One of the things you learn after spending many months on a bicycle is how to recognise the sound of danger from other traffic, least that has been my experience. I like to think I’m finely tuned to what’s going on around me and this is the reason why I only ever wear my music earphones when off-road or in a location with no traffic.
I can certainly tell when a racing engine is approaching fast behind me, but I don’t endanger myself by looking round unless it’s perfectly safe to do so. If I can I’ll move even closer to the roads edge, but that wasn’t possible as I was passing a tuc tuc (a motorbike with a caddy for passengers/tourists attached) when the bus skidded to a halt behind me, leaving a trail of black rubber on the sandy tarmac. I turned and looked the driver square in the eye, gestured and shouted “what’s the rush” then pointed to the busy road ahead. He gunned his engine, then sped past me and the tuc tuc driver. I clearly remember the thought entering my head “that idiot is going to kill someone” then moments later their was a screech of brakes and the sickening ‘thud’ of an impact.
I’d hardly had to turn my pedals to reach the crash, I was that close. The front end of the bus was unbelievably damaged, he’d gone less than 150 yards past me yet reached enough speed to break his windshield and cave in the front end of the bus. Now considering the motorbike he hit doesn’t even come to halfway up the height of the bus and the windshield is even higher, how hard was the impact? I ran over to the young lad lying on the ground. Blood was oozing from numerous places on his head and I thought ‘he’s dead’ but checked his pulse as I’d long ago been trained to do. I couldn’t find a wrist pulse, so checked his neck – it was almost imperceptible, but I did feel it. I began to go through my routine, checked his airway, but then I lost the pulse completely. I knew he’d gone and no amount of CPR was going to bring him back. Prayers and tears go together so well.
I’ve been unfortunate enough to witness death many times, both with loved ones, comrades and strangers. It doesn’t get any easier and I don’t think it ever will. So then you are just left with unanswered questions:
Why couldn’t it have been me who the driver killed?
I’ve had my life, I’d happily of switched places and given this young lad a chance to do something with his life.
If I’m being saved for some greater good, then that’s bullshit. I don’t deserve it. My wife deserved to live, I asked God to take me instead. I prayed for this lad the same way.
So who chooses?
My faith is in tatters, because prayers constantly go unanswered. Nobody listens.
What’s the point of it all?
I’m dying, so why keep me alive anyway?
I’m glad I inspire people, but at what cost?
Is my life worth so much more than others?
I don’t think so. How much longer do I have to suffer the pain of watching others pass away, while I seem to have been given a golden ticket to live. It’s obscene and too much for me. No more please. If anyone out there does have a hotline to God, ask him to let me be as I think I’ve done my fair share now.
The above sadness will take a while to go away, if at all. But the response from my friends out there has been overwhelming and humbling, I love you guys with all my heart. I need time now, just to gather myself and then start again. My journey will of course continue, how could it not do so? There is simply nothing else for me to do and I know only too well the debt I owe.