Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding, belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?
When I was 13, I was a tomboy.
I played like the boys and with the boys. I was wannabe boy in pink laced-L.A Gears and Adidas shorts.
One sunny day…a long day – because days really did last a day when you were young – me and the boys … and my cousin who had come to stay were messing around, playing He (or Tag as others around the world know it) but we were playing on dangerous ground. Literally the ground was dug up and cordoned off badly. Being 13 and a little bit of a silly sally i decided to play there with the boys (and cousin) anyway.
Whilst I was being pursued by the new assailant I cockily ran towards the construction land and I lost. I lost big time. I slipped and fell with a copper bar running from one wall to another between my legs; at this point I can tell you, a boy is the last thing i wanted to be. It all happened so quick, nothing prepared me for the scream that came from my cousins mouth as I gingerly climbed off the pole and began to walk back to my friends. I followed her wide eyes and wild indications towards the side of my leg.
A clean, open wound, showing the white bone and fleshy walls of my leg exposed for all to see. Anyone who has been in an accident or been in surgery or had surgery done when they’ve been awake will tell you how surreal it is to see your insides on the outside.
Funnily enough the fear of seeing my leg sliced open and looking back to see my removed skin, rolled up on a rusty nail poking out of the pole, kicked off a rush to get myself home, to the safety my parents.
I ran. I don’t know how, I don’t even think I was in pain, I most certainly didn’t cry – I was scared as hell. I even remember thinking everything would fall out of my leg if I didn’t cover it. So I covered it, I half hopped and leaped like that all the way home.
Collapsing in a chair with my mother wailing and my dad silently worried (which is even more worrisome than having my mother cry) was a sombre moment. The thoughts that ran through my head were:
- I should have gone home earlier when I saw my father returning from work, he’d asked me and my cousin to go with him, but I wanted to play.
- If only I’d worn trousers instead of shorts.
- Why was it always me?
- My leg was going to be amputated.
At this point I do remember turning to my big sister (the far more level-headed and calm member of the family) and bursting into tears. My brother ( at the time a seven-year old who had never seen such a monstrosity) started to cry too.
It wasn’t, thank God. Apparently, as the stern Doctor in children’s A&E told me with my parents huffing and puffing in the background, I was very close to having fractured the bone. Then I could be looking at severe damage. Instead I have a very prominent scar on my right leg that always makes for a good story.