Early Thursday evening I was chased through the general Civic Center area by a large crazy homeless man screaming “I'M GONNA KILL YOU! I'M GONNA KILL YOU!” —And he and his murderous rage really meant it. We sprinted for blocks and blocks, and if he had caught me, he probably would have fucked me up But Good. In this dark and deserted area I had no shops to run into so I ran to other people when I saw them, and every one of them ran from me, screaming something like, “GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!” because they did not want to get killed by the crazy man chasing me. I ran in front of oncoming traffic because it was that or get killed by the crazy man, and I figured I'd take my chances with the somewhat saner people driving their cars (thanks, guys, for not killing me!). “I'M GONNA KILL YOU! I'M GONNA KILL YOU!” he screamed, and I ran into the Main Public Library. He ran in after me and stood there screaming. I dispatched a security guard, and stepped out the other exit. I am fine. I lived. Not a scratch on me. I'm super lucky. But still—I could be dead!
And it's not the first time I've faced my own death. Here are a few other moments in my life that could have ended with my death:
two HIV scares
caught alone on an unmapped cliff with almost no ledge
HPV: a year of not knowing if I was going to die from cervical cancer
emergency C-section with complications
mugging and violent assault
And here are a few ways that people I know personally have died:
deaths from cancer
deaths from a terrorist bombing
deaths from old age
deaths from car accidents
deaths from accidents
death from heart failure from anorexia
death in service in Afghanistan
And here are just a few other ways that people related to people I know personally have died:
death from Nazis
death from pogroms
death from terrorists
death from assassins
death in war
death from disease
death from anaphylactic shock
death from being hit by cars
deaths from more car accidents
death from more cancer
….If it were not for western medicine, my C-section son would be dead before he lived in the world.
….My aunt is in the last stages of untreated cancer and is going to die in a few months. My grandmother is not expected to last the winter. My paternal grandfather died without my father ever allowing me to meet him.
Someone I love once said, unflinchingly, “vás a morir.”
Es la verdad.
And so I sing to life: fragile, infinita....
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