remember my childhood holidays fondly. I always had that red medicine on my knees which were constantly scabbed, I hated bathing and I was always getting into trouble. Every school holiday I’d trek to my gran’s house and join my cousins there. Being the only girl amongst the youngest cousins I was bound to become a tom boy.
One of these holidays was particularly exciting. My cousin had gotten a new bmx! Which meant I inherited his old one, it was awesome. Every morning after breakfast we’d go straight to the bikes and start washing them, this inevitably resulted in a water fight, we got soaked, our gran scolded us and we weren’t allowed in the house for the rest of the morning.
One day one of the neighbourhood boys came up with a brilliant idea. Why don’t we all (6 of us) pile onto the bike and see how fast we can do down the street?? What fun! Ha! We walked up to the top of the very long street and started getting on. It was a bit tricky but we managed it. There was my cousin on the seat, a little boy in front of him, sitting with his legs to the side, a boy on each side of him standing on the little thingy that sticks out of the tire, one boy at the back of him perched on the end of the seat back to back with my cousin. I got the place of honour of course, I sat on the handles of the bicycle!
After a few failed attempts to take of we eventually go going. My cousin could barely see around all of us but he made a plan! After a few minutes we started picking up speed, you see the decline and the length of the road was perfect for our needs. I remember the wind in my hair and all of us cackling in glee. I had to scream a few times for the younger kids to get out of the way.
All of us were waving at the other kids, showing off our mad skills and I could see the admiration and envy in all the cowardly custards we passed. We lost one of the boys on the side but no way were we gona stop! We were finally reaching the end of the street when I started to worry. The street had a sharp bend that we would never be able to make. The idea had been to break speed and then all of us hop of so that the bike would be light enough for my cousin to take the corner, at least in theory.
I could feel him pumping on the breaks but we were barely slowing, the houses whipping by us and me wondering how he’d get us out of the situation. He called for the boys in the back to put their shoes on the tires in an attempt to slow us down but with very little success.
There was no way we’d make it off the bike in time! In front of us there loomed a hug pre-cast wall and it looked like it ate little kids for breakfast. One long scream later we hit the pavement, bounced over it, wobbled across the grass and crashed straight through the rose bushes and into the wall. Luckily for me we were slowed down by all the obstacles but we still the wall with quite a force.
As I lay there, dazed and stinging I thought to myself that the end result was surely worth it, that had been the best ride of my life! No one would ever pick on me for being a girl again. I if I were capable, I think I would’ve air punched.
I could hear some commotion around us as the owners of the evil wall came out to see if we were still alive and the other children crowed around us. Slowly we all straightened ourselves out and got up. That’s when the pain hit. I remember seeing the expressions of everyone around us and that’s what scared me the most.
I looked down and it seemed like I was bleeding from top to toe. My clothes were torn, I was full of dirt and grass and leaves and throbbing all over. My gran was gona kill us!
I refused to cry though, I was bigger than that. As we trundled up the road, we discussed ways out of getting out of trouble. We came up with a whole lot of mad schemes, some inspired by the older kids in the family, some inspired by TV programmes such as Rocky and Karate Kid but each one we gave us as being useless.
In the end we decided on what the best course of action would be- to hide. We crept into the house via the back door and slipped into the last room. By this time we were hot and hurting all over and I could feel my lip starting to tremble. We crawled onto the bed and threw the biggest blanket we could find over us. Our plan was to wait there till we stopped aching so much and then we were gona go con my older cousin into helping us clean up.
After a few minutes of feeling sorry for ourselves we fell asleep. We didn’t even care that we were in danger of being cooked alive under the blanket, or that it rubbed against our torn skin. Sleep was complete bliss.
A few hours later we were woken up by my grandfather who had come into the room for something. He immediately became suspicious when he saw us on the bed on such a lovely day and woke us up to tell him what we had done wrong. We confessed our sins and he reassured us that we didn’t have to worry; he’d fix the bike and our scratches and talk to my gran. He felt very sorry for us.
Much relieved we tried to get out from under the blankets and that’s when the worst happened. Our torn scratches and scraped skin had dried up and stuck to the furry blanket. Almost 20 years later I can still feel the pain of having to sit there while by grandparents tried to work the blanket of us, one bit was even stuck to my cheek. That’s when I started crying!
We got the lecture of a lifetime and weren’t allowed any TV (our grandfather had to give in to my gran after that) but we were cuddled and the centre of attention for the rest of the week. Our war wounds were out for all to see and everyone thought us very brave for not creating a fuss about them.
That night when my cousin and I spoke about it we were very adamant about the fact that we learnt our lesson, we were never going to do anything so ridiculous ever again and would never do anything to put ourselves in so much pain. The next day we dared each other to jump of the roof. Ah, the good ol’ days…