No Flashes, No Thoughts

The view was spectacular. Then some of the passengers screamed. I looked at the driver. He was spinning the steering wheel frantically. Then I could feel the bus tilt.

We where high up in the eastern Ethiopian mountains. Somewhere above Woldiya. I had just looked down the gorge we were gonna fall into any second. It was practically vertical and never seemed to end. We’d all end up dead, that much was sure. Unless there was gonna be one of those miracle survivors. If so, probably a baby.

The bus was tipping over. Everybody screamed.

I had my mom on my mind. Cheesy, right? But I did. And my sister. Then girls I loved. Then friends. It was kinda like those flashes they are talking about. I don’t think Guy Ritchie was right when he wrote that line for Snatch where Turkish says that in the face of death your life doesn’t flash in front of your eyes “‘cause you’re too fucking scared to think”. At the risk of sounding like a smartass, Guy might have simply got the terminology wrong: When things flash in front of your eyes, you don’t think. Things just flash in front of your eyes. That’s different. Not your whole life though. I gotta give him that. There’s just not enough time for that much flashing. But you do see many faces. Quite amazing really.

Moments later we were pretty much free-falling. Seriously. I’m sure people were still screaming, but there was all sorts of noise now, and the different sources had become pretty much undistinguishable.

Before we fell, I had still had a couple of seconds to actually think. I thought about how I ended up on that bus. I got as far as remembering that I had been very unhappy in Europe after my first year at university and that I had decided to go traveling. I went to the Middle East first, then made my way down to the Horn of Africa. I enjoyed traveling in Ethiopia. It was hard sometimes, but Ethiopia was, without doubt, a fascinating country and the travels rewarding. I don’t know why I thought of that before inevitable death. Maybe you wanna make death appear casual once it seems certain.

Then I don’t remember anything anymore. No flashes, no thoughts.