When I was in summer camp the girls in my cabin decided to play a game. It was pretty simple, the object being nothing more than to cause the other person to faint. Thus is was appropriately named “fainting”. You would cross your arms over your chest, put your head between your knees and start hyperventilating, then stand up really quickly so that the blood rushed to your head and exhale. At the same time someone would push on your arms so that no more air could get into your chest. Without any oxygen, you faint. A few second later you wake up on the ground, confused as to how you got there.
Well, when I did it I apparently scared my friend a great deal because as my limp body slid to the ground my eyes stayed open- staring out at nothing. I, of course, don’t remember this. I remember hyperventilating, standing up and then feeling pressure on my chest. The next thing I knew I was looking out at the rolling hills of a cow farms, black and white spots scattered throughout the vast green landscape. When I “came to” my friend was holding my hand and looking at me with the concerned expression normally reserved for your grandmother when she’s having a heart attack. I didn’t understand why she looked so scared, why she was holding my hand in that way, or how I’d gotten to be there.
This, despite everything different, was mostly like that. I couldn’t remember how long I’d been there, how I’d gotten there, or how long the man holding the gun had been shouting for me to hand over my purse. All I knew was that, seemingly out of nowhere, I was looking down the barrel of gun with that black hole spreading out into eternity. I had no concept of my body- whether or not I was even holding a purse, and it seemed to take a while before I realized he was yelling at me. None of my instincts or the things that I had assumed would kick in with the reflex of self preservation allowed me to react. In that moment the entire universe and every single second of my existence ceased to exist.
I wasn’t even aware of my arm throwing the purse at the guy’s feet, and I continued to stare at the space where his gun has been as he picked it up and ran down the alleyway. It wasn’t until several moments- or however long it was- after his footsteps faded from the echoing alleyway that I finally blinked and starting seeing the world around me again. I couldn’t figure out what had just happened. Everything I’d been lead to believe made me think that that sort of event would have sent my life flashing before my eyes or images of my loved ones snapping through my mind. But there was nothing- nothing but blackness and confusion. And just like the fainting game, it took a long time for the white haze around my vision to finally fade from view.