Story Ten: The Reluctant Traveler
Fear has held Sandra hostage because she had allowed it to. She thought it was safer to be locked within her own boundaries. She knows that she had given terror the absolute authority to make her invalid to the world, and to herself. It has been 25 years, 8 months and 10 days since she lost her entire family in a horrific plane crash. To this day, it is recorded as the worst single aircraft disaster in history.
Sandra can still hear the newscaster’s voice in her head, as if it was just yesterday. It was an August evening of the 12th in the year 1985. She had came home early from work. As usual, she would switch on the television to catch the day’s headlines and make herself a cup of tea. The local news channel was broadcasting the top stories of the day. Then the words: “BREAKING NEWS - Japan Airlines Flight 123 has crashed near Mount Osutaka.” splintered across her kitchen table, and gutted her heart.
Sandra’s mug fell onto the floor, and shattered to pieces. She could not move, and stay glued to the television set. They were showing a live aerial transmission of the crash site.
“At around 6pm today, the Japan Airlines 747 Boeing flight had taken off from Tokyo International Airport 12 minutes behind schedule. It was a domestic flight from Tokyo to Osaka. However, due to severe mechanical failure the plane crashed into the mountains about 100 kilometers from Tokyo. There are only four confirmed survivors. The death toll stands at 520. ” The newscaster added.
Sandra’s husband and son were on that flight. Her husband was taking their son to visit his parents in Osaka, as it was the Obon holiday week in Japan. It was customary for all practicing Japanese Buddhists to go back to their hometowns during Obon to honour the dead, specifically the spirits of their ancestors. Sandra would have never imagined that her family’s first trip back to Osaka without her would be their last. In that one day, Sandra’s world came undone. She had lost everything that was important and dear to her.
The weeks that followed went by like a haze. Sandra had to fly out to Japan to identify her family’s bodies. She went to the morgue together with her in-laws. They had decided to bury their remains in Osaka, where her husband was born. After the small and private funeral procession was over, Sandra made her way back to Malaysia. She truly dreaded coming back. There was nothing for her to return to.
The first month was pure hell. She had never felt more abandoned. Although many friends and relatives came by to visit or called her, it was never going to be the same. She was completely and utterly alone. As she was an only child and her parents had already passed, her husband and son were all she had in the world. She thought of joining them in the after-life, as there seemed pointless in pretending that she still had a life. It became her routine. From the very second, she opened her eyes to face another depressing day, to the final minutes before she gave herself over to exhaustion and slept through another lonely night – all she could think about was how to end her life. Even breathing in and out was becoming a chore. Day by day, she felt more drained. She had no energy to do anything else, but grieved. Her house was turning into a dumpsite of sorts.
THIS IS AN EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK: "LIFE IS A JOURNEY - A SYMPHONY OF SHORT STORIES".
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