She picked up her back pack and slung it back on. The board was carefully inserted under her arm and then she struck out along the rocky shore. It was a trudge to the southern headland at the other side of he bay. The grey granular sand sucked at Mouse’s boots and the rock formed mini sharp edged prominotories across the beach at frequent intervals making steady progress difficult.
As she walked her mind drew her back to the twins. Sara reminded her of herself at fourteen. Youthful confidence that was frequently mistaken by all but Mouse for willful bone headedness. There was no way her friends or Rob were going to persuade her that a promising junior ballerina could not support a robust enjoyment of Taekwondo. The bruises and that black eye from last month caused a ripple at ballet practice for more than a week. Grace Fanshaw, the ballet mistress, tip toed around the non issue for a while until on the Friday when she offered the opinion that Sara’s appearance was not appropriate for the atmosphere she was trying to create at her school. Sara and Mouse unfortunately smiled in unison. Mouse’s insistence that Sara’s other interests had to be supported too was made with just a little too much haste . She was a marked woman. Grace Fanshaw disapproved of artless thrashing around and the apparent violence was quite incomprehensible.Greg on the other hand smelt of Golden Virginia and rarely lifted his eyes above the screen in front of his face or a science fiction novel. Mouse felt that he was near a tipping point , the balance would swing imperceptibly over the next year or so and uncover a young man ready to surface into the world shared by a greater number of his fellow brethren.
“He’ll just have to take his own time” Mouse said out loud to no one.
She looked back out at the point. The break was 400 meters distant but to Mouse’s huge disappointment she spotted two surfers paddling out to the break. She felt cheated in the way that you feel when an intimate secret is exposed as no more than a common place fact that others claim to have known forever. The surfers must have made their way to the break whilst she was concentrating on the clamber across the beach.
How could this be? Mouse had saved this pleasure for optimum conditions for years. Now she was going to have to share this rare bird with two interloper’s. She found a sheltering rock and thrust her back pack down with more force than was necessary. She undressed hastily and pulled on her wetsuit and boots. She grabbed her board and walked to the shoreline. Though the waves looked sizeable on the point there was only a minimal shorebreak to negotiate. After the first duck dive she concentrated fiercely on the long paddle out to the peak. As she got within 100 meters of the lineup ,the surfers came into view as the swells rhythmically added and and subtracted from the horizon.
Mouse stopped paddling suddenly. Her heart shuddered as if a cold hand had squeezed it. No …it could not be, the two supine figures ahead looked just like…. nah it could not be. Another swell passed under her leaving a clear view across the glassy water of the two figures now sitting on their boards.
Two lithe but unmistakably middle aged figures sat on their boards. One female , with a straight back , still a remarkably boyish figure and tied back bottle blonde hair. Her impish face deeply tanned but the ravages of decades of sun and brine had left their marks on a once honeyed complexion. The eyes , though had retained their pebble like intensity. The man, now very slightly stooped but with his trademark zapata moustache fixed to his ruddy face. Long grey hair brushed the shoulders of his black wetsuit.Both figures looked directly at Mouse and smiled. The smiles lacked all sign of good will and warmth. They were masks, covering faces that Mouse had spent twenty years trying to loose from the miasma of a distant yellow eyed tropical nightmare.
Just then the wind gusted . Mouse shivered involuntarily.
” Fucken Mouse. The cats have come to cut your tail off.”
” Bronnie and Nat. Paddle in guys , you should leave”. Mouse knew that her words would jump across the brown water and sink to the depths like a stone before they could penetrate the foul air around the two black wetsuited figures.