I didn’t die that day. I lived. Unwillingly, I lived.

I peered over the railing…below me was street, concrete street. If I fell I wouldn’t survive. It would be quick. Probably very painful. But it would be quick.

I read that people who jump end up regretting the decision seconds before they land. A few survivors have testified to that. That the second before they made impact they wish they had not jumped. Is it fear? Fear of the unknown?

I often think about what happens after. When it’s over. Where do you go? Do you have thoughts? The world has woven a story about life after death….Heaven and the less pleasant Hell. To be honest, I don’t believe it. My faith says that you are reborn, that your soul stays the same but your body, mind, and life is different. I don’t believe that either.

I think it’s over. I think you’re done. You cease to exist. No more thoughts. No more. Believing that brings me greater peace than heaven or samsara.

These are morbid thoughts but they run through my head everyday. I think about death constantly. But, I don’t  die. I live, unwillingly, I live.

Chapter One:

My earliest memory is this,

It was dark. My father and I are walking hand in hand down a dirt path. I could tell that there used to be street under all the dirt. To my right and left there were houses, some standing, some destroyed. My father is holding my hand and clutching a plastic grocery bag. In the bag, is bread. All of a sudden we hear a sound. Like a loud crash – like two pieces of metal crashed into each other. We turn around, there is a tank behind us, just a few  hundred feet behind us. My father screams. We run. I am only 4 years old and my legs cannot keep up. I fall. I scrape my knee badly. There is so much blood. My father drops the bread and picks me up and runs. We run away with our lives but without the bread. Who knows how long we have.

It’s 1990 and we were in the midst of the Persian Gulf War.

It happened suddenly. Not the way you would imagine it. We didn’t even know. One morning, my father woke up and went to work and my  brother and I woke up went about our day like normal kids – running around, making a mess, and pretending we were superheroes The superhero game was a favorite of ours – we would pretend we were secret agents with powers and the couch was our nemesis. We played this game well into our teen years even.

Our father came home midday which was unusual but I was four so I didn’t care much. He stayed home the rest of the day and the day after and the day after. I didn’t understand but as a four year old- i was happy to have my dad home.
I finally realized something was wrong when i noticed that we had been eating the same meal for a week at least. Eggs and toast, every meal. Initially three times a day but slowly two times a day and soon just eggs or sometimes just bread. I finally figured it out.

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