I didn’t want to come back. My consciousness hovered somewhere above the body lying on the gurney. It was all over, I thought. The last sensation I remembered had been incomprehensible pain, then a tunnel, and a grinding noise as described in other near-death experiences. But unlike other people who tell of “NDEs,” I saw no lights, no angels, no dead relatives, no friendly saints; rather, I found myself very much awake in a weightless, imageless, gray hyperreality. I experienced a blessed clarity, freedom and relief, and a stunning sense of the illusory nature of the life I’d left behind.
From the time I was a little girl I have loved international airports. In short segments of time you encounter diverse and colorfully costumed people from all over the earth arriving and dispersing throughout a web of corridors and platforms and waiting areas. You hear conversations in dozens of languages as people hurry toward their destinations.