When I pulled off my mask, I didn't expect anyone to scream out in horror.
"I'm not a monster... this is how I was born," I was tempted to say.
I felt the warm liquid running down my face, and I wiped it away, dismissively. It was only when DW pointed to the puddle of blood, on the deck of the boat, under me, that I paused. I had no idea how the mess got there.
"When you took your mask off," DW explained, "a fountain of blood shot out of your nose."
I had felt nothing.
We had been snorkeling off Krabi, near Chicken Island, named after the shape of the skyrocketing limestone, like a neck, and a bulb on top, like a head with a beak. At one point, I had been following a group of rainbow fish, my flippers propelling me lower, to maybe three or four metres, and I remember feeling my ears pop from the pressure, but it was no worse than what I've experienced high above the clouds, in an airplane.
The suction of my mask was strong, but to me, that was good. No seawater seeped inside, stinging my eyes. But when I pulled it off my face, the pressure was released and the blood shot out in one violent burst.
One tablespoon: maybe two.
Enough to make a stranger shriek.
This photo was from that day, after I washed away the blood, after we moved away from Chicken Island and on to where we pulled onto another island, for lunch.
No further blood was shed on that trip.