Shock woke me this morning. My husband yelling, "DAWN! Thousands killed in Thailand. It's on the news. An 8.9 earthquake! Your Dad!" "WHAT?" I came running downstairs, my thoughts reeling. 'An earthquake? Oh God. An 8.9. If that hit the city of Bangkok, it would be leveled!'
CNN blasted the headlines as my husband handed me a cup of coffee. I held my breath... "The earthqake centered in Indonesia, launched tsunami waves up to 30 feet high washing away close to 200 people off the beaches of Patong Beach, Thailand."
"Oh my God", I whispered, still in shock as the pictures flashed before me the devestating remains of a place I called home for almost 6 years. Bangkok was safe. My father, brothers and sister were safe, but Paradise, the hotel on Patong Beach I helped my father open in 1982 -- the place I called sanctuary after running from John out of the country, was no where to be found.
In a matter of minutes the phone rang -- my sister on the other end. "Dawn. I just talked to Dad. It's gone -- all of it -- Paradise is gone."
'Oh no', I thought, 'what about all of our friends? What about all the people we knew that made that tiny community their home?'
"Dawn, you there?" my sister asked.
"Yeah, I'm here."
"Do you know how lucky Dad is? How lucky we are?"
"Yeah. I know," and I was left without words. Our father sold the hotel less than two years ago. We were all there, on the oceanfront hotel he and I named Paradise some twenty years before. We were celebrating the change of ownership and ringing in the New Year of 2003. A beautiful bay off the Indian Ocean where, in the eighties, I taught windsurfing with a gentle yellow Lab who adopted me, and rented bicycles to tourists. The bells of those bicycles ring in my ear now. "Jaka-yan...Jaka-yan!" I can hear my voice calling out the word for bicycle in Thai. Then I realize, as I sit here and write, that the windchimes outside my door are ringing too...and I wait for more news.