Monday, September 22, 2008

Deep End

In the last few days that I was in Egypt this past summer, my sister and I rode a jet ski in the Mediterranean. If you want to do something like that here, you probably need to have a boating license or something. But no, some Egyptian pounds and a life jacket are enough to drive one in Egypt.

We were zooming around quite fast, me being the driver. It was all very exciting and fun. After about 10 minutes of driving around, I made a turn that was too sharp, and before I knew what was happening, the entire jet ski flipped over, throwing me and my little sister into the sea.

We were very far from shore, and it wasn't swimming distance. There was no one else around. Just us, two girl floating in the Mediterranean, holding on desperately to an upside down jet ski. When the motor automatically turned off, the jet ski started to sink. I started panicking, telling my little sister to hold onto the front part of the contraption that hadn't sunk yet.

I frantically started screaming for help, though I knew full-well that no one would hear me. In those moments we were stranded there, I felt a mixture of fear and extreme guilt for having gotten myself and my little sister into such a bind.

It's very interesting to think of the state of fright I was in. I still feel unnerved and uncomfortable when I think about what happened that day. The most frightening part of it was not having ground to stand on. Not only were we in a difficult situation, but there was nothing below us to keep us stable. The fear of death by drowning was a clear and intense reality in my mind.

A few minutes later another boat happened to be whizzing by, and they alerted the Egyptian “lifeguards” (essentially a group of young men in a boat) who came and, quite literally, rescued us.

Afterwards and for the rest of the day, I was shaken. I kept having flashbacks of every second of what went down. Mostly, I had recurring thoughts about my body falling. I had no control over any of my limbs. I was seized up and thrown into the salt water.

I don’t know why I’m thinking of this now, in the middle of the night. Perhaps because that day I twisted my knee very awkwardly, and it still smarts every once in a while. I should see a doctor.

Maybe I haven’t described it in dramatic enough terms, but I was afraid for my life. People generally say you see your entire life flash before your eyes in times like these. But I didn’t. All I could think about the entire time was how to stay alive. I just wasn’t ready to die, especially not like this – on a silly whim.

The uncertainty of life evades us. I could have easily died that day.

Sometimes I wonder when and how my death will happen, and I hope that when that time comes, I won’t feel so terribly unprepared.


MP said...

please be safe!

adnan. said...


but how can you even be prepared for death?

Asmaa said...

Well...people never really think they're prepared for death, I suppose.

I just assume that I might be prepared later on in my life. I'm probably wrong.

Anonymous said...

Thatz nuts Asmaaa ...

n death, u gotta prepare for it all ur life, thatz the only way ... cuz it does come quite suddenley!

- yusra