james

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It was a grim Monday evening and James was driving along the small country side road heading back home after a tiring day at work, for James this has been his life routine for the last few months, he was working as site engineer for a hospital construction project in a remote place in Sarawak. Often he worked from dusk to dawn before heading back to the house provided by his employer in the nearby village. From a distance he saw a yellow blaze flickering in the darkness of the evening. It was a usual practice for the farmers to burn the diseased vegetation in order to avoid the disease spreading to their vegetation. There was little traffic on the long winding remote road only occasionally can James spot a car or two passing by the opposite direction heading to the nearby town. As a he drove closer on his 4x4 muddied pick-up truck, he saw that it was not just the vegetation on fire. There was also a car that was engulfed in flames. Instantly James shoved his foot really hard on the brake pedal and came to a screeching stop by the side of the road. He hastily made way towards the burning car and heard a voice, ³Help me! Somebody...please. Help me!´

Alisha was 25 years old doctor who worked in a private hospital in Kuching, it was about 7:30 pm. and she was driving to the her village after receiving a call from her mother that the condition of her bed ridden father had gotten worse. She was speeding through the long winding of the country road. Suddenly she heard a loud noise, ³bang!´ the sound of her rear tire bursting. She lost control of her car. It spun out of controland finally came to a halt upon slamming into a tree by the road side head on. The car engine immediately caught on fire.

Upon reaching to the burning car, James peered into the car's broken front passenger door window and saw Alisha frantically trying to unfasten her seat belt. There were flames on the dashboard and was advancing toward Alisha. The seat belt was stuck. For a moment James just froze he did not know what to do. Fortunately he snapped out quickly and realized that he must help the poor lady in the car. He tried to open the rear passenger side door, but to his frustration the door was locked. He then ran around the back of the car to the driver side door.

When he reached there he saw the fire had already crept up on Alisha's legs. Screaming in pain she leaned back into her seat, trying to dodge the flames that begun to shoot out from under the dashboard and through the driver side window. James started to panic. He ran back to the front passenger side window. Alisha was engulfed in flames up to her chest. The seat belt that she was wearing was completely burnt off. James squeezed through the window and into the hot flames and

reached closed enough to reach Alisha's left arm. He pulled her arm as hard as he could but Alisha who was screaming in pain did not budge from her position as her right leg was stuck under the steering wheel.

Determined to save the life of the poor lady, again James pulled but this time he used all the strength he had and her body slipped out under from the steering wheel. James pulled her through the window and both of them fell to the ground. Alisha's hair was still on fire, using his bare hands James put out the fire ignoring the hotness. Almost all Alisha's clothes had burned off and she was coughing and choking. James somehow managed to drag her into the rear passenger seat of his car. By time she was in the car, Alisha had already lost her consciousness. James drove as fast as he can could to the nearest hospital which was around 20km away. His heart was pounding very fast and hands were shaking from the adrenaline rush. James was trying to calm himself while praying that Alisha will be able to hang on until he reached the hospital. Alisha arrived at the hospital with a broken leg, lacerated liver, second and third degree burns over 55 percent of her body, she was traumatized and was not able remember the accident that happened to her. Although James suffered from third degree burns on his hands, he was very proud of what he had done. He was happy that he had managed to save a life. He then left the hospital after he was treated for the burns on his hand.

After a few days in the hospital, Alisha was slowlyable to relate to the accident that happened. Two weeks later Alisha received very devastating news. Complication due to fracture had cut off the blood circulation in her right leg. The doctors had to amputate her leg below the knee. For three months Alisha had to endure heavy sedation as she received a succession of skin grafts. Finally she had go throughone more month in the hospital for rehabilitation. She was fitted with a prosthetic leg. Although she lost a leg in the horrifying incident, a part of her was thankful that she was still alive. She could not remember who had saved her life, but she really wanted to meet the person, she owed her life to the courageous person. Alisha enquired the detail of the person who saved her from the hospital and managed to get his mobile phone number.

James was already working in a new construction project in Kuching after completing the hospital project a couple of month ago. He was getting ready to go home when he heard his mobile phone ringing. It was a call from an unknown number. James answered, ³Hello who is this?´ ³Hello, you don¶t know me but I am sure you remember the poor lady whom you saved from a burning car

almost one year ago. You still remember? I want to meet you, I am very glad that you had saved my life´, replied Alisha. The conversation continued for a few moments. James told Alisha that he was happy the she was alright and promised to her that he would visit her the following day.

The following day James bought a bouquet of flowers and went to the hospital to visit Alisha. He approached her ward and knocked on the door. Come in she said and slowly he entered. The bouquet fell down from James hand, tears begun to flow down on his cheeks, he saw Alisha standing practicing to walk but one of her leg was missing. After few moments she was him, Alisha fell down. She was really shocked. The person who saved her was James! Memories from the past flooded her mind. She still clearly remembers what happened in the university.

She still remembers the Valentine of 1999 when James came to propose his love to her. She always knew that James had admired her for a long time, even since secondary school as they were in the same school and now same university. But she did not like him, although he was a smart, hardworking and really kind young man he was good looking. He was born with a cleft and had to undergo corrective surgery when he was young and that his face a bit distorted. She can vividly visualize how she yelled at him in front of everyone for trying to propose to her and insulting that a person deformed like him can never be with her and she disgusted to even look at his face. The final word she told him came to her mind, ³I never want to see you face ever again¶.

Know she knew why James never came to visit her although he had saved her life. But she still can¶t believe that he had risked his own life to safe her even though she had insulted, embarrassed and broken his heart that day. He could have just left her to die. ³I am sorry James´, she spoke softly while tears flowed continuously from her cheek, and ³maybe this is God¶s punishment on me for what I have done to you´ she spoke again. James held back his tear and managed to carve a small smile on his face. He helped her to get up from the ward floor and sit on the bed. ³Why are you talking like this, God did not punish you, it was an accident. Besides I have long forgotten what occurred in the university´ James spoke gently. ³I would have helped even it was the devil who trapped in the car that day, it¶s my nature to help other, I don¶t know I can¶t help it´, he tried to calm the tense situation with a joke.

Few years had passed since the horrible accident and know Alisha lived happily with her caring husband James. There indeed was silver lining on every cloud.

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