I was 10 years old and feeling dangerous. My 13 year old cousin, who was supposed to be the responsible one, was easily persuaded to go ahead with my plan. We ducked out of the house yelling something about bikes… riding… later. I had learnt by then to give as little information as possible!
My plan was simple; we take my new and shiny bike and break it in. There was a bunch of dirt tracks near the reservoir, further than I had ever been from home on my bike, but I figured since I had a teenager with me it should all be fine. If we got into trouble he could just say that he was forced to look after me in case I got hurt and I would say I thought it was ok because he was older than me.
The ride there was the best feeling I could remember having in my little life. We cackled with glee, feeling the sense of freedom that comes with exploring. To top it all of it started to rain, the dirt tracks will be nice and muddy and we could really make a mess!
What an afternoon that was. We created a track of our own, where we raced each other. One of us on foot, the other on the bike and away we’d go. Up and down bumps and crawling through boxes or jumping over obstacles. We were both splattered with mud, soaking wet and feeling on top of the world.
Eventually however, reality set in and we decided to make our way back home before it got dark, that would really be pushing it. We rode of, my cousin controlling the bike, I sat behind him. As we were leaving it started storming and got really dark. I felt a wee bit afraid, but pushed it back, I was no wimp. Besides, we knew where home was.
The rain got heavier and our visibility was almost zero, I could see my cousin was beginning to panic which means I started panicking as well. Cars drove past us and splattered us with even more mud and I just knew that this was going to end in trouble.
Finally though we turned into our street and with relief spotted my house. We both started cheering and congratulating each other when out of nowhere we were lying on the side of the road. In our impatience to get home we had hit a rock and toppled over. I was stinging with pain, especially because of the rain but I refused to cry. My leg was aching but I got up and we wobbled the rest of the way home.
Needless to say we walked in to the house only to face another storm. My Mother. Yeah, she deserves caps! She let us have it but we were prepared for it, it had been worth it. She looked me up and down and hustled me into the bathroom. I started stripping down and realised that the pain in my leg was getting worse.
I complained to my mom and she pulled of my jeans to examine my would more clearly. I peered down with her and got a huge shock. Right there, in the middle of my calf was a gaping hole! A gaping hole pouring with blood. By now the blood had dripped down my leg and onto my feet. My mum’s face turned really pale and all she said was ‘Doctor’. That’s when I burst into tears.
Of we marched to the doctor, the one I didn’t like. He tried too hard to get kids to like him and made stupid jokes at my expense. Mom knew I had no love for him but he was the only one available. As he inspected my leg he ‘tsked tsked’ at me, going on to my mom about unruly kids. Not even a bit of sympathy was forthcoming!
After poking and prodding and bringing a tear or two my eye he finally announced what I had been dying to hear. I was in need of stitches! Air punch! How awesome was? Not only did I sneak away from home, ride my bike, in the rain and mud, to where I wasn’t allowed, but I get to have stitches and no school!
He gave me the injection of anaesthetic, promising it wouldn’t hurt. Ha! He’s like a butcher. I squealed out in pain and my mom hurried over to hold my hand, which I gripped, really hard. He began telling us what he was going to do and I could barely contain my excitement. My leg was already numb and I figured it wouldn’t hurt that much.
As he put in the needle to make the first stitch I felt my mom’s hand go slack in mine and heard a loud thud. The doc and I both looked down and froze for a few seconds. There lay my poor parental, on the floor, out cold. The doc quickly left me and roused her and took her to another room to rest.
I, all alone in the room, began to examine my wound and the needle still stuck in my skin. What could be more awesome than stitching yourself? I’d be the queen of good stories for years to come! I gripped the needle and gently pulled, out game the gut wire and I didn’t even feel a thing. I was just preparing for the second stitch, tryna figure out how close to make it and if I could possibly zig zag it make a scar that looks like lightening, when the doc and mom burst back in to the room. What bad timing!
Two stiches later and it was all over. I went home, ready to call my best friend and crow in delight and boast at my brave deeds. Too bad my mom took away phone privilages, grounded me for the next 6 weeks and took away my bike for 3 of those weeks!
It’s still a fond memory though, every time I need reminding of it all I need to do is look down at my calf and see the huge scare left there by my butcher. 17 years later and I truly regret not having the lightening stitches!