Have you ever been close to death? If you have, you might have experienced how time can stretch out, giving you time to think and react in an almost impossible way. People who’re in car accidents describe how their whole life are replayed in their mind, in mere seconds. A million of thoughts soar through them at the same time, and milliseconds feels like minutes.
One day many years ago I feel into a grave. Not an ordinary grave, but a hole in the ground used to fix buses. At that time, I was in a relationship with an employee at a bus company, were he repaired buses. On that particular day, I joined him at work, and wanted to explore his work place. He was immersed in repair-work, so I started to get bored from waiting for him to finish. I said I would take a round inside the building, and would be back soon. He nodded his agreement absentmindedly, and I started to walk around. My eyes took in the fascinating place around me, but I didn’t look beneath me. It was completely dark, just some lights from the windows. My steps echoed in the hall that was empty except for busses. I was so intrigued by it all, that I just kept on going, taking it all in. I remember clearly my last step before I fell. Suddenly there was nothing under my feet, and I started plunging to what I thought would be my death. Time stopped and began at the same time. I was flooded with memories and thoughts that were surprisingly clear. I saw my brother, and knew he would miss me when I was gone. At the same time I thought: ‘What happened?’ and ‘How far down is it, will I die?’. I had no time to be scared, I was more shocked than terrified. It felt like I fell forever, so I thought I was falling really far and that I would hit the ground and break my neck. After what was merely a second, I hit the bottom with a thud.
I was so surprised that I still lived. Relief flooded through me at the same time as I wondered if this was heaven. But heaven was awfully dark, so I hoped I might still be on earth and not in the ever-after. Is this how Alice felt when she fell into the rabbit hole?
My boyfriend had heard the thump, and while I was still in the land of confusion, he came running towards the grave. I don’t quite remember how he got me out of it, but I remember the relief. I was really still here, and I was unharmed. Somehow my body had reacted automatically, and protected me from the impact. My leg hurt a little, but I was actually smiling and felt no pain. Adrenaline was still pumping, making me feel more alive than I’ve ever been.
It is strange how much can happen in just one second.