I am not going to tell you my name but I can tell you that I am just a kid and that I am a genius. Even though I hide that from everyone. Keep it in reserve so to speak. It helps keep my thoughts in order. If it was ever discovered how smart I was the grown-ups would screw it all up somehow. That’s just a fact of life. I am also a good surfer and someday I will be a great one. If such a thing can still exist in today’s internet world where everybody is saying and thinking and seeing the same things. Which is nothing really. What makes me think I will be a great surfer though is what the grown-ups actually do right for me and my friends. They give us perfect surfboards and encourage us and take us into perfect waves, sometimes even pushing us into them, literally. Especially out here in the islands. The Mentawai islands.

I think most of us kids think we will be great surfers while we are out here on Kandui because of the feelings we get when we are on a wave. But more on that later. Right now I just want to describe kid life out here. The grown-ups don’t think we listen but they are wrong, as usual. We hear everything. Even what they are not saying. If you are a grown-up reading this, I know you know what I am talking about. About how we better enjoy our youth while we have it because the evil old world is gonna make us work someday and it will be our kids turn to live free and our turn to pay for it.

Believe me, we know it. That’s why out here we have established ourselves as wild animals. And there is not much the grown-ups can do about it, except at meal times. Us kids spend our long days here like no others in the world. Seeing things that no other kids see. Up with the sun, we rip around on Jet-skis and surf and swim and fish and explore and fight and scream and sing and cry and laugh and love. Just like the grown-ups, I guess, except that we take things like this far more seriously. Because it’s our entire life. It’s that job thing that distracts the grown-ups. That money thing they keep telling us about. Waiting for us like a tiger in the jungle. Its already got them in its jaws.

I guess the jungle has a lot to do with how wild we are out here. It’s right in front of our faces, creepy and beautiful. We don’t go into it much, but we play on its edges. That seems to be the rule it tells us with all its noises. Its voice.


That forever thing. As if you wandered into it, you would never find your way back. The law of the jungle and all that. We play in the sea like wild animals too. The toys out here are fabulous. The Jetski’s especially. We rip around on the things and drag each other behind them on surfboards and innertubes like we are trying to kill each other and sometimes almost do. We fish, not very well, but at least until we get bored waiting for something to happen. It’s great being around the surf resort. We have regular feeding hours, like zoo animals, and the food is fuel and the local people who work here are like family to us. Even the dogs smile at us and romp around in a circle during our games and howl with delight at our antics. Strange how they all gather on the beach an hour before sunset and just start barking at nothing for about ten minutes. Like a choir from hell or someplace. Like they see ghosts or something. Figure that one out. I’m a genius and I can’t.

The surfing is the glue for us. The bond. Not really the whole purpose of our life out here, but certainly the luck of it. The perfect waves here, as long as they are not psycho big, allow us to glide around and feel all that joy. When it gets stupid big we leave it to the grown-ups. But that feeling of being on a wave I talked about, its like winning a gold medal or something every time you kick out. Especially when we are all watching each other and laughing and teasing. I don’t know if any boys and girls in the world can have more fun than that. Those waves, like little lives inside us, calling out for more.

It’s a barefoot life. That’s one thing I notice. Us kids run around without shoes, pounding around on the sand and the scrub grass and getting cut up from time to time. While the grown-ups are always looking for their sandals. Seems silly to me. I can’t think of a single clock out here either, or why us kids would even need one. Our hearts send us the notices and alarms of where to be and where the action is and when it will all work out until the end of the day when we collapse, tired as only a kid can be. And we sleep without dreams and wake up stupid with the sun and the sunburn for a few seconds until we realize it’s time to do it all over again. Makes me wonder about grown-ups. What they wake up thinking. I know they think about us a lot as we live our kid lives out here so care free. Maybe they are thinking about how they are paying for it all. Not with money so much, but with time. Time seems to be so important to them. As if their is never enough. That and advice, I guess. Thinking about us as them at that age and hoping to right wrongs all the damn time. But so it goes and so it will forever between kid world and grown-up world. The difference, and the luck of it for all us kids out here is that every day is forever for us. As forever as the waves that keep breaking for us, no matter what the grown-ups say. And that’s another law of this jungle just for us.

That’s the one we’re listening to while we still can.
See? I told you we are listening.
By Anonymous • Photography by Liquid Barrel


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