I looked out the window at a crumpled car hood, facing the opposite direction of traffic in the middle of a highway. Traffic was still slowly passing by as I breathed heavily, looking at my fingers and legs to see if I was hurt badly.
I was trying hard to remember what they said not to do after a car accident. Don't make any sudden or drastic movements. I stayed put and continued to check and re-check my arms and legs, and my reflection in the rear-view mirror, no sign of blood.
Am I bleeding internally? Do I have a concussion? These were the first things to pop into my mind.
I remembered the crash. Particularly the moments right before, when I was struggling to fight against the skid which had appeared as suddenly as a masked assassin. I had never known my car to move like that.
Perhaps that was why I couldn't win. I counter-steered against the skid, trusting my nerves of steel and fast thinking to combat the worst. I had not thought of the worst yet, but it was in the back of my mind.
What if I die?
The car corrected its movement, but started to slide in the opposite direction: that was when I knew I had lost all control.
Maybe the worst part was looking outside at the object I knew I was going to hit. The concrete divider got closer, closer, closer and I sat there strapped into my seat with the hanging acceptance that there was nothing I could do to stop this collision.
I might already be dead.
The rain wipers were still working. I had crashed my car into the highway divider after a gripping struggle against the skid, and I say in my seat wondering if my ribs were broken, if my arm was dislocated, or if I was about to slide into a hemmorhage-induced coma.
Seconds ticked by as I contemplated the fact that I still existed, and the fact that this was all very real. I wondered if both my eyes are working correctly, and I simply stared out the windscreen at the moving wipers, wondering if this was all an illusion and I was already dead.
A motorcyclist came to my passenger side window. He knocked two times and I rushed to open the door.
"Are you okay?" he said. I honestly didn't know.
"Yeah, I don't think I'm injured." I replied, still wondering if I was speaking too soon, whether the adrenaline had cut off all sensation of pain.
"If your car still boleh jalan (if your car is still drivable), you should reverse and turn to the other side. Park on the side of the road."
He looked me in the eyes, as if he knew what I was thinking.
I nodded my comprehension and tried to start my car, wondering if the engine would light up and explode, killing me and the motorcyclist. But it didn't, and I did as I was told, moving the vehicle to the side of the road, allowing traffic to pass smoothly.
The motorcyclist left and I was alone, contemplating the incident.
It had actually given me something, an insight to how quickly and randomly our story could end.
It made me think about the things I really wanted to do in life.
Not the big "bucket list dreams" like travel the world etc, but little things that I could have gotten done in one day. I wanted to write more poems, especially for my friends.
I wanted to tell them how much I appreciate having them in my life, and what are the special things about them that intrigue me.
I want to give something back to my school and the teachers within it, who are still giving their all for the education of the next generation. I want to tell my brother that he'll grow up to be a fine young man.
I realize that part of death teaches you how much you want to be alive.
After the car crash, I walked into my college classroom, where nobody had an inkling of what had taken place. And it was easy to sink back into normalcy, to resume what I was doing and always had done. I wondered if I was living life the way I wanted to, or was I holding out for some miracle that would change everything?
This is the miracle, I thought. I had a scary car crash. I survived.
I'm still a little jittery about driving, but I'm even more sure now than ever, what I want to do with my life.
From now on, I'm going to take more pictures of the food, the places, and the people I love. I'm going to save money to travel. I'm going to write down my most personal thoughts and compile them into stories, articles.
In ancient Greece, there was a statue named Opportunity. It was in the shape of a man who had long flowing hair in front of it, and completely bald behind. The idea was that you could grab opportunity as long as it was coming towards you: once it passes you, that's it, it's gone.
So if this life is our one opportunity to walk the earth, so be it! We should cherish it long before it's taken away from us. We are each born into this world as a crying, naked baby, and we leave it as a naked old man or woman.
We neither gain nor lose anything in life, and that's why we must have courage to pursue the life that we want.
So lesson learned: don't wait for a car crash to start living your life. More importantly, drive slowly on wet roads, and always wear a seatbelt.
Published by Viktor Tey