How are you going this week?
This is based on a true story, when I was in Thailand, aged 24.
It's in my new book, Us & Them.
I ambled to the beach
Two hours in a hammock is enough
Where he was working on his wooden boat
A shamble of a thing for two
Yet was an object of pride
And something for him to do.
He’d been on the island for a couple of years
And his accent was the same as mine
Not too uncommon in South-East Asia
Yet, this was an under developed island
Merely travellers on low budgets like myself.
‘Come fishing,’ he said
Referring to a monolithic monument
Jutting out of the sea
Like a travel brochure.
Stunning yes, but fishing is not my thing
He was twenty plus years older
And convinced me
Though I wasn’t crazy about the roll of the sea either
Thanks to a Force Gale Five
In the Bass Strait
Three years prior.
I was soon staring into the bottomless blue
With colourful species foreign
The only fishing I did
Was out of a can of Thai beer
And listened as he revealed
His plan for the limited time he had
It was an era when having HIV
Meant certain demise.
I wondered if he wasn’t about to
Enact some dramatic tragedy
Right there and then
The beach and my hut
And the chance of seeing others
(Though there’d been none to begin with)
Hidden behind the rectangular mountain of rock.
I was too young to know what to say
Though maybe saying nothing was best
And we eventually rowed back
With a couple of fish
Though this knowledge
Added a more substantial presence
Considering that he had told me
That he would kill himself
The moment he began to lose his independence
As he was alone there
In the jungle
By the ocean
And I gathered the feeling
After I left a week later
That he was a man of his word.
Based on real events in Thailand, 1991
The island was Koh Pha Ngan. I believe it's quite busy now but then, it was quiet and less developed, which is why I went there. I stayed for a week on my own on the way back to Australia, having travelled for 2.5 years.
|Self portrait - I went for a long walk up the coastline, often in the water as it was a lot of 'jungle' and quite deserted. |
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