By Yunita Cole; Nairobi Kenya
I think therefore I am. This was all that could cross my mind at that moment. I am indeed, but where? In what state? Certainly not in heaven, since I see no dazzling lights and no angels. Neither do I see streets of gold or figures hovering in white.
I’m also certainly not in hell – thank God! – for I sense no intense heat. Or am I in transit? A part of me hopes I am, on my way to the Pearly Gates.
Then I hear the screams of panic and realize, for the first time in that encapsulated moment, that my eyes are tightly shut, my left hand is clutching onto my mobile phone with a vice like grip and – I’m seated, bent slightly forward. Just as I had been before I was engulfed in this indescribable bubble of time.
“Help!” The others are screaming. My first instinct is to check my vitals. First it occurs to me that I’m not in any serious pain, so I give a mental tick. Then my right hand goes to my head, thoroughly inspecting it for any sign of breakage or any wetness oozing out of it. None. Another tick. Next is my chest-cum-stomach area, which I feel over. Nothing alarming. Tick. Then I recall that I have appendages called legs and test them for movement. This way and that, they comply. I feel them and when satisfied that all seems normal, I award another tick.
I try to step down but there’s no ground to step onto. I shake my arms and realise likewise that they are still there! I’m pleasantly surprised. Tick. So now I can dare open an eye, most likely the left one, very slowly. Not sure what sight will accost me. A familiar sight appears – the back of the chair ahead of me – so reassured, I pry the second eye open. Now I’m ready to take in my surroundings.
I’m certainly not upside down, but I’m also not upright either. Neither am I uncomfortable, so why does the world seem to have changed its axis? I seek to stand up but I can’t. It’s as if I’m glued to the seat. Then I realize that there’s a safety belt holding me back. Then it all comes back to me.
I was in a bus heading to work, holding my phone, ready to call my fiancé. Our wedding was just a month away. A white lorry had miraculously materialised in front of our bus which was moving at a break-neck speed, causing our driver to veer off the road to avoid a head-on collision. A millisecond later, the bus was lying on its side.
As I unlatched my safety belt, I saw my wig and my handbag on the floor of the bus. In the mini-stampede, my precious wares were getting stepped on. I was also aware of “Good Samaritans” rushing towards our bus and feared that one of them may help themselves to my bag. Panic. The people I was commuting with may not recognise me anymore. So I hurriedly jumped down, grabbed my wig, wiped it and covered my head. Picking up my bag, I made for the exit.
A shiny object caught my attention. My hairpin, which matched my attire that day! I bent to pick it up and delicately pinned it into my “hair”. A woman must be spick and span at all times.