3 Oct 2009
She daydreams a lot. "Eau" (pronounced O, the French for water) was the first word she uttered. She could swim months before she could walk.
The dry world, as she calls it, offers little interest. She likes to spend her time reading about waves and whales and bottomless oceans. She draws in silence, not horses nor charming princes but coral reefs and mermaids. Get her in the water, any kind of water, and she comes alive. She dives and rolls and swims for hours with no sign of getting tired. She sits on the shore in silence. She is happy then. Water to her is like fresh air to us. She needs it.
When she was five years old, she came to me one day and asked:
- "Daddy, how old were you when you decided what you were going to do when you grew up?"
- "I dunno, maybe fifteen or sixteen, when I got my first camera I guess."
- "Gee. That's old." she said.
- "Daddy, I already decided what I want to do when I grow up."
- "Really? What is it?"
- "I'm going to play in the water with my friends."
- "That's a nice idea. But your friends will probably want to be doctors or presidents or something like that. They might not have a lot of time to play in the water with you."
She looked at me with a funny expression, like I was some kind of nut case.
- "Daddy" she said, "you know very well dolphins have no interest in becoming doctors or presidents!"
She was born on March 3rd. A Pisces, of course.
This year, I took her scuba diving for the first time (she's now 12). For the first time in her life, she was able to live and breathe and play in the water with her friends. For the first time in her life, she was in her own universe, not ours. There are no words to describe how profoundly moved she was. She cried in her mask. She cried on the boat going back. She cried on the plane going home. And now she's saving all her money to buy a tank and a regulator.
Oh yes, and an underwater camera.