Let me set the scene...
I was staying in the Petaling Jaya district, which is a suburb of Kuala Lampur, with a generous host from Couchsurfing. I was walking back to his apartment near the Utama Shopping Center trying to find my way back.
I was on my phone looking at the neighborhood layout on Google Maps and texting him that I'll be back to his place in a few minutes.
I went to cross the street.
In Malaysia they drive on the left side of the road, which, as an American, we are not accustomed to.
Maybe you see where this is going now?
So, I went to cross the street...and I looked the wrong way! By some divine intervention, I didn't pay the steepest price I would have ever paid in my 27 years of life.
In a split second something told me something was very wrong and to look the other way. Before I could even get my head turned I shot my left hand down towards knee level and...by god...I was touching something. In a moment of extreme fear I looked and my hand was palm down on the hood of a car.
Luckily, the car was at a complete stop.
But I never heard screeching tires?
My palm was on this magenta colored hood of a car. In that fraction of a second I was in total disbelief that the grill was merely centimeters away from my left knee.
I really love my left knee, too. It's a great knee.
A fraction of a second later I looked up to see a woman in the passenger seat gripping a newborn baby in her arms. The newborn totally unaware, the mother (I assume) with her mouth agape in absolute astonishment that I wasn't laying on the hood of the car she was in.
My heart is in my throat. In the last two seconds I haven't moved an inch. Her exasperated look, frozen in time with me.
The only thing I could think to do was keep walking. I'm a foreigner in a place I obviously don't fully understand yet.
So that's what I did. I kept walking. I carried on as if nothing happened.
I kept my ears peeled for yelling or an acknowledgement of what just happened in Malay. I heard nothing.
I never looked back. To the best of my knowledge, the two women in the car that nearly took my ability to walk did the same out of what I'm guessing was pure shock.
What could have been?
Maybe she never noticed this oblivious American was crossing the street looking the wrong way. Maybe I would have been hit, having my legs taken out from under me. Maybe I would have been rolled up on her hood putting shattered cracks into her windshield and denting her hood as my body took the blows of her cars momentum.
Maybe she would have called an ambulance as my body goes into complete shock and the pain starts to set in. Maybe my legs are broken, my shoulder dislocated, my face with cuts from the car and the pavement, maybe my life would have been changed forever.
How long would have I been in a Malaysian hospital? How good are the doctors in Malaysia? How would I have paid for my hospital stay and treatment? How long would it before I could walk normally, if ever again. How long until I would have been able to make it home to South Korea? What would my boss have done if I couldn't or struggled to work? How would my parents and family have been informed of what happened? Would they have flown all the way to Malaysia to be with me if I was seriously hurt?
What happened to the two women in the car? Did I cause them lasting psychological trauma?
These are the questions I have been asking myself since that fateful February day in Kuala Lampur.