The tsunami affected the lives of lots of people. But the incident that attracted my attention most is the little girl, with her knowledge of the changes in beach line before a tsunami, and her forewarning of fellow tourists in the beach, saved many lives. I am going to tell the story of this little girl – in a slightly different way….
Scene 1: The beach
On the day of the tsunami, it was Dora who first spotted the residing waves. When the waves resided, a large portion of previously water-covered beach came into sight, with lots of little creatures and interesting pebbles spreading around. This unspoiled portion of the beach looked particularly beautiful. Dora was amazed by the beautiful sight, and so did an old man standing nearby. Yes, to be true, it was Dora and the old man who first spotted the residing waves.
Dora’s delight was only a few seconds long. She remembered her geography teacher told her that a sudden residing of the waves was a precursor of a tsunami. She immediately rushed towards her parents, and yelled “A big wave is coming! We should leave immediately.” Unfortunately, Dora had not been famous for always sticking to the facts. Her parents often heard about her stories of angels and that she could see fluorescent coloured circles floating over the heads of saintly beings…. “Perhaps this is another of her funny stories again!”
The old man suddenly cried out “Run! I see a lot of fluorescent stones…. Everybody run away from the beach….” Her parents suddenly realised that something dangerous might be coming its way, so they too cried out “Run! Everybody run away from the beach”.
Scene 2: Dora and the old man
The old man turned out to be a not-so-popular figure in the community. Once in a while, he would complain to his neighbours that he saw some to the pebbles in the beach turned fluorescent. And that when the pebbles turned fluorescent, the aliens would come to fetch him, and he was very scared!
As a result, everybody (including our learned journalists) only praised Dora for saving the lives of so many people on the beach. As a matter of fact, the story became international news. But who would notice the contributions of the poor old man who often complained about seeing fluorescent pebbles! So much so, after hearing about the background of the old man, Dora’s parents warned Dora not to walk near the old man when she saw him in the beach next time. Well, this was fair warning, because Dora liked to walk to the beach alone to collect pebbles.
Dora was indeed puzzled. It was the old man and herself who discovered the beautiful previously uncovered part of the beach, and it was also the old man and herself who saved the people from the onslaught of the tsunami, why such unfair treatment to the old man? After the event, there seemed to be some kind of bondage between Dora and the old man.
Scene 3: Anything fluorescent is saintly
It is hard to tell who started the relationship first, little Dora or the old man. But somehow, there seemed to be an unspoken agreement that their relationship had to be kept secrete and private. True, they never talked about the subject. However, it seemed that both of them, separately, believed that if they discussed the subject, some how the relationship could not last…..
Dora enjoyed talking to the old man. Nobody, except the old man, seemed to be interested in her story of angels and fluorescent saints. She could spend a whole afternoon talking about her subjects in great details. She was most delighted that there was indeed a person who could actually saw fluorescent colours like her. In the past, when she told her father that she could see fluorescent colours, her father always answered with a broad smile: “You will grow out of it.”
The old man was delighted. Finally there was somebody who believed that he could see fluorescent pebbles that sometimes, for no reason, just poked up in the beach. More importantly, as the relationship grew, the pebbles were no longer frightening (actually the feeling was quite good!). Didn’t she say “Fluorescent colours belong to the almighty”?
Scene 4: Milk and the Milk Man
Like any little girl, Dora liked inventing new games. The game she invented for her new friend was “Guess which pebble is fluorescent?” It was very simple. When Dora saw an interesting pebble, she would make a note whether that particular pebble was fluorescent. Then she would ask the old man “Is this pebble fluorescent?” Surprisingly, the old man’s answer was correct 100% of the time!
Nevertheless, the law of probability could not always favour the old man. Sometimes, they didn’t have the same answer. Dora was so eager to get the same answer from the old man that she started giving hints to the old man as to which answer she was expecting. The poor old man however could not tell a lie – in particular to his little angel Dora. Dora could not understand, it seemed that the old man was beginning to betray their relationship. Dora was deeply hurt. Having a kind heart, Dora would, however, forgive the old man for his “wrong” answer every time.
Dora remembered once her father told her “Don’t get too friendly with the Milk Man.” She asked why. Her father explained. In order to be happy in this world, there had to be “fair deals”. We paid the money, and the Milk Man delivered bottles of milk to us everyday on time.
“Once your mother got too friendly with a Milk Man. One day he missed his morning delivery, and we had no milk. He later said that his wife was sick. Then another day, he missed his morning delivery again. This time his son was sick….. Your mom was too sentimental. And it took a lot of quarrels between me and your mom to finally decide to fire the Milk Man. From then on, we never befriend any Milk Man again. Dora, remember, people will take advantage of your kind heart…..”
Scene 4: The showdown
The relationship between Dora and the old man finally came to a showdown. One day, when Dora and the old man walked along the beach, they met her father face to face. Her father was very angry. He had warned Dora many times that she should not get near the old man.
Perhaps because the old man had just missed Dora’s hint on a fluorescent pebble, or perhaps because Dora was growing out of her “immaturity” now, or simply because of sheer fright of being caught, Dora jumped away from the old man and cried out “I don’t know this man, I don’t know what is happening…..” She started to cry out in tears.
The old man was shocked. The pebbles became fluorescent, Dora became fluorescent, her father became fluorescent, everything became fluorescent, the light was so sharp and piercing that he could not breathe. He immediately turned away from the fluorescent light and walked away, without saying a word.
Scene 5: Ground zero
Years later, Dora went back to the beach. She was now at University. She then knew that the old man was having a situation called schizophrenia. Of course, she could no longer find the old man. She thought, a long time had passed, if the old man could survive up to this day, there would be psychiatric drugs that could manage his conditions. He would no longer suffer from the pain of being frightened by fluorescent lights. More correctly put, after taking his medicine, he would calm down because he could no longer see the pebbles in fluorescent. Of course, then he would no longer have the opportunity to see the saintly part of things. That would however be of no importance now, because Dora could no longer see fluorescent again herself.
Paul's comment: I wrote this little story a few years ago. It crystallizes a little tsunami in my life, making sense some bizarre happenings, giving expressive, and therefore meaning, out of chaos. Now, it is but one of those little stories that I jotted down in different stages of my life. Devoid of any current meaning. Yet, our uniqueness is precisely narrated through those little things that one day shall become unimportant to us and never will become important to others. Therefore the purpose that I recreated it here is to show its importance of being unimportant. Can't follow me? Never mind, it is not important anyway...:):)
|tsunami girl saying farewell to the death of her beloved (a true picture not of my taking)|