Mark and I walked from the train station to the harbour without talking much. Neither of us is a morning person and yes, it was noon but it had been a short night—my sister was here for the week with her one-year-old, and Mark’s only cousin has yet to master sleeping through the night yet.
So I needed coffee and Mark needed something sweet to turn into proper human beings. And since we both knew it and know each other well, we had this informal agreement that plans for the day and long discussions will have to wait a bit.
I bought my coffee.
Mark opted for a ham-and-cheese sandwich and a brioche au sucre.
Then the adventure began.
We were in Les Sables d’Olonne for the day again, just the two of us. It was hot and sunny and we were in a good mood. I love travelling with Mark now. He is responsible, thoughtful, and fun to hang out with.
I spared a thought for my sister who is going through what I went through a few years ago—erratic sleeping patterns, long and exhausting days where you can’t accomplish much because the number one task is keeping an easy-going but active baby happy, the feeling that the trifecta of feeding-cleaning-putting to sleep is never going to end.
I turned to Mark: “Beach or beach?”
We walked by a sailing school and I started to tell Mark about the many summers I spent learning how to sail tiny Optimist boats, then catamarans, before eventually moving on to windsurfing.
“Wait. I wanna ask something.”
It was a spur-of-the-moment decision. I pushed the door of the sailing school and asked if there was anything my son and I could do for the day.
“You could rent a stand-up paddle board. He can probably go in the front and…”
“Do you have lockers?”
“Do you know what you’re doing, mommy?”
“Rarely. But this time, yeah, you can trust me.”
I mean, I only had one brief stand-up paddle boarding experience last winter in Brazil, but I can definitely stand on a board. I’ll never be one of these girls who can do the splits but I have good balance and the ocean is my friend.
I showed Mark how to lie down at the front and off we went, past the lighthouse, far out at sea.
I stopped and lay down on the board with Mark, and we both watched the sky and the cloud drifting away. The colours were gorgeous and the water clearer than I thought it would be in this part of the world—we spotted a few giant fishes and jellyfish.
And then I paddled back, against the wind and the waves back to the shore.
It was totally worth it.