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The final flight

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The final flight Late again. Always late. No matter how hard I worked or how many late evenings I put in, I always somehow managed to stay one step behind my workload. Today was no different. I was returning from London on the red eye and had forced myself to stay awake to finish off the weekly report. A couple of stolen hours of restless sleep was the best I could hope for. I popped two paladrine pills, ordered yet another coffee and set about my task. It was not always this way.... well, it was, but I didn't always notice it so much or find it so hard. Five years ago, I was the shiny haired new girl in corporate acquisitions. Arva Kapasi, Harvard Law graduate, First Class, twenty-three years old, eager to work hard and play hard. Always first in and last out I was looked up to by others as the model of the modern working professional. I was forever working - even when I was not in the office. The golf course was a constant source of valuable inside information where over-aged executives let secrets slip over under-aged brandy. I was a member of the most exclusive clubs, drank in bars where gold cards were mandatory and ate nothing but the richest foods. My personal physician, Dr. ...read more.


Saturday - down to Charlotte for the weekend's Fiscal Priorities Conference. There was no entry for Sunday and I had already promised it to two friends. Chances were however, that some crisis or other would take that away as well. I sighed, closed the diary and set about completing the report. Approaching Dulles International was always an experience. I had flown into this airport a thousand times, and yet the final approach always raised a drum roll in my chest. Depending on the wind direction the approach was either a steep descent, sharp bank left, then right and touchdown, or a winding glide directly towards the Washington Monument with a sharp right hander over the Potomac. Today the wind brought us in over the Potomac. The final approach was relatively uneventful until we reached the monument and turned right. Through my window I could see the top of the monument - unbelievably high above us. Across the aisle I could see the sparkle of the Potomac - impossibly close. I had put away my completed report, checked my watch and examined my car hire booking. I was, as usual, already 4 steps ahead of my day - planning my future. A sharp jolt forced a sudden intake of breath and a shriek from passengers to the rear. There then followed a deafening roar from the rear and the plane began to pitch forward. ...read more.


It would take my death to finally point out what I was missing in life. The impact was as violent as anything I have ever felt Like being hit by a passing freight train. But I felt no pain. The past four years have been hard but I am finally walking again. I spent eight months in intensive care and will never be able to see again. Of the 134 people on board the plane that day, 16 survived. Friends tell me how lucky I was and how I could so easily have died. I tell them how lucky I was that I was reborn. Monks have a philosophy whereby they imagine a little bird on their shoulder in the morning. Every morning they ask the bird if this is the day they will die. This reminds them of their transience in this world and makes them prepare for death. I no longer think of the future. Bills don't bother me anymore. I don't worry about trivialities and I never pass up the chance of a good conversation. I love the warmth of the sun on my face and the smell of fresh baked bread. I still own a diary - but it's the paperback kind and it's used to record the past, not the future. I don't argue over points of view and I don't judge people by their opinions. But most of all I don't fly. Arva Kapasi 11R ...read more.

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