The FedEx delivery driver carefully leaned a narrow, but six-foot-tall box up against the weathered teal-colored patio wall nearest Lucas’s front door. On the side of the shiny black cardboard box read Gnarly Shreds and Threads, a popular surf shop on Maui. The revving of the delivery truck engine sent vibrations through the thinner walls and elevated wood flooring of the Upcountry island home. These vibrations quickly bumped up against Lucas who sat hunched over an Xbox controller, blasting enemies. He lifted his noise-canceling headsets and looked over his shoulder just in time to see the white truck zoom out of sight through the partially open window blinds.


Could this be the day it arrived? He wondered. Lucas ripped off the headset, dropped the controller and darted for the front door. He nearly ate it when his left foot snagged the backpack he’d dropped earlier between the entryway and livingroom. The one his mom has asked him to move.


Lucas regained his balance, resuming a speed faster than a dog zeroing on dropped food. He pulled open the front door with such force he nearly whacked his own forehead. Then flung open the screen door and scanned the patio; salt air filled his nose. His eyes grew two sizes bigger as the large box, shadowed by palm trees, came into view. Lucas stepped outside and put both hands on the box scanning it up and down. After the moment passed, he clumsily waddled the box through the door and to the livingroom—nearly tripping on the backpack, again. He carefully laid it on the floor before running to the kitchen’s junk drawer in search of something sharp.


He found some generic black-handled scissors and, knowing not to run with scissors, he power-walked back to the box that had drawn the attention of his mom.


“I was getting nervous it would not arrive in time. You leave in two days,” his mom said as she kneeled down and helped position the box so that Lucas could begin cutting the tape.


He opened the scissors and slid the sharp metal along the box’s taped edges. With the help of his mom, they again, repositioned the box and pulled open the lid to reveal a brand new shaped 5 foot 7 inch short board. Longwise, three giant black letters, G, S, and T, adorned the top. It was mostly white save for the blue and pinkish pastel colored traction pad—resembling the famous Hawaiian shave ice—already affixed near the fish tail. As Lucas was running his hand along the board, he felt a small poke. It was an envelop tucked between the board and box’s sidewall. He pulled it out and opened it.


“Dear, Lucas! By now you should have received your travel arrangements and lodging for Bali. And we’ve been hard at work finding you a sponsor. Well kid, congratulations! Gnarly Shreds and Threads is eager to throw their support behind you. They’ve gifted you this new board, and the clothing beneath it. And oh! Don’t miss the thousand dollar VISA card in this envelope!”


Lucas stopped reading and immediately looked for the VISA card; it was there! Then, he carefully lifted the new board from the box and set it bottom-side up, the already attached fins upward. Just as the letter said, there in the box laid three GST branded t-shirts and board shorts. He held up the first t-shirt to show his mom. It was light pink with the Gnarly Shreds and Threads logo: an artsy shaka hand atop a surfboard riding a cartoony wave, enclosed by four Tiki sticks making a rectangle—a bold “GST” straddled the lower rung. The shirt matched perfectly with the light blue board shorts with wavy narrow white lines crossing from left to right. The pattern made you think of ocean waves. The other two shirts and shorts had similar branding and colors. All too perfect. He pinched himself again.


He returned to the letter. “This is just the beginning. We think once the professional photos of you out there shredding it in these new threads will bring in more sponsors. But don’t worry too much about that right now. Come, have fun and get ready for some of the best surfing of your life.” Below “Sincerely Bro,” Lucas recognized two familiar signatures: Ian Waterman and Kyle Lenny.


Lucas considered asking for a ride to the PY but thought better of it. He didn’t want to risk damaging the new board—or worse, have it stolen. So he carefully repackaged it and walked down the narrow hallway, nearly knocking a few of his baby photos off their nails, to his bedroom. He briefly opened the lid again and snapped a quick pic for his Instagram. He tagged Gnarly Shreds and Threads, writing, “Mahalo for my new ride! #BaliBound.” While he waited for the likes and comments to roll in, he climbed onto his unmade bed, the grey comforter pulled back revealing the Marvel sheets his mom had gotten him last Christmas. 


He didn’t realize he had shut his eyes. But the next thing he saw was the turquoise water of Bali barreling toward the light brown sand beach. Under his arm was the new GST’s board—leashed and ready. Lucas raced toward the receding water and at the right time, threw himself forward, landing nicely atop his board in paddle position. As a barrel approached, he duck-dived—it was in slow motion as he passed through the clearest water and popped up on the backside, letting out a breath, slowly shaking his hair left, right, then flipping it back. Time returned to a normal pace as Lucas paddled to where his other three friends, Dylan, Jayden, and Kai, were sitting atop their boards welcoming him to the lineup.


Lucas could see the perfect swell moving toward them…


“This one’s all yours,” called out Dylan.


As Lucas lay flat on the board, he looked to his left to see a man with an expensive camera also getting into position. The idea of being filmed filled Lucas with adrenaline—a coldness coursed through his veins. He began to kick and paddle. He felt the face of the wave forming and suck his tail upward. This was his moment. He popped up like a pro as his speed increased. Time slowed once again as the peak of the wave curved over his head and waterfall'd ahead of him. Lucas barely had to crouch inside the now hollowed-out wave face. Determined to exit the barrel, Lucas added pressure to his front foot and carved a bit toward shore. The tip of the board gradually crept into the sunlight—


Buzz! Buzz!


The vibration of his phone against his hand-me-down nightstand ripped him back to reality. Somewhat annoyed and groggy, he fumbled for his older iPhone and through the slightly shattered screen an Instagram notification awaited. A message.


“Sick board! Two days!” wrote Dylan. 


Lucas wanted to return to his dream, but while reading the message he noticed 33 notifications, triggering Dopamine in his brain. He couldn’t resist sitting up and reviewing who liked his pic. A few of his friends, a couple girls he thought are cute. And even the GS&T account had liked his post.


However, his joy came to an abrupt halt as his eyes caught one particular comment. Three little words threatened to doom the entire trip.


  BACK  |  NEXT  


When's the last time you felt impatient?

What do you think it means to delay gratification? (Consider searching "delayed gratification.")

How might learning patience be helpful to you?