As I was scrolling through my news feed this morning just before I settled into work, I saw a story come up about a motorcycle driver who had lost his life at 9AM after a tragic road accident. My first thought was: really, another one? This is the 9th fatal road accident in the Maltese islands for 2017.
Some time passed, and I got a message from a former coursemate with a link to the same article I had seen on Facebook, but this time it had been updated with the victim’s photo. And for the first time in all the occasions that I’d seen the face of a person who died on the road, I actually recognised the face.
After my four years in the Bachelor of Laws course, I had decided to change my direction for my Masters degree, so I longer saw my previous colleagues on a regular basis. But I always remember Christopher for one thing: his smile. It sounds extremely cheesy, but there really isn’t any other way of saying it.
Having surnames destined for the beginning of every list ordered alphabetically meant that I saw Christopher at most of my tutorials and seminars during those four years. I can’t say that we were more than friendly acquintances, and looking back at that past reality now, I obviously wish we could have become better friends. Yet the shock at the pit of my stomach when I saw Christopher’s photo on that article was as strong as if I’d just seen him in class the day before.
28 year old Chris was in his final months of studying towards becoming a fully fledged lawyer, after having already fulfilled his duties as a police officer in his early twenties. This morning’s tragedy is just unfair. That’s the only justifiable word I can use right now. Unfair.
The Facebook tributes that have been pouring in today show that Chris truly was a positive man in the face of adversity. Absolutely no one expected his fate, or could have even fathomed it. I cannot really do justice to his memory because I didn’t know him well enough. But I still want to thank Chris for his presence in my life at University, as small as it may have been.
All I can think of is whether things would have been different if that truck had a large enough bumper, appropriate for all commercial vehicles, that could have lessened the blow and possibly avoided the loss of a young life. But alas, for now it’s best to let Christopher’s family, friends and colleagues mourn and come to terms with the unexpected, as investigations ensue.
Insite would like to remember Christopher Paul Abela as a positive and hard working individual, whilst sending condolences to all those who knew him.
Johann Agius is a fourth year law student who is currently the CEO of Insite after fulfilling the roles of Public Relations Officer and External Relations Officer in previous years. He joined Insite as a writer and photographer in 2013 and was elected in the executive for the first time a year later.