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Reflections on Survival and the Fragility of Life

Is today the day I die?

By Alicja SnarskaPublished 13 days ago 4 min read
Reflections on Survival and the Fragility of Life
Photo by Oscar Keys on Unsplash

I awoke with a chilling certainty that my time had come. The clock ticked ominously as I contemplated my fate. I was convinced that today would be the day I would meet my end.

But, as I lay there in the pre-dawn darkness, I couldn't be entirely sure. The sounds of bomb explosions shattered the eerie silence, each detonation drawing me closer to an uncertain destiny. At first, there was just one explosion, distant and inconspicuous. I told myself it was nothing to be alarmed about, a mere hiccup in the morning's tranquility. But then came another, and another, steadily approaching in a cacophony of destruction. The piercing whistle preceding each explosion sent shivers down my spine. Sirens wailed in the distance, echoing the chaos of the world outside.

In that moment, I thought about reaching out to the people dearest to me, the guy I was dating, or my mother. But I hesitated; what could I possibly say to them? The uncertainty of their response weighed on me, and time felt agonizingly short. I sat on the edge of my bed, clasped my hands, and began to pray. It wasn't something I did often, but desperation had a way of evoking faith. I prayed not for salvation in the conventional sense, but for deliverance from the impending danger. Another explosion reverberated nearby, shaking the very foundation of my existence. I contemplated whether seeking refuge downstairs might be safer, yet I remained frozen in my room, the sirens a relentless reminder of the peril outside.

With courage summoned from deep within, I began to chant a protective mantra learned during a Kundalini Yoga class. The rhythmic repetition offered a semblance of control in the midst of chaos. Then, the ominous sound of an explosion from the opposite side of the building shook me to the core. Maybe, just maybe, the danger had passed. Perhaps, against all odds, I had survived.

Reality crashed back in, and my logical mind kicked into gear. I needed to contact my embassy; after all, I was far from home, staying in a hostel. They might guide me to safety. Thoughts raced: Should I attempt to buy a plane ticket? The outbreak of war surely complicated travel plans for everyone. Buses, maybe? My light packing was an advantage, but the uncertainty loomed large. Embassy first, I resolved.

Venturing outside my room, I noticed an eerie calm at the hostel. No panicked guests running for cover, no collective hysteria. Even as I heard the person in the adjacent room leave theirs, I quietly donned some clothes and ventured out. They headed for the bathroom, leaving the halls deserted. Step by cautious step, I made my way to the reception area, still hearing sporadic explosions but from a distance now. I had survived—for the moment.

Descending the staircase, a strange sense of security enveloped me. A bomb could strike the rooftop, but perhaps the entire building wouldn't collapse. I reached the lobby, where the receptionist sat on the floor, engrossed in his phone. The empty streets outside stood in stark contrast to the turmoil in my mind. I asked, "Is everything okay?" He didn't speak English, and my Spanish was limited, but his reassuring demeanor conveyed, "Yes, it's fine. Those are just fireworks for the festivities." At 4:00 AM? Si.

His calmness acted as a balm for my frayed nerves, and I cautiously returned to my room. The explosions had ceased, and I couldn't believe the surreal turn of events. Silence had never sounded so sweet, yet the escape plan still loomed in my mind.

Back on my bed, the explosions resumed, more distant now, but the haunting whistling preceding each blast continued to unsettle me. I longed to be elsewhere, to be home with my loved ones. Questions flooded my thoughts—why had I chosen to travel alone, so far from home, so far from comfort?

The answers were elusive, but I took solace in the fact that I had no major regrets. I cherished life, the experiences it offered, and the potential for more. Still, I wasn't panicking. If death beckoned, I was prepared to meet it. The thought of leaving loved ones behind weighed heavily on my heart, especially my mother, whose pain at my loss I couldn't bear to imagine. I hoped against hope that my time had not yet come. Please, Higher Power, whatever you may be, grant me the gift of time, especially in a foreign land, far from the familiar.

War, I realized, was a nightmare I had only ever witnessed from a distance. Waking up to the cacophony of explosions and gunshots, only to discover their harsh reality, must be an unimaginable ordeal. To those enduring such hardships and reading these words, my heart goes out to you.


About the Creator

Alicja Snarska

I come from Poland, lived in US and did the "digital nomad" thing for 2 years. This got me to Mexico, where I found love and stayed 🫶🏼

Writing about philosophy, psychology, economy and sometimes other random things.

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