected the majestic beast that was the sea, always wanting to return safely back to shore with every wave he rode – never wanting to scare the man who sat patiently on the dunes watching, waiting for him.
From his spot on the dunes hugging the edges of the beach, Aidan could see the sun begin to cast its light upon the horizon. The first rays like fingers on hands as it reached up to the sky and pulled at the dark night till it began to crumble beneath its grasp. Darkness breaking into hues of pinks and yellows, would eventually turn blue. Aidan could feel the cool air bite at his skin harder making him shiver and tugged the blanket around him tighter, while not taking his eyes off the man sitting out there, patiently waiting on his board for the perfect wave.
Out on the water something changed. Excitement rippling along with the waves as they rushed toward the shore and carried within the cawing of the seagulls circling overhead, igniting a spark of anticipation within Aidan. He leant forward, noticing the man who he watched, was no longer sitting on his board, but paddling furiously. Aidan could see him desperately trying to catch the wave he’d waited hours for. The sight of Levi standing, twisting his body while he moved along the crest of the wave and desperately trying to stay on it until it faded out beneath him. This was what brought Aidan out to the beach so early in the morning.
Levi felt the wave build. Heard the changing sound of the sea and the excited squawking from the birds that dared to fly above in the pre-dawn light. A wave was coming, he could hear them all say with words that weren’t audible to anyone but those prepared to wait patiently on boards beyond the break. A wave was coming and Levi knew it was the one he desperately wanted to catch and ride all the way to shore. Paddling quickly, he tried to keep ahead of the swell till it became a white crest he could grab a hold of. Swiftly he stood up, balancing easily as the wave pulled him along, but he wasn’t prepared to just let it sweep him into shore. Levi wanted to ride it. He wanted to stay on top of it until it faded out beneath him into a mass of white foam spread across the sand. Twisting his body, feet firmly planted upon the board while moving across the face of the wave, as he tried to tame the wild water and make it bend to his will. He was a cowboy, the wave a bronco in the sea’s rodeo which Levi needed to ride for as long as he could – until one of them was victorious. Today it was the wave who won their battle of wills, throwing Levi off his board into the embrace of the salty brine.
Standing up laughing, water dripping from his hair and down his already drenched face while grabbing a hold of his board. Turning to face the shore, looking toward the dunes where he knew Aidan sat and waved at him, happy the man came down each morning to watch, waiting for him. Salt seeped into his lungs with every breath he took and coated his skin with every wave he ducked under as the urge to surf pulled strongly at him. Surfing was a part of him. A need that flowed through his blood like an addict craving a drug, yet Levi could toss its hold on him aside with one glance at him. His feet carrying him, before he realised, away from the waves and toward the dunes. Levi needed to hear Aidan’s voice before his ears were filled once more with nothing but the roar of the waves.
“Hey, you aren’t getting cold, are you?” Levi asked, trying not to drip water all over Aidan.
“I could never get bored watching you. It’s beautiful.”
“No… you’re beautiful.”
“Shut up,” Aidan grumbled, his eyes glancing away from Levi, still not used to the sappy platitudes which fell from his lips so easily. Blush sweeping across his cheeks in hues of red which rivalled those wrought upon the sky by the rising sun. Aidan began to wonder if this life was truly real, or if he had accidentally stumbled onto the pages of a romance novel, like the ones Levi pretended he didn’t read. “Now get back out there… I don’t want to be held responsible for you missing the perfect wave.”
“No wave will ever be perfect, compared to you,” Levi replied as he leant down for a quick kiss, before running back toward the sea, the sound of his laughter heard easily over the roar of the waves.
Blush burned brighter on Aidan’s cheeks as he watched Levi run back into the waves with his board; paddling back out beyond the breakers to wait for the next perfect wave. Sipping his coffee, he stared at the colours decorating the sky behind Levi as he once more tried to catch the waves. Colours which Aidan loved to see as they reached up from the horizon, racing ahead of the rising sun. He felt as though the pinks, reds and yellows he could see, bloomed across the sky, forcing the darkness out of their way because of Levi; colours which represented the man he was – so bright, so warm and so full of love.
Aidan hadn’t always enjoyed coming down here. He was not a person who would normally be found waking before the sun. Appreciating the comfort and warmth of his bed, only waking when the sun’s rays reached out with its hands to tug him from the slumber he enjoyed. Tickling his skin and filling his room with its warmth. But now Aidan chased after a different warmth, one that came from within and continued to warm him even when the Summer sun hid behind the clouds. A warmth which Aidan could only find by being near the man out there, on the board beyond the break.
He had always hated the sand, despite his choosing to live next to the beach long before Levi walked into his life. Despising how it always found a way into his clothes. The desperate way it clung to his skin and got stuck in his hair. No matter how many showers Aidan took or the washes his clothes went through, sand always managed to remain a few grains at a time. Now Aidan found he didn’t care, digging his feet into the warming sand, feeling it slide between his toes as he wriggled them about and finding something relaxing about the action. The sand, regardless of where he would find it later, reminded him of Levi and the beautiful image formed as he rode the waves, desperately trying to tame each one until he was bucked off or he reached the shore. Each grain of sand he shook from his hair bringing a smile to Aidan’s face. He found a reassuring warmth in wet sandy footprints which led from the beach to the stairs of his apartment; footprints which he felt had become permanently ingrained on the pavement outside it since he’d met Levi.
Smiling again, not that he could help it as Aidan noticed Levi was once more abandoning the surf and racing up the beach toward him. The brightness of the sun, shining over his shoulder as he covered the short distance between them; his board clutched tightly under one arm. The warmth the golden rays brought with them, were not strong enough to compete with the warmth Aidan felt as he watched Levi approach, a smile firmly rooted on his face. Levi stopped in front of him, dropping his board onto the sand which now began to glisten white as the sun shone down. The smile sitting broadly on Levi’s face, echoing the one Aidan wore and looking thoroughly sated.
“Couldn’t stay away from me?” Aidan teased, before squawking loudly as Levi shook the water out of his hair sending droplets of salt water into Aidan’s coffee. “I can’t drink it now,” he complained, tipping it out onto the sand.
“Maybe… but the tide has changed. The waves aren’t as good now,” Levi told him, drying his hair with the towel Aidan handed to him. “I might come back out again later.”
“Don’t you have work?”
“Nah… two weeks of holiday. Nothing but surfing and spending time with you,” Levi grinned. “Isn’t it great!”
“For you maybe… I still have work. I can’t spend all my time watching you,” Aidan retorted, his eyes watching as Levi began to peel off his wetsuit until it hung low on his hips. “No matter how much I would love to.”
Levi laughed. Laughed at the pouting face Aidan was trying to hide behind the blanket now pulled up around his face, remembering all too well the struggle he had gone through during their early days together, trying to convince Aidan to join him down here on the beach. A struggle which had been particularly difficult in the mornings when he rose while the moon still hung brightly in the sky. Yet, it had never been a deal breaker. Levi wouldn’t have been upset if Aidan still chose not to join him down on the beach, instead opting to watch him from the balcony of his apartment on those days when a perfect swell could be caught during the sun’s brightest hours. But Levi would always be grateful for the mornings like these, when Aidan followed him happily down to the beach, watching him from the dunes as he chased the pre-dawn waves.
“Come on, let’s go home. I’ll cook breakfast.”
“I’m not letting you anywhere near the kitchen. You tried to set it on fire last time.”
“It was only once,” Levi grumbled as he towelled off his skin.
“Once is enough. You set the fire alarms off at five in the morning and I had the neighbours banging angrily on the door.”
“Fine. You cook then…”
“How about we go out for breakfast,” Aidan suggested as they trekked up the narrow path through the dunes of sand and tussock to the road. Their feet slipping on the soft white sand which piled up on the once visible wooden steps, deposited there every time the wind blew. Levi reached out with his hand and grabbed a hold of Aidan as he stumbled, stopping him from falling. “…I don’t feel like cooking today.”
“Okay,” readily agreeing with Aidan’s suggestion, before removing his hand from where it sat on the man’s waist. “…I’ll race you back to the apartment for a shower,” rushing past Aidan as he ran up the dunes laughing.
Aidan was left spluttering behind him, struggling to gain traction on the soft white sand as his feet sunk into it, making it hard to chase after him. Not that it mattered, slipping a hand into the pocket of the jacket he wore and feeling the heavy metallic weight within it. Levi could get back the apartment as fast as he wanted, but Aidan was the one with keys to unlock the door. A cheeky smile breaking out on his face with this realisation, knowing Levi would have forgotten.
Summers never felt like this till he met Levi. Aidan never realised how grey his world had been; devoid of all colour as he trudged along with the same routines and never stopping to look around at the world as he passed it by. Levi brought the sunshine with him, pushing away all the greyness which stalked Aidan’s world, filling it with colour and a warmth he never realised was missing. He forced Aidan to stop and look around. To see all the beauty which surrounded him; dragging him out of the stagnant comfort which was his life. Levi made him try new things, never accepting no for an answer. Made him feel emotions Aidan thought he would never experience. He never wanted to let this sunshine go; Aidan didn’t want to return to the world he lived in before – so cold and colourless. He would chase after Levi to stay within the warmth he gave Aidan and bask in his sunshine, just as Levi would always chase the perfect wave.