I can’t stop thinking about this guy.
He’s dead now, this guy.
Look at him, so calm, amidst the fury. But the water looks so clean, doesn’t it? So much like the pure salt surf that I’ve always loved. Who was he? Did he make his living from the sea, there in Phuket? Was he a dive instructor, or a bartender? Did he rent umbrellas and chairs on the beach? Was he a tourist himself, from somewhere else entirely?
He looks so calm.
I’ve always had a relationship with water. My brother died in the water, and I spent all the years after that, in my subarctic hometown, snorkeling back and forth in that same water from a couple of weeks after the ice broke up until well after the leaves had all fallen. Looking for something.
I almost froze to death, on purpose, naked out on the ice of that same lake in the snow, one stupid teenage New Year’s Eve long ago after I’d fought with my girlfriend, who I thought I loved enough to die for.
I’ve always been drawn into the water, in the sea, wherever I’ve been, from Wales to Fiji, when the waves were big. Stood there, always, pounding my chest, literally, and shouting into the teeth of it. Challenging it. You can’t kill me, I was saying, every time. I love you, you can’t kill me. Your power is my plaything.
Maybe this guy felt the same way, as he rode the chaos, as the tsunami washed him over the pool, across the grass, into the focus of some tourist’s camera. Confident, exhiliarated.
But he died.
Him and what, today?
60,000 80,000 120,000 150,000 other people.
Update : Apparently, he’s alive![login:vanitas password:vain]
Mike Diack gives us more information inside. Thanks, Mike! It’s silly, but somehow this guy became iconic for me of the whole incomprehensible tragedy. Holy sh-t. He’s alive.