This was written for The Red Dress Club‘s memoir writing project, Remembe(red). Concrit is always welcome, and thanks for taking the time!
Mine your memories and write about the earliest grade you can recall. What was special? What was ordinary? What did you feel? Hear? See? Smell?
Word limit: 600 My count: 561
I saw the stick on the ground, but it was too late. I'd only been riding my two-wheeler for a couple of months at that point, so braking was not a strong point. I braced for impact, locking my elbows and squeezing my eyes shut.
The branch caught between the spokes on the front wheel of my shiny red Schwinn, locking it up immediately. As stated in Newton's first law of motion, “every body remains in a state of constant velocity unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force.” In this case, that body was mine and the external unbalanced force was the road.
I launched over the handlebars face first, and when I landed, I skidded to a stop with my right cheek taking most of the impact.
I was dying. I was sure of it.
I knew I shouldn't have ridden my bike all the way down to Campeche Court, two whole blocks from home. My friend Lindy took off running to find my mom.
I was still convinced I was dying.
I carefully felt my face, to make sure my nose was still there, to feel what I was sure was my brain, raw and exposed to the neighborhood kids who had gathered around to watch. I knew I was bleeding; the coppery taste of it filled my mouth. I should have told Lindy to call 911 and have me airlifted to the hospital. It was at least a mile from here to the ER! I'd never survive that long!
My mom came running, my savior, better than any doctor or nurse. She helped me limp home, with Lindy carefully walking my mangled bike alongside us.
My mom carefully cleaned my road rash, which covered half my face; the asphalt had left a dramatic swath of torn skin. I knew that I'd never look the same and I would bear these scars for the rest of my life.
It was so awful an injury that I had to stay home from school for several days, weeks, even. I didn't want to fall behind in class, but had to be careful not to expose my injury to too many germs, and kindergarten is full of germs!
When I finally did go back to school, my scab was something reviled by the girls and admired by the boys. I grossed myself out, examining it in the mirror, poking and prodding at it. That scab stayed with me for at least the rest of the school year, and probably well into summer vacation; I'm lucky it isn't still there, a reminder of that unfortunate bike ride.
The way my mom remembers it, well, to be honest… she doesn't. “Oh, yeah. I remember that time you fell off your bike. You really scraped up your leg.”
“Right, your face. That one. Yeah, I remember. Down on the other court, right?”
“Oh yes, Campeche. In front of Linda Whatsername's house.”
“OK. Yeah, I remember. I think I kept you home from school the next day, because you were too embarrassed to go back right away.”
“Only one day?”
“I'm pretty sure it was a day. I wasn't working, it was just kindergarten, so why not? Why are we talking about this, anyway?”