a gift…sort of…

it’s my birthday today and i’m not exactly excited. but my loved ones want to cheer me up. thanks!

and i’ve written a short fiction for myself as a gift, maybe.

It Happens

The alarm sounded. I got up and threw myself off the bed. Sidestepping the red round chair in the dark, I fetched myself a cup of soya milk from the fridge. I switched on the lights and settled at the dining table to eat some bread. I picked up the newspaper by the side and started reading it. Another fatal car accident no thanks to one idiotic drunk driver. Jan got up moments later and walked past me. She went in to take a shower. I finished my last bit and cleaned up the cup. I took the towel and walked to the bathroom. She got out of it and left the room. I stepped into it and removed my robes. I turned on the tap. The water travelled down the tube, ran through the holes and laid its hands on me. The heat refreshed me somewhat. I soaped myself and was planning ahead. Then it happened.

The pain shot through my heart and I gasped. I dropped to the ground and crouched in agony. I couldn’t muster any strength to yell. The pain was simply too excruciating. After all these years of warning, no one had advised me intelligently to deal with it. Now, I was faced with it in the most severe circumstance. I struggled for air and felt myself ripping the flesh off my chest with my left hand. Then, I stopped breathing and collapsed. It took only 28 seconds.

************************************************************************

I rinsed myself with the last drops and turned off the tap. I wiped myself dry and put on my hair gel. I stepped out of the showers and went to my closet. I ran my fingers through the wardrobe and picked up the one long-sleeved Domanchi. I dressed myself up in the next few moments. I took one last look into the mirror and felt myself looking good. I walked to the cot and talked to my little girl. She was irritated for a while, obviously unwilling to rise. Jan came in, ready to go. I picked Faye up and put her on my shoulder. We put on our shoes and left the house. We walked to the lift lobby, talking about the day ahead. My girl was still sleeping. The lift came. It was littered with dog’s urine. Another irresponsible owner. We shook our heads. At the ground floor, we began walking towards the car. Then it happened.

Just as I stepped off the building, I was struck on the head. Faye and I fell to the ground. Her back landed rather heavily. She was startled and cried loudly. Jan rushed to us in great horror. I lay sprawling on the ground, trying to look for the culprit in a semi-conscious state. I could see my blood everywhere; on the ground and on me. I saw it. A shattered flower pot. I thought my head was in pain. I thought it was bleeding profusely. I saw Jan in tears. She was quite clearly disoriented. She was carrying the wailing Faye and weeping uncontrollably, not knowing what to do. I felt really dizzy. The spell lasted about a minute or two. Then, I was gone.

************************************************************************

The three of us stood by the car. Jan and I put our bags into the boot. I then got into the rear seat and buckled myself up with my still sleeping girl. Jan started the engine and stepped on the accelerator. The car inched its way out of the lot and moved onto the main road. The Morning Show was on. Gwen and FT were rattling on about who would win the Singapore Idol. Minutes later we arrived at the nanny’s place. She carried my girl off my shoulder and we bade her farewell. Our cute little one was still sleeping soundly. She must have been dreaming much. We walked back to our car and left for school. On our way there, I looked up to the heavens. The clouds were beginning to form and the golden hue of the rising sun was tainting the sky. It was beautiful. I then thought about work. I wasn’t really looking forward to it. Jan was about to make a right turn at the junction. I looked at all the oncoming cars. Most of them were speeding. I guessed everybody was in a hurry getting to work. Then it happened.

This black Mercedes was coming on real fast. It did not look right. In fact, it was too fast and it had gone off track. Oh my god! It was coming right at us! The Mercedes rammed into the bonnet of our Ford!……I couldn’t quite remember what had actually happened. But my lower half of the body was caught in the middle of the wreckage. I thought I saw blood all over. Jan had managed to get out of the car. She was crying for help. I was just staring at her, unable to do anything else. The pain was beyond description. It was…it was…it was numb. It took me only about three minutes to realise I was going. I told Jan to take good care of our girl. I told her I loved her. She wept and told me to hang on. I told her I loved her again. And I said something like, “Believe in Jesus…” Then I closed my eyes.

************************************************************************

Jan stopped the car in the lot and shut down the engine. Both of us got off the car and walked into our respective offices. I had tons of work waiting for me to clear. Being a department head had brought me a lot more burden. I didn’t hate my work but I couldn’t exactly say I enjoyed doing it either. But for the sake of my own promotional prospects, I just had to give it a shot. So it went on. The day, I mean. From the office to the classrooms; from the paper work to all the students’ assignments. Work seemed to make time an even rarer commodity. Before I could come to my senses, it was already five in the evening. Jan had gone to fetch our girl home. They would be arriving in ten minutes’ time to take me home. I cleared up my things on the table. I switched off my notebook and went underneath the table, intending to switch off the main power. Then it happened.

As my bare index finger touched the socket, a huge electric shock wave ran through my entire body. I really did not know what hit me then. My body twitched violently for about 12 seconds. Then, all my hopes of spending another great evening with my family and retiring at 65 with great wealth had gone up in smoke……literally.

************************************************************************

My little one called out for me outside my workstation. I could hear her footsteps. I hid behind my chair and called out her name. She walked slowly towards my chair. I burst out smiling and she screamed with joy. I gave her a huge hug and asked her if she had been a good girl. She said yes as Jan appeared from behind. I picked up my bag and we all took off. We got into our car and left for my in-laws’ place where we usually had our dinner on weekdays. Dinner was rather sumptuous, as usual. And my baby girl was already feeding herself. Quite messy, I must say. I was still chewing on my fish when I smiled at her. Then it happened.

I felt something hard and sharp in my throat. I knew something was wrong. I tried spitting out whatever was in my mouth. The rest looked on, shocked. Jan asked me what was wrong. I pointed to my throat but couldn’t utter a word. I knew I was choked by a bone, but I never imagined that it was this painful. What freaked me (and the rest) out was the fact that I was bleeding from my mouth. The rest of them held me by the arms but was obviously unsure of what to do. Faye was still sitting on her chair, staring at me curiously. Someone actually remembered calling for the ambulance. Everything took off from there rapidly. Before I knew it, I was on the way to hospital. Jan was by my side. The paramedics were doing something to me. I could hear faintly the words “blood vessels…”. I looked at the teary-faced Jan. I knew hope was slim at best. I wanted to keep awake. But my eyelids were just too heavy. She had just seen the last of me.

************************************************************************

After a much satisfying dinner, the whole family sat on the couch in front of the TV. My little one was playing with her kitchen set toys. She loved playing cooking, just like many other young girls. I was watching “Shrek 2”. It was still hilarious to me. Jan was talking to her parents. It was a rather comfortable evening. About half an hour later, we decided to leave for home. We got the youngest one to pack her toys and told her that we were going. She hurriedly kept her toys and followed us out of the door. We took turns to carry her home. She was rather demanding. Just like most evenings, we showered the baby before washing up. Jan tucked her to bed while I cleared up some of my work. Then I flipped through the papers and saw yet another tragic news. How could this have happened? This was the third case in a month. I had to agree that humans are all vulnerable. Our life is too fragile to be wasted. I decided to turn in too. I jumped onto bed and kissed my wife and my already asleep child. We switched off the lights and lay in bed. I closed my eyes, still thinking about how I should be spending my time wisely with my family. I must cherish them. My day at work had worn me out almost completely. I finally surrendered and dozed off. Then it happened.

I never woke up.

happy birthday, cs!

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Published in: on Wednesday, June 13, 2007 at 1:48 am  Comments (16)  
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16 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hello Canterbury Soul!

    As a fellow member of the Shameless Lions Writing Circle, I wanted to come by and see your page… it looks like I got here just in time!

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

    I hope it’s wonderful for you… although I was a bit surprised at death and birthdays!
    You write very well, I will certainly be back to visit again.

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

  2. Hi,
    Happy Belated Birthday!
    I guess I did not came here at the right time.
    I was away for 2 weeks.
    On a overseas trip to China,
    so I could not really visit you blog often.
    This is the first time i left my REAL name with you.
    Promise to reply me,
    and I know my english aren’t good enough.
    There are alot of errors above.
    Sorry!

  3. thank you, Wanderlust Scarlett, for dropping by and paying your birthday wishes and compliment! you have a very interesting blog that i will surely explore soon. 😉

    thank you, Joanna! hope you’d had a good time in china. i hope this is a form of reply. 🙂

  4. Thanks for replying me.
    As long as I know you had seen my comments, I will be glad though.
    But, it has been a long time since you online in MSN.
    Are you busy?
    Or you did not add me?

  5. Hi – HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Rob Kistner here.

    I am a fellow Shameless Lions Writing Circle member. I wanted to visit and say hello. Artheo and I would like to invite you to stop by Image & Verse and say hello.

    We have created a specific ‘writing circle’ post that contains an idea or two regarding the circle. We’d love your thoughts.

    We would also like to exchange links to each other’s blogs. If that is agreeable with you, please let me know when you visit, and we can create our links.

    I am going to tour your blog now. I hope we can become better acquainted! 😉

  6. Happy Birthday CS, a gift to yourself – very cool.

  7. hi Rob! thanks for the invitation! sure, we can link each other. i’ll explore your blog too. 🙂

    thank you, Minx! will join your party over at your blog soon. 😉

  8. Manny happy returns of the day, CS! I’m in a hurry to send this to you, but will return for the story.

  9. Looks like if i did not request for you to reply me, you won’t.

  10. thanks, Vesper! 🙂

  11. Happy (belated) Birthday! :-]

  12. What a great idea to give yourself the gift of this splendid piece of fiction, CS. A very happy happy birthday and may all your dreams and wishes come true.

  13. thank you, Patty! 🙂

    thanks for the kind words, Susan! yes, i wish for more good years. 😉

  14. Ah, you and my brother share a birthday…happy belated! Thanks for your visit at my place; I look forward to looking around yours 🙂

  15. thank you! perhaps your brother and i should meet.

    thanks for coming over here! hope you’ll enjoy my rants. 🙂

  16. hello !

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY (:


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