- 7 -
Bono had this image in his head. He was stuck in a moment, and he couldn't get out of it. On stage in the spotlight, thousands of hands reaching up to touch him. But, he was in Africa and these were the hands of noble men and women, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, out stretched before him. It was like everything was black, silent, except the arms around him.
He knew he was different than he was the moment before. Something had changed within him. Every atom changed. He wondered if he was dead, like those horrible out of body experiences, Meridith Grey walking around in a hospital corridor, dead to the living, living to the dead.
He saw outside his window the plume of cloud of ash and dust and earth and flesh roll up toward the heavens. He'd seen this image before. So had anyone who ever watched Dr. Strangelove. Vera Lynn singing "We'll Meet Again," as the Pacific islands evaporated in mushroom clouds. This wasn't the Pacific though. He was above the Atlantic, and he wasn't exactly sure what island he saw in the distance. Nova Scotia?
He could feel the heat of the breath of the man beside him looking out.
"Halifax," he said. "Why would anyone hit Halifax?" Bono's heart sank.
The Chinese-made, Soviet-engineered, with stolen American ingenuity, modified Dong Feng 41 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), with a 15,000 Kilometer range, and a payload of four individual 100 kiloton warheads had hit the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) in Halifax, and its surrounding area.
This is what Bono saw from his window seat.
The nausea came again and he held it back. He saw the wing was now completely covered in small blue flames. Part of it sheared off. He could see another hostess walking back and forth checking all luggage compartments were sealed. The closed the curtain that separated First Class from Coach.He saw a woman throw up in the row ahead of him. He thought about how nobody ever survives. He prayed as he gripped the arms of his seat. The man beside him tried to make a cell phone call. His head felt like it was going to implode from the air pressure. He knew Jesus was on his side. He thought of ten new songs.
The oxygen masks fell around him and Bono watched as people tried to put them on. He had once heard, this was the worst thing you could do - inhaling that much oxygen all at once in a panic only calms you down and puts you into a state of euphoria. He knew he wouldn’t survive if he did that.
The power went out in the plane.
He closed his eyes. God help us.
Some people screamed the type of scream you scream when you know, this is the last scream you'll ever scream.
Bono gripped his seat. He was breathing fast. He was going to pass out, he was sure. He didn’t want to die like this. He didn’t want the people around him harmed.
“Please Jesus, save these people.” His head was about to explode. He was afraid. “Please Jesus, please. Save these people.”
"Please Jesus, please Jesus."
He was suddenly calm and aware of everything. He shut out the horrible sounds of the aircraft falling, of people crying. Dying. The nausea left.
Everything was calm and peaceful. This is what death feels like.
He was ready. He was good. He was Bono.