The Crawl



How much can one endure? What is the point in which the weight that nails you into the dirt becomes to much?

When I am faced with bad times. I think back to 1994 and what I had to come back from.

This is the story broken up in segments.

September 1994

I had a good feeling inside of me. I took another swig of the beer and was laughing with my friends. Outside I could hear the rhythmic pulses of a light rain fall.

It was just me and my friends and that was fine. My girlfriend had left me. In fact, it took several days of nagging her to get her to admit that she cheated on me during her vacation. She also told me that her parents accompanied them to a beautiful local restaurant. So I was gone.

I felt great even though the rain droplets that were sliding off the freshly waxed hood of my car were not sliding off my beautiful Mustang. That car was reduced to a mass of charred metal and frame work at the end of the junk yard row. Now I was in a much simpler car that had to be purchased at the last moment to ensure I could get to work.

We ordered another round of beers. Pete and Wayne, my faithful friends were there but not the others. They were at home. Possibly thinking of what to do as they watched the small television set. The big television set sat in my room. My room at my parent’s house that I was returning to tonight. Along with the silverware, plates, and many other items that I supplied to the roomies. Long term friendships were fractured.

Despite all of these awful things, I was smiling. That is because a few days earlier, I had a few days of lucidity surfing at the NKF Pro and steamrolled through round after round. Even when I eventually failed to advance, I left the water feeling different. I did not feel like I failed. I had surfed the heats with a different kind of focus. I felt like the other competitors did not matter. I felt like I was 13 again. When winning was not even the reason to put on a jersey. That is why on this night, we were out celebrating. Also because it was close to my birthday and Pete’s.

Around 4 a.m., I suddenly rocketed out of my sleep with a sharp pain in my stomach. I felt a wave of nausea roll over me. I ran to the bathroom and barely made it.

“What did I eat?” I wondered.

The gagging continued for another hour. I had to call in to work.

The rest of the day was seemingly normal. I slept. I did occasionally wake up sweating but it had to be from the fever I thought. So I continued on watching television. Evening came and went. I went to sleep. My body still ached.

Once again, I woke up at night but this time was worse. The pain in my head was unbearable. My arms were weak. I knew I had to wake up my parents.

Waiting Room

“Mister! Lay down!”

These commands were repeated every few minutes by the frustrated nurse. I felt like a caged animal and I knew I needed some kind of help. Help that was not coming fast enough. My perception was beginning to warp. I had to get up.

“Lay down!”

The Big Change

My eyes opened to a light. The lens was refocusing to make sense of the strange landscape. I heard mutterings and odd sounds.

Enjoy your stay!

Enjoy your stay!

Then I began to make out the men in suits. Not business suits. Haz-mat suits. They saw me move and turned in my direction. One wrote on his clipboard.

My body tried to move but couldn’t. I turned to look at my arms and saw tubes that attached to me. Machines watched over my being. I noticed the bindings that kept my arms from moving. My body was aching.

Lifting my head I could see the sterile room. With windows to peer in on me like a display animal in a pet shop.

Then one of the white figures began to get closer to me and began to mumble. At first the words made no sense but as I shook my head and concentrated; they began to come together like a puzzle.

“Steven, can you hear me?”

I could only emit a groan.

“Steven, we are taking care of you. You are in the hospital. We will let your parents know you are awake.”




About 1stpeaksteve

Welcome to The Side Wedge! The Side Wedge is a product of the journey through life of Steve Zima. Former professional surfer, a writer, surf coach, and hospitality manager. This is a collection of travel tips, motivation, and stories from my past. Finally, I offer surf coaching through The Side Wedge. Please feel free to contact me with questions if you want to improve your performance today! Thanks for reading!
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