The next morning when I woke up I found nothing but excitement flowing through me. I thought I’d be nervous, between surfing and being one on one with Ky, well I’m not sure which one scares me more! Yet, he just has a certain way about him. A way I know will keep me calm, so why get nervous in the first place?
It’s been a lot all at once, but this is what I’ve been asking for, isn’t it? I wanted a new adventure. I wanted a place to sweep me off my feet and help me forget about my past life. If I’m sure of anything, it’s that I’ve found that!
As a soft knocking began at my front door I took a second to compose myself and prepare for the day ahead. I wasn’t too sure how to dress, but Ky said just wear a bathing suit and he’d take care of the rest!
“Hey.” I greeted as I pulled open the front door. There Ky stood, same medal around his neck, except unlike at school now he’s dressed more, more, relaxed. He proudly wore a tank top which showed off sculpted biceps, and a bright green bathing suit underneath.
“How it going?” He smiled, taking a quick look around the inside of my new home.
“Same old same old.” I shrugged as he stepped back to let me out.
“I’ll take that as good.” He nervously laughed, starting to lead me down the stairs. “So my Dad and Uncle are going to come with us, and give us a ride there, but don’t worry they’ll give us our space.”
“They surf too?” I asked, looking at the running car waiting outside my house.
“Most people in my family do.” He proudly announced. “It goes all the way back to my grandfather. He grew up in Japan, and his father was a fisherman. One day my Grandfather was able to join him at work, and on the way back to the docks he was mesmerized by the surfers there. He said they rode the waves the same way dolphins do.” As he looked back to me I saw a blush fill his face. “Sorry, I know you probably don’t care about,”
“It’s alright.” I quickly interrupted with a smile. “I liked it. It’s nice that you’re so close with your family.”
“Yeah.” He shyly laughed as we finally reached the door. “Dad, Uncle Riku this is my new friend Artie.”
“It’s nice to meet you Artie, we’ve heard a lot about you.” An older man bearing resemblance to Ky announced from behind the steering wheel.
“It’s nice to meet you too Sir.” I forced a smile, following Ky into the car.
“Dad!” Ky reprimanded in a whisper.
“What? It’s been all good!” He laughed, unsure what was wrong with what he said.
“It hasn’t actually been a lot.” Ky nervously tried to recover. “Just, you know, that you’re coming surfing and all.”
“You ever been surfing before?” His uncle began, changing the topic in an attempt to save his nephew.
“No Sir.” I shook my head, trying to get a good look at his face. “I haven’t even been in the ocean before.”
He let out a loud laugh before looking back at me. “You’re in for a treat then.” He teased. Just like Ky’s father the resemblance was strong.
Ky’s father let out a hum and nodded his head. “And Kaito is a great teacher. He’s taught both his younger sisters.”
I glanced over to Ky as I heard his full name for the first time. “Ky’s just a nickname.” He tried to clear up.
“Well I got that.” I giggled as another blush engulfed his face.
“So Artie,” Ky’s father began once more. “where are you from that you’ve never been in the ocean before?”
“North Texas Sir.” I proudly answered.
“And how are you liking San Francisco so far?” Uncle Riku asked.
“So far a lot more than Texas Sir.” I announced, feeling a genuine smile overtake my face.
“Alright,” Ky interrupted, seeing another question pop into his Uncle’s eyes. “enough with the interview.”
His Uncle couldn’t help but laugh at his nephew’s frustration before saying something in a foreign language to his father. I glanced over to Ky but he simply shrugged his shoulders. The rest of the ride was a bit quieter from there. Every now and again Ky and I would start talking, but for the most part I just took in all the new sights around me.
When we finally arrived at the beach I felt my nerves starting to pick up. Ky let me borrow a compression shirt, making sure to emphasize how important they are when surfing. We helped his father and uncle remove the surf boards from the top of the car, and just like that we were on our own. They promised they’d be close if we needed them, but seemed to give us as much space as Ky wanted.
“Alright,” Ky began as the water began to run up against our feet. “you ready to go into the ocean for the first time?”
“I think so.” I forced a nod. “Nothing’s going to like, bite me or anything right?”
“Just the sharks.” He shrugged, taking a few steps forward.
“I know you’re kidding,” I began, trying my hardest to calm my nerves. “but it didn’t help.”
He let out a short laugh before looking back at me. “Sorry, you’ll be absolutely fine. I promise.”
“Alright.” I accepted before taking a few steps forward and joining him in the shallow water.
“We won’t go that much farther.” He tried to comfort. “You’ll stick to the small waves today.”
“Awww.” I let out faking disappointment. “Here I thought I’d be riding those monster waves you see on T.V.”
“One day.” He smiled, before leading me out to where the water met our waist.
“Okay, I probably should’ve showed you this on shore.” He began in a nervous laugh. “But you’re going to lay on the board, and hook your feet at the end.” Just like at school, his patience shown through in his teaching. He didn’t seem to care that I wasn’t a natural. He kept with it and tried his hardest to help me understand.
I fell my first few times trying to stand, but when I finally got it I felt adrenaline pumping through me. It’s no wonder Ky loves this! It’s just a small bump compared to all the other waves, yet I feel like I’m at the top of the world! It feels like I’m flying!
“Hey!” Ky excitedly shouted, rushing to join me at the shore. “That was amazing!”
“Thanks.” I blushed, unable to fend the smile from my face.
“Really.” He insisted as pride beamed from his eyes. “You did amazing for your first time. Most people panic and fall once they’re actually standing.”
“It kind of reminded me of riding dirt bikes.” I shrugged. “Just a lot more exciting!”
“Glad you liked it.” He laughed. As we both fell quiet a calming silence filled the air, just like in the days before. I noticed him lean in the same way Dizzy had at the bridge before catching himself and walking back towards the water.
“Let me see you do it.” I encouraged, trying my hardest to dispel the moment before it could turn awkward.
“Alright.” He nodded, setting up near the shallow waves.
“No,” I shook my head. “I mean the big ones.” I explained, pointing towards where the real waves were forming.
“I don’t know about that.” He swayed his head. “It can take a while to find a wave I like, and even then you’ll be so far away.”
“That’s okay.”I tried to support. “I want to see what everyone’s been talking about.”
He thought it over for few seconds before nodding his head. “Alright.” He accepted, slowly beginning to make his way towards the deeper water. “I’ll be back before you know it.”
I watched as he quickly made his way out into the water before patiently waiting. There were a few waves he seemed to want, but ducked into the curve before they could take him away. The water seemed to match his personality so well. Patience and grace in the way it moved, yet so much strength behind each and every motion.
Suddenly I watched Ky chase after a wave unlike he had with any other. He stayed ahead of it, showing off his true strength and power, until finally he started to rise above it. The wave wasn’t giant by any means, but to me, well it seemed massive! Before I knew it he turned into the center of the wave, doing his best to truly ride it before it crashed. I couldn’t help but smile as he reached the shallow water and made his way back to me.
“That was awesome!” I shouted as he reached hearing range. “No wonder everyone says you’re a great surfer!”
“The wave wasn’t even that big.” He shrugged, trying his hardest to play it off.
“From where I was standing it was.” I encouraged as a blush entered his face. “You’re really good.”
“Thanks.” He accepted, looking away in an attempt to hide the red on his cheeks. “I’m really happy you’re enjoying this.” He suddenly said. “This, it’s a great sport.”
“Yeah?” I asked trying my hardest to lead out whatever thought was going through his head.
“Yeah.” He nodded his head. “It’s like, like, life.” He decided. “Sometimes you wipe out and it sucks, but you can get right back on your board and head back towards the waves. Sure, you might wipe out again, but if you can catch your wave, well you feel like you’re at the top of the world.” He looked away as the smile spread on my face. “Sorry, that was really cheesy.”
“I didn’t think so.” I quickly rejected. “I, I liked it.”
He nodded before picking his head back up and leading me back out towards the water. The rest of the afternoon seemed so exciting from there. From trying to catch waves together, to just sitting around and talking. It was all so peaceful. In a lot of ways it reminded me of quiet days in Texas. Just sitting around and enjoying nature for what it is.
When we finally wrapped up Ky’s Dad treated us all to lunch. Just like Ky, he was welcoming and kind. He seemed to live in the moment, trying his hardest to enjoy every second. The conversation was a bit more relaxed than the car ride here. They taught me more about surfing, and even told more stories of Ky’s Grandfather from Japan.
The whole situation reminded me of Zach’s father. A man who would let me help out on his farm all summer, yet he never seemed to show me the hospitality Mr. Iwata is. He never seemed to really appreciate my company. To him I was just another farmhand. Yet to Mr. Iwata I’m not just his son’s friend, but someone he wants to share his culture with.
I was disappointed when we finally got back to my house, but they promised I could come surfing with them whenever I wanted. Ky wouldn’t even let me wash the shirt he had lent me! He insisted that he had to wash his and his father’s anyway, so another wasn’t a big deal!
As I watched their car pull down the street I noticed a familiar figure sitting under the shade of a tree in the park, reading a book.
“Dizzy?” I asked, cautiously approaching the tree.
“Funny seeing you here.” He teased as he quickly looked up with a smile.
“It’s almost like it’s across the street from my house.” I played along, watching him carefully.
“This is coming off more creepy than playful, isn’t it?” He laughed as I slowly nodded my head. “Sorry, I just needed to get out of my house, and I figured if you noticed me when you got home, well maybe we could read together in the park.”
“And if Ky noticed you?” I teased with a growing smile.
“Some risks are worth taking.” He shrugged his shoulders. “Besides, I’m not scared of Ky.”
“He’s pretty strong.” I warned, thinking back to the way he darted through the water with ease.
“Brains beat brawn every time.” He happily said, looking back down at his book.
“I can promise you that’s not true.” I laughed, drawing his gaze back up. “I’ll be back out in a few minutes, I need to get changed.”
He nodded and watched as I quickly made my way back into my house. Once more he’s walking that thin line as carefully as he can. I knew it bothered him that I was spending the day alone with Ky! It’s funny, anyone else and this would be way creepier, but with Dizzy, well it’s who he is! He’s trying to be fun and surprise me. I just wonder what Ky would think if he found out what was happening!
“Finally!” Dizzy teased as I made my way out of the house and back towards the tree he was sitting under.
“Wait, I forgot a hat!” I decided, realizing how crazy the water must have made my hair.
“Ughhh.” Dizzy groaned, making sure to be as dramatic as possible. “You move so slowly!”
“Do not.” I argued as I began to walk back across the street. This time I tried to be as fast as possible. I darted into the house and grabbed my camo hat off the dresser before running back out.
“You forgot your hat!” He teased as I finally reached the tree.
“No I didn’t.” I shook my head.
“Yes you did.” He insisted in laughter. “There’s no hat on your head.”
“It’s right here!” I yelped, taking it off and showing it to him.
“What’s right where? Did you hit your head surfing? Do I need to call an ambulance?” He continued in a loud goofy voice.
“What?” I asked, but as I looked back down at the camo hat understood what he was trying to say. “You’re stupid.” I shook my head, before tossing it back on and opening up my book.
“I can’t believe you actually have a camo hat!” He continued to poke. “Could you be any more of a stereotype?”
“Well I like it.” I defended, proud of the way I dressed.
“I don’t,” He shook his head. “but on you most things look good.” I uncomfortably fidgeted as I heard those words, and pretended to focus on the book in my hands. “Sorry,” He suddenly began in a serious voice. “We, I, I’m kind of pushing you pretty hard aren’t I?”
“Not just you.” I began, surprising even myself that I was opening up. “Everyone is just throwing a lot at me all at once.”
“Sorry, I don’t mean to smother you.” He sighed. “I just figured we’d have some fun.”
“I’m not complaining.” I tried my hardest to clarify. “Besides, that was a good kind of smothering.” I quietly admitted as a blush filled my face.
“Surprising you, or what I said?” He asked, quickly looking over to me.
“Guess you’ll have to figure that one out.” I shrugged, looking back down at the pages in front of me.
He let out a small laugh before looking at his own book and falling silent. We were quiet for a little while, just trying our hardest to enjoy the moment. Maybe this was a good idea after all. It’s peaceful, and I wanted to read when I got home anyway!
“Artie?” I heard Adam’s voice call out as he approached the stairs to our house. “Artie!” He yelled as he began to approach.
“Holy time traveler.” I heard Dizzy remark as he looked over to him.
“Hey Adam,” I forced a smile. “how was work?”
“Good.” He shrugged, looking from me to Dizzy then back to me. “How was surfing?”
“Fun.” This time when I spoke I felt my smile turn genuine. “You should come sometime.”
“I don’t think so.” He shook his head. “I’m just relieved you’re back in one piece.”
I nodded before watching him look back towards Dizzy. “Adam this is Dizzy, Dizzy this is my Uncle Adam.”
“I thought you were going surfing with your friend Ky.” Adam said, shooting me a confused look.
“I did.” I confirmed. “That was this morning.”
“I know.” He let out. “I just, I didn’t know you were so popular.”
“He’s like the coolest kid in school.” Dizzy teased with a smile. “One person comes from Texas and the whole damn place falls apart.”
“Stop.” I warned, trying my hardest to hide my laughter.
“Alright then.” Adam shrugged. “I’m going to go lay down, we’ll eat dinner around seven?”
“Okay, sounds good.” I accepted as he waved bye to Dizzy and walked back towards our home.
“I hate to break it to you,” Dizzy began in a playful tone. “but that’s not your uncle.”
“No?” I sighed, bracing for whatever nonsense he was about to say.
“No, he looks too much like you.” He shook his head. “That’s you from the future. You went back in time to watch younger you.”
“I’m sure that’s what happened.” I rolled my eyes.
“That’s why he doesn’t have an accent. He lost it over all that time.” Dizzy decided in a nod.
“What?” I asked, looking over to him.
“Well if you both moved from Texas, why do you have an accent and he doesn’t?” He prodded with curious eyes.
“Oh.” I exhaled, falling quiet.
“He didn’t move with you.” Dizzy suddenly realized. “I’m sorry Artie, I was just goofing around. I didn’t realize,”
“It’s okay.” I interrupted with a forced smile. “You didn’t know.”
“I am really sorry.” He said, trying to sound as genuine as possible. “If it’s any consolation the taste of foot in my mouth isn’t very good.”
I couldn’t help but laugh as he picked my spirit right back up. There’s just something about him, some kind of craziness that pulls me to him. Even when he messes up he finds a way to make me smile. The rest of the day we wound up talking a lot more than reading. At first it was about the series we were both reading, then it slowly turned into my stories about surfing and finally him telling me all about his art. He even offered to show me it one day!
When it was finally time for him to go I couldn’t help but feel a bit down. Don’t get me wrong, I’m exhausted from my day, but it was nice getting to see both him and Ky today. They’re both just so, so, alluring.
As I walked back into my house I noticed Adam passed out on the couch with the T.V. on. I shook my head and turned off the T.V. before walking up towards my bedroom. I went to take a nap of my own, but as I noticed the pile of dirty laundry in the corner knew it was going to bother me too much to sleep. I haven’t done laundry in a week! I wanted to at my grandparents, but I was too scared to ask!
I quickly picked up the small white basket full of laundry, made my way downstairs and to the basement door Adam has shown me. I quickly pulled it open and descended into the dark mysterious room. As I flipped the switch on I realized that it wasn’t a basement, but instead the garage! It was empty for the most part aside from storage boxes and the washer and dryer.
As I walked closer to the washer I noticed a basket full of Adam’s dirty clothes. I wish I could say it surprised me, but if there’s anything I’ve learned from these past few days it’s that Adam is messy! I quickly threw them in the washer with mine before starting the load. I never really minded doing laundry. It’s not hard or anything. I mean you just throw stuff into a machine then wait!
When everything was finally washed and dried I sorted them both into each basket and folded the clothes. It took a couple of trips but it didn’t matter to me. I laid his basket outside of his room before starting to put my own clothes away.
As I reached the end of my basket I heard a gentle knocking begin on my door. “Come in.” I called out as Adam slowly opened the door. “Sorry, did I wake you?” I asked, seeing how tired he looked.
“No.” He shook his head, still fighting off the grogginess. “The basket outside of my room, you washed my clothes?”
“Well yeah.” I nodded my head. “I was going to ask where you kept them but you were sleeping, and I found them right next to the washer anyway.”
“Artie,” He began, unsure what to say. “You don’t have to do my laundry.”
“It’s alright, I was doing mine anyway.” I tried to comfort, realizing how weird he was being about it.
“I don’t want to take advantage of you or anything.” He tried to clarify. “I mean, shouldn’t I be doing your laundry.”
“You work and take care of the house.” I shrugged. “It’d be silly if you did everything. I mean besides, aren’t we,” I froze realizing what I was about to say.
“Aren’t we what?” Adam asked.
“Forget it.” I dismissed. “It’s stupid.”
“No, go ahead.” He encouraged, patiently waiting for my answer.
“A team.” I finally forced out.
“Oh.” He exhaled, taking a long look at me. “Is that how you and Sarah used to operate?” He asked, but got nothing back. “Then yes, we’re a team.” He confidentially nodded his head. “I’ll go start dinner, does pasta work?”
“That’s fine.” I nodded, keeping my eyes on the dresser.
“Artie,” He called out, forcing me to look over to him before leaving. “I’m glad to be on your team.”
I felt a smile cross my face as I heard those words. “I’m glad to be on your team too.”
I think Ky is right. Life is just like surfing. Waves, they can be so scary. They can tower over you and threaten to take you out. But you can always get right back up and go after the next one. I think I’m finally done wiping out. I think I’m finally riding a wave. I think I’m finally at the top of the world.