The one she knew

The boys took Robby’s board past the break, his petrol-soaked wetsuit lashed on top using a leg rope. They lit it then set it adrift.

Elena watched from the shore. She’d met him at the conservatorium. He played viola. She played cello.

As the pyre’s smoke fingered towards a darkening sky an anthemic rock track crackled through the surf club PA. It was a favourite with the crowds at the local beer barns. Was this really for him?


Robby had asked her to join his ensemble for strings and percussion.

She’d said it didn’t sound like her thing.

‘It’s absolutely your thing,’ he’d said. ‘You know how to make that cello sing. It’s the sound we want.’

Playing in the group was a revelation. It made sense of all the years of studious rigour.

Then, three weeks ago, Robby told her how he felt about her. It seemed so natural—so exciting. For a fortnight they were constantly together—recitals, art galleries, intimate dinners.

Then he lost control of his Yamaha on a slippery bend.


One of the surf club boys noticed her watching the ceremony. ‘Did you know him?’ he asked.

After a pause Elena said, ‘No. I don’t think so.’ As raindrops puckered the sand Elena turned and headed for the bus stop.