OS Welcome to Anna Nybo!
G’day to everyone! It’s wonderful to be here today at Open Skye. Thanks so much for having me.
Since my story has a strong ocean component, I’ll let you in on something few people know. I have a condition where if you add sea water to me, I turn into a complete idiot, one that is a danger (to myself).
For example, one day I was snorkelling off Selingan Island just north of Sandakan, Borneo. The water was beautiful—warm and crystal clear. There was a wide variety of corals and fish to investigate just off shore. And investigate I did—for hours. At one point I swam too close to a sea anemone and a clown fish came bursting forth and swam straight at my goggles. It didn’t waver and I thought it was going to swim right into my face. Small as it might be, to have something swim directly at your face, at speed, is disconcerting. My instinctual attempt to dodge it probably looked like some slow motion cartoon character scrabbling to go around a corner during a chase.
I promptly burst out laughing. Not the wisest thing to do when under water, but sometimes you don’t get a choice whether to laugh or not, and this time was one of those ‘not’ times. I nearly choked to death on seawater and I reckon the salt might have reacted with my lungs, which probably now resemble beef jerky. Not a pretty thought—or image.
Snorkelling again, this time off Nusa Lembongan. I was swimming around—not having the best time I’d ever had. The water was nice and warm (no wetsuit required), but murkiness always puts a damper on snorkelling, making visibility low. There wasn’t a lot of coral or fish around and I soon found out why, when I came face to face with a barracuda.
Sensible people would probably swim away (unless of course you’re experienced in this kind of thing), but remember, I’ve had sea water added—I’m now lacking IQ points. What do I do? Yes! I follow it. Why? Because, it is shiny. And I do love shiny. No silver in the world can beat the sheer brilliance of a barracuda when it’s underwater.
Of course, I can’t swim anywhere near the speed of a barracuda, but that’s not a problem as it seems quite okay hanging out with me. I had the opportunity to check its needle sharp teeth out—ignorance being bliss and all that. It wasn’t until later I discovered they do tend to hang around people swimming, and they have been known to attack said people on occasion. However, it’s usually considered to be mistaken identity, often when the water is murky and visibility is low. Er, what now?
Dan goes to stay with his best friend Josh in Margaret River, the surfing capital of Western Australia, to sort out his sexual confusion. But his best friend is the source of that confusion. Having never been attracted to a man other than Josh, Dan fears risking their friendship just to discover men aren’t his thing.
Within the first few days, Dan meets Luke, a local barista who offers him surf lessons. Dan soon finds himself emotionally coveting not one, but two men. When they go to Three Bears, his hidden desires begin to emerge. As the ambiguity of Dan’s mixed signals clears, it becomes apparent both of his surfing companions want him—badly.
It is only when Luke and Josh hook up that they formulate “Operation Three Bears,” an adventurous plan that might lead to a satisfying outcome for all of them.
Dan had already served up dinner and had left mine on the counter. He was sitting in front of the TV, plate in his lap. “How many people do you reckon dual-purpose those batik pens as mull pipes?”
I looked at the TV expecting a game show or something that would suggest which field that thought came from, but he was watching an Australian soap opera.
“Definitely no more than thirty-seven.” Giving him an answer to his bizarre questions seemed to mollify him, even though we both knew I had absolutely no facts on the subject. “What made you think of that?”
He shrugged and then waved his fork at the TV. “There was a guy in the background wearing one of those batik shirts from Bali.”
“Balinese batik is a bit full-on for a soapie isn’t it?”
Dan stared at me and then smirked. “Thinking of getting a job in wardrobe?”
“Don’t be fuckin’ stupid. Everyone at the winery chooses their own clothes.”
He laughed. “Just imagine if they had a wardrobe department at every place of employment.”
“Most places do. They call it a uniform.”
“How spectacularly boring.”
We fell into silence while we finished dinner, but I kept sneaking glances at him. Dan’s eyebrows were intensely expressive, and every time I looked at him, they were cocked in a slightly different way. Although they may have hinted what he was feeling about something, it was never clear what that something might be.
The next time I looked at him, his eyebrows were steepled, hinting at emotional pain. He was guarded when it came to his emotions, and I knew he wouldn’t tell me if I asked what he was thinking, but I was fairly sure it was nothing related to the program we were ostensibly watching. More often than not, his gaze was merely cast in the direction of the TV.
Since I’d spent most of dinner watching Dan, the moment I finished, I busied myself with kitchen duties. I couldn’t allow myself to fall into this trap with its gaping maw. Being sucked into it when I was younger, I knew the pain all too well, and my heart might not survive a second go around.
“Okay,” I said to draw Dan’s attention. I finished wiping down the counter. “I’m going to crash.”
He looked at the clock over the TV, and frowned when he turned back to look at me. “Feeling a little ragged Sleeping Beauty?” He smirked. “Or are you just hoping to feel the pea under the mattress, Princess?”
“Both.” I grinned.
An early night could only work in my favor. I clung to the hope I was just feeling horny today, and my reaction to Dan this afternoon was a momentary aberration that would disappear overnight.
“Oh, and don’t forget to suss out Luke for me. Like I said, I wanna know if he swings my way.” If Dan thought Luke might be bi or gay, I would pay the man a visit at the café and check him out myself. I could do a lot worse than having Luke as a fuck buddy. Now there was an image to take to bed with me.
A. Nybo has tried conventional methods (a psych degree and a GC in Forensic Mental Health) but far prefers the less conventional, such as the occasional barbecue in the rain, 400km drives at 1am for chocolate, and multiple emergency naps in any given 24hr period. Favourite things to do include that which can be seen (e.g. reading, writing, drawing, walking the dogs, travelling) and that which can’t, such as dreaming (both awake and asleep).
Western Australian born, she has been spotted on the other side of the planet several times–usually by mosquitoes. And discovered Amazonian mosquitoes love her just as much as they do in her home state.
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