The day a twelve-year-old became my new favorite surfing buddy. To be fair, she was a really rad twelve year old. To be fair to her, I am a pretty chill (childish) adult. I would say she was the more confident one. We eyed each other for a while, and finally I hooted at one of her waves, to which she replied, “I see you catching some good ones too.”
The next time I saw her was Valentine’s day. She paddled right over. “Hi!” Definitely not shy. We caught up on the basics. She, nine years living here, school closed last month with the earthquakes, hasn’t re-opened. Typical. Surfs mostly with her dad, just down the beach a little.
“We call that spot Ca-Mica, because my name is Cassy and his is Mica. I think I might go surf down there later when there’s more people at the lighthouse. Sometimes they cheer for me. I want to show off,” she stated matter of factly, owning it. “Come show off with me.”
“Cassy,” I countered. “They might cheer for you, but I doubt they’d cheer for a thirty-year-old catching knee high waves on a longboard…but then again, I can just pretend they’re cheering for me when they cheer for you.” She laughed.
“They’re all out on their Valentine’s dates,” I said bitterly. We looked at the beach. A table was set up for a sunset dinner, a couple dressed in matching red suits were taking selfies in the surf.
“Losers,” said Cassy.
“Yeah…totally,” I murmured.
“This is the lonely heart club out here, all the single people out surfing.” She turned and caught a wave and I scanned the water, checking the scene. Not too promising. She paddled again to my side.
“So,” she sighed. “You’re a single pringle just like me, huh.” I chuckled. What a cool kid. She went on to say how she’s relieved there is no school today.
“So you don’t have to worry about who will or won’t give you a Valentine?”
She nodded. “I’ve gotten big stuffed animals before,” she cringed. “Usually I cut their heads off.”
I played along. “Oh yeah?”
“Yeah, then I take out the stuffing and pop off the eyes.”
“Do you take it down to the beach to do witchcraft?”
“No, I save the stuffing for other projects. And the eyes in case I want to put them on the wall or something.”
“Oh, you’re serious,” I laughed. “You really do take apart your Valentine’s animals!”
“Yeah!” (Duh!) “But the hard part is I really have to scrub all that paper off the back of the google eyes.”
I shook my head as she caught another wave.
Eventually her father paddled over, as she moved down the line to the lighthouse, to ‘show off’. He introduced himself, caught up on the basics. Father, three daughters, Cassy the youngest. (Big wedding ring;)
“She doesn’t have anyone her own age to surf with,” he said. “When I was young I surfed with my buddies and we pushed each other.”
I fell into an instant daydream of a young women’s surf club, outings, women’s counsels, badass girl shit…when life slows down.
“I’m her main surfing buddy,” Mica broke into my fantasy, “thanks for surfing with her.”
“Oh my god! My pleasure,” I said, playing it cool how honored I was to be chosen by this tweenager. Kids make me nervous. All spit and fire and honesty. They’ll let you know pretty quick if you’re not cool enough.
She paddled back by my side. “So we’re out here looking for men huh?”
“Hey! Only young men for you!” I scolded. Twelve seems so damn young! Isn’t she supposed to be into, like, bugs and climbing trees, and…ripping heads off stuffed animals? Should I even be joking about dating with her? I panicked. “I’m watching you.”
“It’s ok, I’ve already got my eye on someone,” she shrugged.
I changed the subject, called her into the next building wave. “Go, this one, paddle!” She started in, then backed out, “It’s gonna break on my head!” A young surfer still.
“OK,” I smiled, “next one.”