I thought I had flirted with death before... but this time I almost fell for her. Many young men believe themselves to be immortal, and I've been no exception. On average, over three thousand people a day die from car crashes, and many more are injured or disabled. This thought had never entered my mind, but soon it would knock on the door, walk in, and stay with me forever. Before I knew it I was heading straight into an Edison power pole. The sound was a terrible, deafening sonic blast of reverberating waves, tsunamis of grenades breaking over acres of Oak trees. Unlike the movies, the crash did not stop there. In reality, I was breaking clear through the fibrous wood of the power pole, rolling down a steep embankment beside the road, and becoming cocooned in the connected power lines before coming to rest on the two-ton driver's side surface. This began the commencement of a devastating concussion. My left leg was dislocated and broken in the hip, kneecap, and ankle, and would soon have several metal rods and plates implanted in each joint. My leg broke through the carpet floor and metal undercarriage, against an eighteen inch chrome wheel rim, which was gazetted away like a frisbee upon the first impact. The five point seven liter V8 engine was torn and ejected from it's steel cavity like a slingshot, as the five speed Mercedes transmission was gutted from the central structure like the spine of a fish. It all happened so fast. Emergency personnel quickly arrived, and assumed from the fray that my body was ejected out of the vehicle. When they couldn't find it, they discovered my limp body against the ground, still in the pilot's seat, and still alive. The short mental countdown of the firemen began, knowing there wasn't much time left to save me, and they started freeing me from the wreckage by cutting holes through the undercarriage of the cream colored, steel chariot. After fifty five minutes of strenuous exertion by the brave firemen, and the strapping of my sleeping body to a stretcher, I was hoisted on the helicopter, and headed to the hospital. My prized street car was a total loss, having missed the recent insurance payment, but that was the least of my worries now. I remembered nothing of the accident, or the events that day, and constantly wondered why I was there, vacillating between flirting with the nurses, and fighting them over my breathing tubes and many injections. The morphine and other heavy pain medication did little to improve my temperament and mental clarity. Having recently arrived, I was speaking to my mother while holding her hand, and suddenly felt a lightness and total relaxation, with a visceral feeling of love permeating my body and being. Unbelievably, I was being carried up and out of my body as my vision began to change. I realized my eyes were closed, yet I was seeing with a brilliance I had never, ever experienced before. I was enveloped in unconditional love and light, seeing all four of my late grandparents, as well as my departed aunt and uncle from different sides of the family, including my mother's younger brother who had died as an infant, and of course, never met me. Strangely, they all looked the same age to me, early thirties. I remember wondering why they were so happy, and weren't worried like the people in my hospital room were. I wondered if they had influenced my survival from what I was told had looked like sure death. I was captivated by the face of my mother's father, who I've always known as “Pop”, and his expression of excitation and adoration like the rest. I gasped to him, “I don't believe it!!!” to which he shrugged and replied back deftly, with his signature matter-of-fact charm “...Well, believe it!!!” His mouth wasn't moving, and I realized mine hadn't been either. What an effective way to communicate, I thought! Using my mouth, I proceeded to describe my newfound environment to my worried mother, including the warm, light, cloudy backgrounds, and the familiar faces glowing with light. I marveled at the sights with my eyes closed, relishing the all-encompassing feeling that can only be described as pure love. I told her “I'm about eighty percent with them now, and only twenty percent with you.” This worried her considerably, telling me to come back to her. I was very resistant to this idea, wanting to stay habituated in wonderland or heaven, wherever I truly was. I didn't want it to end. I didn't care much about the true location, only the feeling I was experiencing and wanting to prolong. After much internal friction, I agreed to break off the connection, and she watched my heart-rate visuals on the monitor slow significantly, before opening my eyes and announcing I was back. Even now, it's hard to imagine this experience as something most would consider real, yet it was more detailed and vibrant than any of my waking hours. I only wish I could explain it better.
I still remember my mother frantically waving goodbye with both empty hands swinging in the air on the day I left her, for the last time. Life has not been the same since then. Occasionally, I hear her innocent chuckles across the halls of my house and when I follow them - helplessly detecting the source; they become distant and then finally faint. The traumatic memory has forever engraved a feeling of guilt in my heart- the guilt of not being able to protect my most prized possession. Darkness descended, the water was calm, and the moon barely visible through the cloud cover. "Son, will you come back soon?" Mother inquired hesitantly. I had joined the army a few years ago and since then, life constituted of endless travels due to my strict schedule. As I packed the last of my things, turning towards mother, I saw the worry that lurked in her blue eyes. I held her bony hands with their calligraphy of veins, and assured her that I would be back the next morning. The night came down like sheets of silver knives; blinking my eyes continuously, I made an effort to while away my fatigue and stay alert, for I was part of the battalion watch guard of the line of control. Just then, I heard briskly walking footsteps approaching towards me. "Sir! Sector 9300 is under attack! Immediate orders have been issued for Battalion 194 to change posts." As the envoy marched away, I felt sick to my stomach. A cold fear rushed through my veins. It occurred to me, that sector 194 included my own residence! Upon reaching the site, I felt a strong taste of metallic fear in my mouth for the sky was bleached white with drifts in it of what first appeared to be red smoke, but then proved to be blood red dust. Broken, shattered pieces of glass, destructed buildings and fallen trees lay amidst a mesh of blackened faces with streaks of blot clot. The streets were dark- not just dark, but pitch dark. Marching through the mist of thick grey smog, searching endlessly for my resident, I was praying and hoping that Mother would be alright. Adjusting my eyes to the gloom, I saw the figure of a woman. As I came closer, the silver splintered brown hair and velvet wrap illuminated my thoughts. Her face was barely recognizable due to the immense destruction. With eyes suffused in tears, I took off my jacket in vein and gracefully covered her body. She was gone and there would never be another like her; an overwhelming personality with a soothing spirit and a voice that could move crowds to both tears and laughter. If only I had not left her. If only I had never said goodbye.