Friday, January 28, 2011

Close Encounters

The last time I talked about close encounters, I wrote about my diving trip in Bohol more than a couple of years back.  This time I wanna write about close encounters with death.  Have you ever had any?  It was with these encounters that I realized that somebody must definitely be looking out for me.  Read on to know more about my close encounters with the Grim Reaper. *cue thunderbolt and lightning followed by evil laugh*

The first encounter probably happened when I was around 10 years old.  It was a cool afternoon and I was just learning how to ride a bike.  I remember my bike having 2 small side wheels attached to the rear wheel.  These are what they called "balancers."  They prevent the bike from tipping over to either side and thus help the rider achieve balance all the time.  I was playing alone in front of our store right along the commercial district of the china town in our city.  (I wonder where my cousins, who were my usual playmates, were at this time.)  Right at the side of the stretch of stores beside ours was a driveway leading back to where we lived and also to where our Minica yard was.  (Minicas are "mini cars" that were used as public utility vehicles in the city of Davao before Taxis were introduced.)  Connecting the driveway to the pavement in front of the stores was a small ramp.  I believe this was placed there so that transporting products with the use of a wheelbarrow-like tool would be easier.  It so happened that this ramp was also perfect to ride through with my bike!  The ramp wasn't even a foot high but, at that age, the thrill of additional speed that the ramp brought was more than enough for me.    

You probably have a guess as to what my first encounter was already.  I'm pretty sure you guessed it right.  It was exactly just that.  After riding through the ramp for several times, I totally forgot that it was a driveway and just went on sliding away in the ramp with my bike.  When suddenly, from my left, I heard the screeching sound of rubber violently rubbing against concrete.  When I looked to my side, a red Minica was just an inch away from hitting my arm.  I even remember seeing the driver sporting a distressed look with both arms raised and then waved up and down signifying a close call.  As for me, I remember being shocked but just for a moment.  I quickly turned around and got my bike up the ramp again joyfully riding my bike as if nothing happened.  *whew!*      

The next encounters weren't as close a call compared to that first one but these may have just been as equally shocking and frightening for my young soul.  All next 3 encounters actually involved drainage systems or canals to be exact!  In two of them, I fell into one!  One was around waist deep while the other one was only toe deep so I wasn't really that worried.  What I really didn't like though was how it made me smell afterwards! hahaha (^o^)/  The third one involved a little bit of stunt.  I must have been a frustrated stunt man back then (high school) when i tried to jump off a jeep that was making an accelerating start.  All common sense and wit went out the window when I decided to jump out of the semi-moving vehicle without asking the driver to stop first.  All this simply for a bag that I left behind in one of the canteens near the school.  I fell flat on my belly with both hands propped in front to support my fall.  Surprisingly, the chocolate shake I was gripping on my left remained intact!  I even remember taking a sip before I shyly threw it away into the canal (PG: Kids don't do this!)  after hearing some bystanders comment about me still drinking a possibly soiled milkshake.  I didn't realize it back then but I am definitely thankful now that I didn't fall flat into the canal when I jumped!  It was just a step away from where I fell.  And most importantly, I am thankful that I came out these incidents with not even a scratch in my body that I can remember of.            

The picture above is the new playground of the iconic Harana Restaurant in Davao.  Way back when I was young, it used to have a playground probably thrice as big as the one standing now.  Unfortunately, with rising real estate prices, the old playground had to be removed and relocated to its present location.  Everything looks new and they all look sturdier.  (Except for that turning thing on the left! I believe it's the same one.) I went back to check whether the metal swing I used to play with  was still there but I couldn't find it.  Not even a similar looking swing was present.  To give you an idea on what it looked like see the swing photo on the left.  Then imagine rusty metal linings around the wood and on some of the bars. (Made out of the same material with that turning thing on the left!)  It was in this type of swing that I had the most bizarre experience.  Every time I remember the incident I still am in disbelief as to how it turned out to be.  Here's what happened.

My cousins and I were playing by this swing and enjoying every moment of it.  Since there were a lot of us, not everyone could take the ride at the same moment.  So some were left to wait for their turn and were encouraged to push the swing to make it go higher.  When it was my turn to push, a bigger and older cousin was pushing it with me.  Bad idea.  He was more powerful and his arms were longer.  When the swing swung back and it was time to push, I was still holding on to the swing when suddenly my bigger cousin already pushed the swing with all his might!  This brought me forward together with the swing.  I remember taking baby steps trying to regain my balance but I was too slow.  As the swing came back, my footing slipped in the loose soil and before I knew it, my lower body was thrown under the swing.  The swing came to a halt just at it came in contact with my upper thigh.  With the weight of all my cousins and the momentum from the push, I still can't fathom up to now how one tiny child's thigh was able to stop that amount of momentum.  And to think that I was still able to stand afterwards and was only left with a tiny bruise in my right thigh, I cannot help but think that there was divine intervention.  My angel must have come to my rescue.    

Talking about Angels, have I ever told you that I totally felt its presence during my Confirmation?  Just as when it was my turn in the queue to face the officiating priest and as he tapped his "staff" (or whatever he was holding at that time - or was it just his hand?) on my head, I felt a soothing heat descend from my head down to my body.  Unlike getting a "high blood" where blood rushes to your head making you feel warm in the head, this one was from the tip of my head going down!  Believe me, I can totally differentiate the experience as I get "high blood" all the time. hahaha

Well, it's good to know that probably somebody else out there is looking out for me.  I haven't felt its presence though for a long time now.  If ever I've lost it, I'm determined to get it back. (o^^o)


What a long read.  Sorry for that.  When I conceptualized it in my head, it didn't sound so long. hehehe. 

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  1. I am just amazed that at 10-years old on your 1st encounter, you didn't feel the sense of danger, but then you were probably high on adrenaline and endorphin that time and all your other encounters, especially on your swing incident, you escaped unscathed, or semi-unscathed.
    And your stunt in high school, jumping off a moving vehicle is just stupid! But I saw this a lot though back then .. so it's not just you!
    I wonder - did your mom ever knew or witness any of these incidents?

  2. @charm

    you're probably right on why I didn't feel danger coming - what i remember also was more of a feeling like "oops! sorry, I was careless" and being ashamed rather than feeling that I could have died. hehehe.

    Nobody knew except the friends and relatives I was with at that time.


Thank you.

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