It was October 2005. I was out with four friends celebrating my god brother’s birthday. I remember it being an exhausting day; a lot of running around and getting to places on time after a stressful day at my volunteer job. Finally, we finished dinner and were off to a bar for drinks. I had my usual – a Heineken, and everything was fine until something very unusual happened.
Half way through my drink, I started feeling nauseous. I thought maybe the flashing lights on the dance floor was making me feel sick, so I told my god brother I was going outside to get some fresh air. I climbed a long flight of stairs and eventually found my way to the outside of the bar. As I leaned onto a pillar, I heard my god brother’s voice asking if I was okay. My response was, “You’re yellow.” I could tell by the expression on his face that he thought I was joking with him. After all, people often joke about Asians being yellow in skin colour. I repeated myself in my most serious tone of voice. I wasn’t joking. He was indeed yellow.
Not only was my god brother a pale shade of yellow, everything around him seemed to have lost colour. The buildings, the cars, the street signs. Everything that was part of this vibrant street on a Friday night suddenly lost all of its colours. Besides the pale yellow colour that represented skin, everything else was greyscale. The rest of my friends came to see how I was doing, but by then the yellow had faded. Everything I saw were in various shades of grey. As I was trying to make sense of what was going on, I found my vision becoming more and more distorted. By the next minute, I was seeing everything as a blurry film negative. Then as though darkness started to flood, it grew dimmer and dimmer. I recall asking my friends if the lights were being turned off. I think we all knew at that point that something was very wrong with my vision. It must have been no more than a minute after I asked my friends that question when I put my hand in front of my face and realized I couldn’t even see my hand there. Everything was pitch black.
It lasted for no more than ten minutes, but losing my vision for minutes felt like an eternity. To this day I am thankful for having those great friends who stood by me, comforted me and took care of me in, literally, my darkest hour. I am also extremely thankful that whatever happened was only temporary and that eventually I was able to regain my vision. Perhaps what I am most thankful for is that awakening. Even though the doctors were never able to give me a definite answer as to why I temporarily lost my vision that night, I was thoroughly convinced that my body and mind were not happy with the way I was treating them. And if I was to continue my life that way, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I would lay in darkness forever.