And there he was : Death.

Thankfully, ALMOST. Thank God, ALMOST.

Death twitches my ear: “Live,” he says, “I am coming”.

That was the prologue. I bought Brendon Burchard’s “Life’s Golden Ticket” on my 22nd Birthday. The story was inspired by the Author getting a second chance in life, surviving a car accident that nearly killed him about a decade ago.

Little did I know I would be experiencing the exact same thing.

Thursday, July 3 2008. It was past 7:30 PM, I was chatting with my cousin Chie, after months of not seeing her online on Y!M when Ayah miss-called me again for the second time, informing me that they were already downstairs, waiting. I hurriedly bid goodbye to my friends online, logged out, wore my abaya and kissed both my parents goodbye. I carried my bags, one on each shoulder, and rushed downstairs to see Hammo, Ayah’s extremely kind driver already waiting outside the car, with his (the driver’s) seat plopped down – it was a 2 door car. He took my overnight bag from my left arm and opened the trunk. I worked my way in to the backseat, to find Tutti - Ayah’s sister, finishing her make-up.

“I love your earrings Bie, you look lovely tonight!”, were Ayah’s first words to me.
“Thanks woman! I begged Mommy for it. Hahaha.” Then I explained why it took quite long for me to get down.
“Listen Bie, I’m wearing slippers…not slippers, sandals. That’s okay, right?”
“Are those the Ipanema ones?”
I asked without batting an eyelash.
“Yes” she replied.
“Then, they’re cool.” I said, before thinking of texting my cousin who had just given me her new number.
“I think I left my cellphone at home…” I was about to tell Ayah to ask Hammo to make a turn, as I thought I left it. But then I found it on my sanitizing bag, its zipper was open. I must’ve placed it there while I was rushing on my way out of my flat. “Nope, its okay. Its here, I found it.”

I flipped it open and started texting a message to my cousin, reminding her about those headbands and hairclips I wanted to order from her, explaining where I was headed to as well. I had to compose the message twice since my phone flashed “MEMORY FULL” on my first attempt to send it.

We were already at the back of Sarawat, a shortcut to Tahlia Street. Tutti asked for my eyeliner, and I handed it to her. As soon as she was done she handed it over to Ayah who hesitated applying it on her lower lids with the help of the car’s (sunshield’s) built-in mirror.
“I don’t want to put it in front of everyone else” she said, putting the sunshield back up.
“Don’t be silly woman,” I replied, “go do it now while there are no cars next to us.”

We were at a stoplight, I thought it was the perfect time to quickly apply it on her eyes, but she put the sunshield back up again for the second time, just when the eyeliner was about 2 centimeters away from her lids, saying, “Nah, forget it yo.”
I had already finished composing the message when I realized something must’ve gone wrong that my cousin’s number was not stored in my phone memory.

The light turned green.

Ayah, who was at the passenger’s seat had half of her upper body turned to me and her sister who were seated at the back while we were talking to each other about something I don’t seem to remember now.

Moments later, she suddenly sits up straight on her seat and said, “We’re gonna get hit!”
I was already thinking it. “Eh?”
Before I could even mumble the words, before my brain could even process what she had just said, there it was.

Two blows. And we were swerving out of control.

I thought I was about to face Death. I had a thought that I’d see him in his black cloak with shredded ends, holding a caret, saying “You’re Mine”, in his deep rough voice from the pits of the underworld.

This is it. This is the end” were my thoughts. My brain stopped functioning for a second, leaving me with no last thoughts, no worries, nothing. Nothing but fear. Not of death. But of the pain.

In movies you always see it happening. The look on their faces. Everything in slow motion. And you always wonder what it would be like to be in that position. At that moment, I realized – it will never be how it was like in movies. There will never be enough justice to show the audience what its like.

What its really like.

You know how in our everyday lives, most of the time we know what’s gonna happen next?
You stand in line at McDonald’s, you give out your order, you pay, you wait, they serve?
Or at Breakfast, you slice the eggs, you put it in your mouth, you drink your juice until its all done?
Or as simple as sending an e-mail. You type the address, the subject, the letter, you click on “send” and you know it will be delivered.

That moment, as I sat in the car, I had nothing. At that moment, I lost total control of my life. Nothing, at that moment… Nothing, absolutely nothing could prevent us from death, but God’s miracle.

And that was ultimately the scariest feeling in the entire world. To know all the possibilities that death, will succeed. That this, was God’s will.

My vision turned black for a split second, and as bat my eyes, the next thing I saw were huge, cemented blocks. They were familiar to me since we would pass by this road on most days to work. They were placed on the side of the street because people were working on the tunnel right next to the road we were driving at.

I flew halfway to the front seat. I expected to have broken my legs, blood dripping from my head, losing a few teeth. But I was in one piece. I didn’t know what was happening. It hadn’t totally occurred to me that it was all real. It was happening. It was like it all happened in 2 seconds. Too fast to even know we crashed.

And then the hood went on fire.

I was in shock. I couldn’t move my body. I was just sitting there staring at the fire, expecting the car to explode any minute. Expecting to die. My soul was screaming, telling myself to get out of the car as soon as I could, but I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even slap myself to prove that it was really happening, that it wasn’t one of my nightmares. That moment felt so long.

It seemed like Ayah was on fast-forward, unfastening her seat belts.
“Abbie, get out! NOW!”
But I was in a slowmo-post-crash-movie-moment.
My hearing was muffled.

I didn’t notice Tutti kicking Ayah’s car seat down, giving us way to get out of the car. She stumbled on her way out, as I almost did. My bag was open, resulting to some of my stuff flying off to the street. I tried to pick them up when Ayah went back for me to drag me to the sidewalk, opposite of the car.

I was trying to stop a bus coming from running over my things, and as soon as the other cars stopped, I ran to get them. Like a beggar seeing a piece of bread on the street.

I didn’t feel the pain in my legs until 3 minutes after.

Ayah was hugging me and Tutti, saying “Thank God” or something similar to it in Arabic. Tutti was crying. I comforted her too, rubbing my hand on her arm.

I was waiting for it to come over me again.
Not an epiphany. But my wake-up call. I knew God wanted me to wake up from something.

I haven’t figured it out until this very minute. I knew I had to change my ways. Treat Mama better. Spend more time with Papa. Take better care of myself. Think about more sensible things on how I can make a difference. I couldn’t believe the accident didn’t wake me up from my dreamlike state. I don’t want anything worse to happen to anyone from my family and friends for me to realize the true value of life and throw it out of the window again.

It took a little time before it all sank in. My near-death experience.
It took a little time before I could allow my system to actually embrace it.
It took a little time before I can act out on it.

And then it dawned on me.
I was asking God for a coreshaker.

I totally got my wish that night.