Surf's Up
People’s Friend Specials|Issue 143

I was trying something new, but I would have to wait and see how it would turn out!

 

ALEX drops his bombshell on a Tuesday, his voice echoing over the phone.“I’m sorry, Melanie, but I’m not going to get home for several more weeks. We’ve hit a problem that threatens the whole project. I’ve got to go back into the field.” I groan aloud.

“Oh, no – the holiday! Travis will take

it badly.” “Is he there?” Alex sounds anguished. I sigh.

“He’s at tennis practice.”

“Well, try to explain for me.”

The phone signal fails and I’m left with nothing but a frustrating crackle.

Alex has been abroad on an engineering contract for months. None of us enjoys his absence, and the periods when he’s out in the field, and therefore out of contact, are the worst.

We’d planned to celebrate his return with a glorious holiday to nestle between Alex’s much-anticipated homecoming and seventeen-year-old Travis’s all important exam results.

But it’s left to me, fulfilling the role of both parents as usual, to break the news.

Travis’s eyes glitter with disappointment.

“It’s not fair!” He sets his jaw. “We’ll have to put the holiday back.”

I sigh sympathetically, brushing Travis’s hair back from his blue eyes.

“I’m sorry. Holiday cottages are booked in advance and Dad doesn’t know how much longer he’ll be away. The two of us will just have to make the best of it.”

“Oh, great!” Muttering, Travis takes himself off to the privacy of his bedroom.

* * * *

The journey to Cornwall’s a bit subdued, but Travis cheers up when he sees how close our grey stone cottage is to the beach.

It’s a surprise, then, that on our first day he wants to accompany me as I set out in the car.

“We can meet up at the beach when I’ve done the food shopping. It’s only a ten-minute walk,” I point out, glancing at the tempting, glittering blue.

“I have shopping, too.” He’s been so prickly lately that I decide not to argue.

In the village, it becomes obvious that Travis has only two items on his shopping list. A wetsuit and a body board.

Once he’s in possession of these prizes, he’s all smiles. “Heading for the beach, Mum! See you there.”

“Be careful!” I warn, but Travis is loping off, looking quite the surfer with his board beneath his arm and his hair blowing in the wind.

* * * *

This is my second day of sitting on the sand on my own while Travis rides the white surf to shore with whoops of joy. “Shall we do something else after lunch?” I suggest hopefully, as he gulps down his sandwiches. He looks aghast. “But the surf’s up, Mum.” I say no more and watch him race down to the sea. If I don’t want to spend every day alone I have to take action.

Putting away my book, I traipse self-consciously to Tom’s Surf Shack.

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