Maverick

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Unbranded and home on the range.

Dear God could you please Rewind my life?

I saw Jennifer going into the cave in front of me, and others near the entrance as well. Hoisting myself up to the ledge, I adjusted my rucksack and started towards the cave entrance, but on second thought, I slipped it off my shoulders and told Jason to watch it, as I set it down next to the fallen tree trunk he was sitting on. He replied with a lazy murmur: “yeah sure dude, no problem. I got it”.

I sauntered into the cave telling Jenn to wait up, and in reply I heard her voice just a few feet up ahead telling me to hurry up. I didn’t hesitate to let my eyes adjust to the darkness inside and wandered onwards, without noticing the fact that Jennifer’s silhouette was definitely advancing down a slope while I myself seemed to be walking on a fairly level surface …

… and then there was no surface beneath my extended right foot. My body twisted in the air as I fell, and my head hit the opposing cliff face several times on the way down. My cranium made first impact with the rocky canyon floor down below, and a split second later my back slammed into the unforgiving pile. I barely heard myself screaming  as everything faded to black.

When I came to, Jennifer was standing over me yelling if I could hear her. My head hurt really bad and sharp pain was crashing through my back like ocean waves breaking upon the shore. I managed to lift up my head from her jacket that she had folded and placed under my head by that time. Jason was squatting near my feet, with his rucksack beneath my ankles.

“Dude that was freaking nasty! I heard you from all the way up and outside. Are you okay?!”

I was about to respond when I realized something was wrong. Yes, my head hurt like hell, and my back was messed up. But my hips … the mask of contorted agony on my face was soon replaced with one of horror:

“Guys …. my legs? what the HELL?? I can’t feel my legs OHMYGAWD WHAT THE HELL??!!”

Jason and I exchanged looks as it began to dawn on him how serious my accident was. His trembling voice didn’t give me any confidence … “Holy sh*t!! OMG, holy mother, OMG …. SOMEONE CALL 9-1-1!! …”

That was over 12 years ago, during a hiking trip in my Grade 10 science class. The fall had left me with a shattered spine and the loss of both my legs. Paraplegic. I had become used to the chair by now. It got me around everywhere, mostly. Back then there wasn’t so much access for handicapped people but it had improved a lot over the years, with public buildings, buses, offices etc all becoming very much more wheelchair-friendly.

Every single Ramadan, I made countless dua to Allah that He might, through His Omniscience and Omnipotence, return the use of these two limbs to me. “Oh God,” I used to weep, “what your poor servant would not do for just the return of the blessing of being able to walk upright on his own two feet!! Ya Hayyu ya Qayyoum! Ya ar7amar Rahimeeeennn….” I would often drift off to sleep while mumbling dua after dua, asking Him to give me a second chance.

<<< REWIND <<< REWIND <<< REWIND <<<


I saw Jennifer going into the cave in front of me, and others near the entrance as well. Hoisting myself up to the ledge, I adjusted my rucksack and started towards the cave entrance. I saw Jason nearby, as he sat down on a fallen tree trunk next to the cave opening. I thought of taking off my load and telling him to watch it but something made me decline to free up my shoulders. “You coming with us?” I asked him. “Naw dude, I’m cool here.”

I sauntered into the cave telling Jenn to wait up, and in reply I heard her voice just a few feet up ahead telling me to hurry up. I didn’t hesitate to let my eyes adjust to the darkness inside and wandered onwards, without noticing the fact that Jennifer’s silhouette was definitely advancing down a slope while I myself seemed to be walking on a fairly level surface …

… and then there was no surface beneath my extended right foot. My body twisted in the air as I fell, and my head hit the opposing cliff face several times on the way down. My cranium made first impact with the rocky canyon floor down below, and a split second later my back, protected by my rucksack, slammed into the unforgiving pile. I barely heard myself screaming  as everything faded to black.

When I came to, Jennifer was standing over me yelling if I could hear her. My head hurt really bad and dull pain was annoying my back just the way a bunched-up blanket squeezed under your waist while you toss and turn at night. I managed to lift up my head from her jacket that she had folded and placed under my head by that time. Jason was squatting near my feet, with his rucksack beneath my ankles.

“Dude that was freaking nasty! I heard you from all the way up and outside. Are you okay?!”

“Yeah man. My head … oww” – temporary wooziness nearly led me to black out again – “whoa … yeah I’ll be okay.”

A few minutes later I slowly climbed my way out of the cave, going back up the slope that Jennifer had come down on, understanding now how I fell – the entrance to the cave was split somewhat. Half of it sloped downwards to the canyon floor while the other half went straight into the cave and then abruptly ended in sheer cliff. And with the damp darkness inside, it wasn’t that hard to miss the disconnect. I had a 50-50 chance from the start.

Outside, the rest of my classmates gathered while I sat down on a large rocky shelf and had some water. The conservation authority’s park director had come running as soon as he heard of the screams.

That was over 12 years ago, during a hiking trip in my Grade 10 science class. The fall had left me with a knocked-up skull. The doctors looked at it and shook their heads at my luck, and said that if the injury to my head had been even one or two centimeters wider, then I would have needed staples driven into my head to keep it together while it healed. But alhamdulillah I didn’t need them, and alhamdulillah all four of my limbs worked perfectly.

And every time I see a handicapped person, I remember there is so much to be thankful for, so much that we all take for granted.

Your eyesight you have. Your arms, hands, legs, knees, feet. Your fingers. Your lips, your mouth, your tongue and your ability to speak. Your ears. Your nose. Your mashallah well-functioning brain. Your good health, your wealth, the roof over your head, and so many more things. And even if one of these blessings was taken away, imagine how miserable you would be, and how much you would cry for just that one blessing to be returned and of how thankful you would be if it were so, and out of gratitude, you would never ask for anything else.

Well, He gave it to you. He blessed you with it, and He didn’t bless others with it.

So dont forget to say Thanks.

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Filed under: Miscellany, Solace

6 Responses

  1. sukkar&filfil says:

    OH MY GOD! i actually winced at you description of how your head connected a few times against the wall when you fell… ooooh!

    for a second there, i actually believed you were disabled. then i read the rest of the post… al7amdulillah indeed. you’re a good writer. another thing to say al7amdulillah about!

  2. maverick007 says:

    yes, thats a real story – the second part. Because I did have my rucksack on when I went into the cave.

    and no, I’m not disabled – alhamdulillah. I wrote the first part of the story to reflect upon what “could have been”, and how a person [me, or anyone else] would wish so much to have the use of their legs again, it would be such a huge difference if that wish came through, and the person would be so extremely thankful to God.

    So the question is, why not just be that thankful and grateful forever, for all the things you DO have; but often people take things for granted.

  3. Stephanie says:

    Salam Alaikum–Wow what a beautifully written and powerful reminder. I think we all have moments like this in some shape or form and then continue on with our lives and slowly forget about them. I’m glad you remember your moment and thank you for reminding the rest of us.

  4. Maverick says:

    alaikumussalam

    the scary thing is when I sit down and think about it, I’ve actually had several such occasions in my life.

    As a baby I nearly died due to double-pneumonia, and a few years ago I was in a horrible car crash that left my Civic a completely mangled and twisted wreck, but I walked out alive, barely injured, and on my two feet.

    no matter how bad the situation seems, we all have SO much to be thankful for, alhamdulillah.

    I think it would be cool if everyone made a personal poster of such events, and stuck it up in their room to be a constant reminder.

  5. AM says:

    Subhan’Allah! Quite blessed and I’m sure you are aware of it already!….you have quite the imagination– masha’Allah awesome writing skills!

  6. Maverick says:

    thanks AM but any good I’ve given is from God alone

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