Waiting for the Perfect Wave
The day started like any other on summer holiday. Sleep in, late breakfast (brunch for cafe goers), clad in boxer shorts that double as board shorts, followed by a barefoot walk down to the beach. I could see the storm clouds rolling in across the inlet. My eyes fixated on them, my mind telling me to make the most of the brewing surf before heading back to work. It’s exactly then, my day changed. At first, I thought a Bull ant bit me; the sting immeasurable. On closer inspection though, I had stepped on a syringe.
It had to be the syringe. Nothing else revealed itself from the grey sand that had swayed like soft hay just a minute before. I wanted to see a trail of Bull ants, but they were gone, knowing the storm was coming. Inspecting my heel, I noticed a blob of blood form. I’m unsure why, but I ran to the enraged swell and soaked my foot; the salty water stinging for a moment until my foot became comfortably numb. Reality quickly came back and I sort of hopped back to my tent, ripping it down and literally throwing it and everything else into the back of my van. It’s weird, I don’t remember putting my surfboard in, but I did.
I rushed myself to Foster hospital, never resting my heel and always keeping it near the edge of the brake pedal. The emergency nurse took the syringe and said a doctor would see me shortly. I sat and that’s when the waiting first hit me. A young boy with a twisted arm sat opposite me, his mother comforting him. Beside him an elderly couple took turns to whimper but none of them where my concern. I started to see images of my future. The grim reaper came up to me and asked if I would prefer HIV or perhaps, hepatitis? I was too shocked too answer. The reaper told me, he’d be back later.
I waited for what seemed like an eternity until the nurse called me. She took my blood sample and said the preliminary results would take a couple of days, the doctor would see me shortly. This time, the doctor did. She told me, the syringe looked quite old, could have floated in from anywhere and the likelihood of me catching a disease was minimal.
The next few days I moped around the house, keeping my mobile phone close, even when I went to the toilet. I didn’t work, listen to music or converse with anybody. The reaper came to visit again, asked if I had chosen yet? Oddly, he also told me that I really should eat. I didn’t answer. I’ve been patiently waiting my whole life to catch the perfect wave but I never expected it to be one word. NEGATIVE my tests were. There never is a perfect wave. Now, I wait again. Conclusive results will take another two weeks. The storm passed but it may return.
Andrew Mansell, October 2012.