Author: Allie Nava

They say your life flashes before you as you fold into the arms of death, and perhaps that is what happened to me when I lost those eight minutes and twenty seconds.

I was a child peddling gleeful “whee’s” on a red bicycle, over a calming ocean of green hillocks. I was an adolescent pulling weeds, while inhaling rose and tangerine under a relentless yellow sun. I was a violinist sipping scalding tomato soup, alone, amidst a sea of fellow musicians taking their rehearsal breaks. That is, until someone pointed to the distant mountaintops and asked why I too was not heading in that direction.

I was an adolescent that packed my gear and walked in stride for years. I stumbled now and then, as if in a child’s jump rope game that had aimed to trip me. But I found my footing and reached the apex, even before some of the other mountaineers. I lived there many years and became productive, and a family grew before my eyes. But soon my hair turned gray and betrayed me, without remorse.

I was an adult who bid farewell and climbed down from the mountaintop and arrived to a reflecting pond at the foot of the hills. I imbibed sweet jasmine from flowering bushes. I held golden wheat berries past their harvest. I wondered what had happened to my violin and my garden and my bicycle.

I sat down and closed my eyes and drew my breath. I lost all sensation in my extremities, and I floated on the clouds, my body above the ocean. I had returned home to my intended destination, but wondered why I had walked so far away only to return to the path I knew was true.

Now it didn’t matter. My last eight minutes and twenty seconds were up, and so were everyone else’s. The whole planet had gone dark. We had lost our sun. It had taken eight minutes and twenty seconds for us to realize – the time it took for light to travel to our planet. And within a few days the temperatures were going to drop precipitously, and few humans would survive.