Alden Boon

I Almost Died Today


I have always imagined my death. I’m the strapping hero who gets shot in an armed robbery while defending a defenceless old woman. Or I’ve been diagnosed with a first-of-its-kind, incurable disease, so that my name is forever immortalised in the medical journals: “Aldene” they will name it, the doctors and millions of others so inspired by my show of strength in my last years. Or I’m slumped against a tree, life whittling away, searing pain in my bleeding forearm pocked with deep cuts, after delivering a coup de grâce to a debilitating old woman bitten by a zombie.

Yes, my imaginary grand exit changes periodically, largely dependent on the show I’m binge-watching. No matter the scenario, the one common thread is eternal glory. And I was not going to get it in my near-death experience that transpired today. Not in a red taxi that had skidded off the slippery road — no big bang of a collision, but what could have been a vehicle toppled like an upside-down cake. The forensic teams would initially confuse the red splatters on my body for blood, but they are actually blobs of ketchup that have exploded upon impact: I had just minutes earlier wrapped up a food review, and as I was wont to do, I ordered four to five dishes and packed the leftovers, in this case GRUB’s beef and crispy fish burgers.

The last thing I would have listened to was P!nk’s scratchy vocals on What About Us, and it’s not even my favourite song of hers.

I would have to share the page-six headline with my fair-skinned, skinny driver in a black button shirt with repetitive motifs. The headline would read: “Overweight passenger died in a car accident; his weight most possibly the cause of it”. I would have been a cautionary tale for always fastening the seat belt — what, they don’t come in my size!

Many questions inundated my mind after I was yanked away from the claws of death. I wondered if I could use the licence plate numbers as winning numbers for the lottery; I had just cheated death, so who knows what new ills such a windfall would bring. I wondered if my mounting credit-card debt would go away if I died. I pondered about the irony of it all, because the only reason this agoraphobic was out on a Tuesday afternoon was because I was motivated by this meme “If you want something you never had, you have to do something you never did”, and so I scheduled a face-to-face interview with a personality for my Inspire series, and so the thing I wanted was… death?

I also thought about the sad, sad boy man I’ve become. The lonely creep who illegally downloads Instagram stories of cute young brothers for my own gratification. I’m the guy who had just cheated death, but had no friends to call, and so had to make do with a Facebook announcement (which barely got any likes). Or the unaccomplished writer, whose greatest achievement hitherto was hitting over three hundred followers on Instagram (the sentence is not missing a “thousand” or “million”).

I resolved to start living.

It’s so ironic that we only start to live our lives after a brush with death. But I’m sure the novelty of it all will wear off soon, and I will be back to being a sloth until my next experience. But hey, at least I have some street cred now, and I can begin every sentence with “When I was 30, I almost died.”

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Alden Boon
Alden Boon is a Quarter-finalist in PAGE International Screenwriting Awards. When he's not busy writing, he pretends he is Gandalf.

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