Facing the wave

The wave is huge.

So huge that it seems to stand still in the distance like a majestic mountain.

Its small white crest slightly curls with the wind.

On the immensity of the water, many boats, of all sizes, from the simple boat to the liner.

Sailboats, surfboards, simple buoys, …

Some people have seen the wave, others not yet.

But very quickly, everyone wants to move in the same direction.

Far from the wave… but without any land in sight.

The moment would not be dramatic, it would be beautiful. The ocean seems frozen with time, an azure blue sky, a pleasant temperature, a perfect calm of which only nature is capable.

But the noise of the engines reminds us of reality.

In this frantic race with no finish line, the tension increases.

The engines roar, the sails tense, the oars activate, the muscles warm up.

Some try to board other boats, others try to negotiate a last minute exchange or ask to be towed to go faster, others capsize, unbalanced by the number of people on board.

In the midst of this emerging chaos, Georges felt helpless.

He swam slightly to stay afloat and observe the scene.

He looked around and wondered if he too should board a boat that was passing by.

He hesitates and the opportunity vanishes, the boat is now out of reach.

On his left, a boat passes by, but it is obviously overloaded and threatens to take on water with every rowing movement.

On the right, swimmers with life jackets were rowing with all their strength to get away as quickly as possible.

George doesn’t know what to think anymore.

Part of him wishes he had a life jacket, a boat or even a boat, and this motivation to get away as fast as possible.

Another part of him is as calm as the ocean.

This inner calm almost scares him.

He turns towards the wave.

It is getting closer, inescapably.

At the foot of its side, the first boats seem to start rising, as if they were climbing backwards on the wave.

Georges looks at the frightened faces of the passengers of the boats that are passing him.

Why doesn’t he panic? he asks himself, as if trying to awaken his survival instinct.

He starts to swim, as if to convince himself to do something.

But very quickly, he stops, well aware that he will not outrun the wave.

His eyes meet those of a bather, also calm, with a smile on her lips.

Suddenly, cries.

Georges turns around.

The first boats disappear at the top of the wave, as if caught by an imaginary monster.

The screams increase.

Georges begins to feel a current that sucks him into the wave.

Swimmers around him have stopped swimming, out of strength.

One of them, wearing a vest, floats slightly on his back.

George looks again at the top of the wave behind him, and at the boats disappearing one after the other.

It is the click.

George sees only one thing to do in this situation.

Nothing.

In other words, float on your back, like during his swimming lessons.

The first moments are difficult, he fights against himself, against reflexes to get back to swimming and keep his head above water.

The panic around him increases as the slope of the wave is felt.

George hesitates again, starts to swim again and then stops.

He decides to change his position and look at the sky.

His breathing calms down, his muscles relax and he starts to float peacefully on his back.

He closes his eyes and observes the sensations in his body.

Everything seems so calm.

The movement of the water is now imperceptible.

George does not hear much of the sounds around him anymore, the water reaching over his ears.

His breathing is calm.

A great movement pulls him upwards and then suddenly downwards, like a train launched at the top of a roller coaster.

George feels himself going down like in a long water slide.

When the speed starts to decrease, George opens his eyes and straightens up.

He discovers the rounded back of the wave, moving away in silence.

It passed under him.

Many boats are there, engines stopped, sails retracted, oars stopped.

Everyone is watching this wave – so dreaded – move away.

Other boats appear progressively at its top.

A feeling of relief invades each and everyone.

– Look, look!

George turns in the opposite direction of the wave.

In the distance, a sign of nature bringing hope for the one who is lost at sea.

– Land ! Land ! Land …

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