He wakes up before the crack of dawn. In the darkness, he makes coffee and pours the black liquid into a thermo flask. He loads up his truck with his short board, one of many surfboards stacked neatly on his deck. He drives to Ho’okipa, the beach renowned for international wind surfing competitions.
In his truck, he calls one of his surf buddies on his new smartphone and hears him on the Bluetooth speakers.
“Hey! How’s it going? Are you there yet?”
They had just spoken yesterday about the waves in winter. In fact, he and his surf buddies speak often, checking in from time to time to exchange views on the weather and surf conditions. Their language is a world of their own.
They also exchange gossip. Close encounters with sharks are not reported in the news. They lament over the loss of their friends. The exchange is short but sufficient. They want to know where the surf is, how high the waves are, whether the forecast is correct, any dangerous conditions, etc.
As soon as he hangs up, his phone plays Coldplay’s “Clocks” — another surf buddy is calling him. He answers quickly, “I’m just about to park.”
He turns into the barren beach and sees his buddy who is ready to go into the waters. He parks in one of many open stalls and gets out of his truck. As he unloads, he thinks of the breathtaking beauty that surrounds him. He longs for a soulmate to experience the natural wonder of this part of Maui where surfers reign.
He secures the numbered pad lock on the back of his truck. He has memorised the four digit code like tattoo on his deeply tanned skin. There’s no point carrying keys or anything superfluous that might get lost in the sand and sea.
As he holds his turquoise surfboard, barefoot in the sand, ready to walk into the ocean, he spots a familiar face. It’s his ex-wife and her boyfriend. He pretends he doesn’t see them.
Maui is a small place. After you split up, you still see each other, because you live close by, have the same routines, and go to the same places. The only way to avoid running into them is to put on a poker face and avert your gaze.
He struts into the tepid water in the dark. The first ray of the morning sun pierces through the clouds as he dives into the Pacific Ocean.