My girlfriend was always nagging about wanting to surf. So on our anniversary, I took her to a surfing class as my gift to her. She was skeptical at first. Worried it was too soon to take on the not so monstrous waves. Then she asked “What board?” — then I said “they have some at the class.” Then she asked “what beach” — then I said, “they have some at the class.” Then she was quiet.

Skepticism soon turned into anxiety. Her eyes drawn to the water. Her teeth chewing on the inside of her mouth. I assured her with a manly pat and an affectionate kiss. ‘Duty done,’ I thought.

A thick but fit man by the name of Ben was to be her instructor. This made me slightly worried. This man would have my girl in his clutches. I sighed. My girlfriend was given a board and she was off with the instructor to take on the waves. I don’t know what happened, but my bae was never the same after that one-hour class. At first, I thought it was something to do with the instructor. That he cast some spell on her, charmed her.

But it was nothing to do with him or me. It was between her and the sea.

In her eyes, she could only see the rise and curl of the waves.

In her ears, was the sound of the crashing waves.

Tingling on her skin, the grip of the board. The sticky residue of saltwater.

My girlfriend went the next day to her class. She went ahead without Ben. I saw her raise her board over the rushing waves. One by one. Crash upon crash. Then she was on her board, paddling her way into the horizon. I didn’t scream or panic. Or shout for help. She was just gone. Merged with the water.

I wondered what I would tell her parents…

The stories we tell have a life of their own and they work between the realm of what is real and how we conceive that reality.