Walt strode purposefully north along the white sand of Wright Island, a cherry red surf board tucked under one arm and a blanket under the other. It was early morning; the sun having been up only a couple of hours. Too early for the tourists, not that they ever came up to this part of the island.
The northern part of Wright Island was too narrow to build on. At high tide, the water would rise up to a narrow ribbon of sand dunes covered with sea oats. The dunes, only 50 yards wide, was where Walt was headed.
It was a mile and a half walk; very isolated where it would be only him and an occasional seagull.
But now with low tide. There was plenty of room to walk along what appeared to be a wide sandy beach. But that beach in reality was just a sandbar the was laid bare by the tide. The only hint of what the high tide would bring were the tidal pools that dotted the landscape.
Walt occasionally stepped on a shell and cursed under his breath. He got off work just a half hour earlier. He worked the nightshift at the local mill back in town spending his nights bundling rebar and stacking it to be sent to construction sites.
He didn't care about his job though. All Walt cared about was surfing. He took the night shift to free his days so he could stay on his beloved beach.
Keeping his boards on the top of his car with a couple of swimsuits in the trunk, he was always ready to hit the beach.
After walking for half an hour, Walt spotted the place he would stow his blanket. It was a valley between two dunes, above the high water line, but out sight of any boat that might pass. He leaned over to spread the blanket on the ground and tossed his t-shirt on top.
When he stood up, the sun glinted off his bronzed skin. He looked like a perfect statue. Years of paddling out to catch waves had broadened Walt's shoulders. His back formed a perfect V pointing down to his narrow waist. His baggy shorts hung low on his hips showing dimples just above the waist band.
He turned toward the water to survey his ocean. It was glassy with two foot waves. "The tide's too low for any decent waves," he thought. But he decided to take a quick dip in the water to wash off the dust from the mill.
He abandoned his spot in the dunes taking a walk back down to the water's edge. After wading in up to his waist, he dove head first into a two foot wave. He was a natural in the water.
Arching his back, his head bobbed back to the ocean's surface. He tilted his head back to keep his hair out of his face. The water dripped from his sun streaked brown locks that were a little too long to be stylish, but Walt didn't care.
He imagined himself to be a true surf bum; a rebel without a care. But the reality was that he held down a full time job. It didn't pay much, enough to pay for his boards, baggies and keep his old car running. He had a little apartment on the sound side of the beach that rented cheap because it was above a pizzeria.
He left his parents house 2 years earlier, tired of their nagging him to go to college. He'd never been one for books. All he needed to know was the right way to cut back on a wave to ride it all the way into shore. He wanted to go pro; surfing on the international circuit and with more practice and a few winters in Maui, he thought he stood a chance.
Today, though, there were no waves hitting Wright Island. But he figured when the tide started coming in, he might just see 6 to 9 foot swells. But the tide wouldn't come in for another couple of hours. His work night beginning to weigh on him, Walt went back to his blanket for a quick nap.
Since the wet baggies felt cold to his skin, he pulled them off to dry in the sun. "No one around to see me," he thought as he lay face down on the blanket.
The sun felt warm on his bare skin and the gentle waves crashing on the shore lulled him to sleep.