Last February 14, my father came from the Philippines to visit us here in Dubai. I’ve asked him to come see the Dubai Tennis Championship games because he had been dreaming of seeing those star players in real life ever since he started playing tennis himself more than 30 years ago. And I’ve planned and saved for the flight and the tickets to the game since I landed here.
He’s so happy to be given a chance to fulfill a life long dream.
He went to watch the games everyday since the 19th, taking the bus and train to the stadium expertly, like he has lived here for long. He would come home smiling widely telling great stories from the court.
Last Saturday night after the Men’s finals (between Federer and Djokovic), I expected an unending litany of my father’s appreciation for the game, his very graphic description of the crowd’s reaction, the speed of the balls, etc. Him displaying proudly the photos of the star players in his camera.
February 26, 2011: TRAGEDY STRUCK
At the time I expected my father to call and tell me the result of the game, as he always does, I instead got a phone call from a number I didn’t know.
“Hello? Your father was hit by an SUV and thrown away.”
* He was hit by a speeding car while crossing a pedestrian lane on a small service road (not the main road.
That very moment, my world collapsed and tears fell instantly, uncontrollably. All my fears suddenly collected in that one sentence: Dubai idiotic driving, road accident and my parent’s life in jeopardy. I was gasping for air like I was dying. I could barely gather strength to talk and ask the stranger if my father is conscious. By some miracle, he was still conscious and coherent. But we all know how tricky head injuries are. M and I rushed to the hospital he’ll be taken without knowing the extent of his injury.
I had so many things running in my mind. Life is so fragile. It was just moments ago when I told him to enjoy the games as he walked out the door of my car (I drove him). Now I don’t even know what I’ll see in the hospital. My whole body shook – I wanted to vomit and tears were rolling like it could fill a small dam.
THE LONGEST 5 MINUTES OF MY LIFE
My husband and I arrived at the hospital before the ambulance and I was pacing back and forth waiting for any ambulance coming to Rashid Hospital Trauma Center. A policeman gave me a glass of water to drink. It was the longest wait in my whole life and the one I dreaded so much. I didn’t know how my heart handled the strong, quick palpitations.
The ambulance arrived and it looked like it wasn’t really rushing or I must have only been imagining things. The door opened and two men came out, I rushed to them and I saw my father from the door. It seemed that the blue blanket was over his face – I fell on the floor thinking of the worst. Someone picked me up and I saw my father in neck brace and spinal support, conscious and coherent, talking to me, apologizing. He said he is ok. I was relieved that he’s talking but not satisfied. My shirt had been wet with tears.
To be continued.