Last spring I almost died. That day not long ago was ordinary and nothing special was intended. My friend and I spent most of our spring days together being silly. We’d virtually lived outside, running, jumping, skating, skipping and darting in and out of half built houses. When the sun went down, we’d sit under the awning and watch the stars slowly brighten as the sky darkened. This was how we spent most days. When the night was no longer interesting we’d go inside, flick on the television and settle in for a round of Twilight Zone, The Odd Couple and Honeymooners, among others. Those were not the shows we wanted to watch, albeit entertaining. We waited through them for the real fun, Thriller. We’d hide behind large blankets, enjoying being scared as the hand came up through the soil and sand, reaching to the sky, then the undead entity would utter the words we spent three hours waiting for, “Thriller”, in a chilling, eerie voice. We laughed at our silliness but enjoyed the fright that came next–half an hour of chills. It was always fun at nights.
When it was over, we began to jump on the bed.
It’s surprising that I remember what happened prior to my near death experience. One would think all memories before that moment would be gone. But the memories stay with me, as though to remember what happened before is a reminder that those would have been my last memories had I died that day.
We jumped high and laughed loud. My mother was at work–she worked nights in those days–so it was just us and my little sister who was asleep in her room. We jumped until boredom led us to explore acrobatics. We climbed on the dresser, which was not much more than a foot from the bed and performed forward flips onto the bed, landing on our backs. We went around and around, faster and faster, forward flipping in our best form. Then, at my next flip, I was too eager. I didn’t put enough strength into my flip. I was laughing too much. I felt myself moving in slow motion, realizing too late that I was about to fall on my head, which I did. I felt my neck twist violently under the weight of my body. I couldn’t move. The room went dim and everything began to spin. I knew I was going to die because I had broken my neck, or so I thought. An inch one way or another and it would have broken. Or a heavier fall and I wouldn’t be writing this today. What if I had jumped higher, thereby falling faster and harder? I did in fact strain my neck severely. But I was lucky. I slowly started to move and realized that I would be ok. I prayed, fearing death could still claim me in my sleep.
I’m twelve now. I almost didn’t make it. That is what I remember today; the past and what could have been. I am grateful that I lived to see another birthday. I am happy that I lived to have a memory of what could have been my last day on earth and can now look back on it with amusement at my childish antics. Today I will have fun and enjoy turning twelve. I’ll laugh with my friends, eat cake and dance to music. Today I will also make a wish. That wish is that I will make it to thirteen–safely–and beyond, building more memories and one day discovering what it’s like to be an adult. I’m in no hurry though. For now, I just want to have fun and laugh so hard soda blows through my nose.