Madrid doesn’t have a river, it has a river running through it. It is proof that in order to be a great urban center, you don’t need a Seine or a Thames or a Mediterranean Sea at your disposition. The Manzanares River has no bearing on the economy of this town, and if it ever had, it was centruies ago. If you judge from some of the bridges that span iit, like the Puente de Toledo, you can tell that at some time back it as a far angrier and unpredictable waterway, but today it is hardly more than a timid stream, a gentle canal, a docile creature no one would take much notice of. Most tourists never even catch a glimpse of it because it slides silently by through the western part of the city and they would normally have no reason to go there. Up until recently, it was even worse because the Manzanares used to be flanked by the city’s beltway the M-30, before that highway was buried underground. I will have to tell you about that later. Now, they are working on turning it into a fluvial park, which is fine with me, all said and told.
The tamed nature of this river makes discovering the body of a full-grown strong and healthy young adult all the more bizarre. In many parts you can stand in it and not even be covered. But there was where they found Austin, two days ago, after they drained that section. Unfortunately, the miracle never came to be. They expected it might but it didn’t. They knew it wouldn’t and it didn’t. I wasn’t really surprised by the news, but I still always am. People just don’t die in the Manzanares. The police said initial investigations showed no signs of violence. Given his state and the time of night, all it really could take was a loss of balance and a big bump in the head. Who knows.
I can only feel relief for his family in that they have finally found him and can begin to bring some closure to the tragic events. Sometimes in life, that is all that is left for us.