The sun’s tendrils of warmth slowly wrapped around me, as the gentle breeze slowly wove its way through my hair. The sound of the waves crashing against the shore and the feel of the warm sand between my toes, this was paradise. I sat there in the sand for what seemed like an eternity, trying to understand the pattern of the waves that were coming ashore.
This was my escape, my weekly adventure away from the world where I could get away and be free. There was little else in the world that provided the serenity as being on the beach just as the sun was cresting over the horizon. There were a few other individuals that I could see around the beach, but we all knew better than to disturb the peace that we had come to embrace here.
I stood up slowly, brushing a little sand off of me here and there, before I picked up my surfboard and started to walk out into the ocean. The waves were good today, with the swells sometimes getting up to ten feet. But honestly, that wasn’t such a big deal when I came out here. Just being able to paddle out into the ocean, sit on my surfboard bobbing up and down with the sea, was more than enough to make the trip worth it. This helped make waiting for the “perfect wave” more tolerable, as sometimes I’d have to sit here and wait quite a while before I saw a wave that I decided to take.
There it was, off in the distance, it was a swell starting to build and it looked much larger than the others that were approaching the shore. I got ready, starting to paddle furiously as it approached me, hoping to catch it perfectly and ride it all the back. As I paddled, I noticed that this wave was much bigger than I anticipated. I had never caught a wave of this magnitude before, and a sense of fear started to creep into the back of my mind of whether or not I could take this wave safely. Before I had the chance to bail out of it, I was caught in it. Instinctively, I got up on the board and started doing my best to not wipe out. The roar of the wave behind me seemed to get louder and more intense as I got closer to the shoreline. The fear in me was so intense that I didn’t notice that the wave was starting to break. The last thing that I could remember was being knocked off my board and into that angry wave as it came crashing down all around me.
Darkness enveloped me completely.
The sound of the hospital machines were incessant, making it harder than ever to try and sleep here. The doctor had just left the room, after telling me what had happened and the extent of my injuries. I still couldn’t feel my legs, no matter how hard I tried to wiggle my toes or do anything. The fact that I couldn’t feel them didn’t bother me too much. No, it was rather the other news that he told me. He said, “You’ll never be able to get back out into the ocean and surf again.” That one line left me empty. No longer would I be able to paddle out into the ocean and try and get away from the world for a few hours. The memories would have to do now, taking me back to the times where I could go out and enjoy paradise.