#38 When It All Began (I left before I was gone)

We all go through life looking for our place in the universe.

Some of us find it in the voice of those we come to love. Some, in the pearly eyes of little treasures. Some, at the breaking of an endless dawn. I found it in death.

And though I still don’t know a lot about life, I have an inkling that much of it is spent obsessing over “purpose” – either looking for it or giving it to others.

I sympathise with crushed cans on roadsides.

My journey to find purpose began inside three roles of a chassis that would leave me sympathising with crushed cans on roadsides for the rest of my life.

It’s not a moment I talk about openly, but it is there between father, son, and brother.

In silent car rides, on gravel roads, a moment could throw you into a laundry cycle tumbling into a watery grave. 

It was only a moment.

Stretched in slumber on the back seat, I sat up and saw time pause. The watermelon on my brothers lap levitated for an endless moment. Him, pinned to the seat beside dad in a sudden vortex. All of us watching the stream of light from the car glistened across the approaching grey muddy waters of Wara Ramu.

The luminescence emanating from the dashboard blurred and seemed to be the only thing that was holding on tight for fear of going out.

The crushed can was a write-off.

It looked similar to this.

The vehicle in follow saw red lights doing cartwheels in the distance and stayed away afraid to witness a bloody carnage common on this stretch of gravel roads.

Yet, we walked away without so much as a scratch. Me, two lateral abrasions on the inside of my right ankle; a permanent reminder that life is. 

It was a moment past midnight, but it was a moment in eternity and one that I would never forget. I often relive this memory in my own thoughts trying to pick the moment I died and returned. 

Death let me live for a reason and now I have to find that reason. Those were the words I told my mum before she let me leave. Words that haunt her. Words I heard echoed through the distance of her phone calls when I left.

We are all dead awaiting a moment to give us life. Death gave me life. 

I was fourteen.

In years and moments since, the question of ‘why’ I didn’t die has both perplexed and defined me. I stop between crowds on busy streets and look the other way in hopes that maybe I’ll find an answer in the moment. I walk streets late at night tempting fate in the hopes that maybe if I meet the dark I can find an answer. I read everything and anything in hopes that maybe there is an answer between pages. 

The answer continues to elude me. Or perhaps I am not ready for the answer.

Maybe I might not like the answer. 

But one thing has been made more certain, I have grown more receptive to the inaudible voice of the universe, a concept I find difficult to explain. I reason that if the universe wanted to do away with me, it had it’s chance. Now it has left me here, so I listen to it and when it says move, I must move.

So I moved. Moved there. Moved here. Moved away. Moved home.


@ Hans Lee

– Enjoy your cup of coffee 🙂




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