jueves, 13 de septiembre de 2012

Barbie Bounced

One summer evening after school I had gone out into the backyard to play, still dressed in my navy blue and white checked school-dress. I headed directly for a tree, feeling the grass tickle my bare feet as I tread, and my new Barbie that I had gotten a couple of weeks ago for my sixth birthday clutched around the waist.  I had never been that into Barbie’s, but this one was new, and was pretty spiff in that her hair could be dyed lurid pink.  The tree I headed towards was the most difficult to climb of all the trees we had, in fact I had only recently discovered how to climb it, as its lowest branch was well, well above my head.  

Having reached the tree, I looked up, blue-grey eyes contemplating the helicopter-style seed pods hung down in amongst the still-green foliage; they hadn’t yet begun to fall.  With my fair hair still pulled back from the day at school, I put Barbie’s waist into my mouth to carry her up with me.  This was serious business, and if she was to come with me, this was the only way.  I moved as close as I could to the base of the tree, and reached up, on tippy toes, until I could securely grasp the branch that hovered above my head.  I held on and bent my back, starting to walk up the straight tree trunk.  The roughness of the trunk pressed into my feet, but I kept walking until I was more or less upside down and could swing my legs up over a branch.  The hard part over, I dragged myself properly into the tree, scraping my legs as I went.  Then came the relief: we had made it, and it hadn’t been any harder at all to take Barbie with me.  I moved around into the canopy until I found a comfortable seat and started to play with my new favourite toy.  

I had been perched in the tree for a while, as the sun continued to sink, turning the countryside a warm yellow, when I heard my mum call out that it was time for dinner.  Obediently I shuffled around to the side I had ascended, pulling Barbie along behind me.  I reached the branch that I had clung to on my way up and looked down.  I threw Barbie down into the grass; she would just get in the way this time.  Squatting over the branch, I tried to recall the trick to getting down.  I had only climbed the tree once before and it was a long way down.  Just then Mum called through the window again that it was tea time.  There was no time to think about it, I had to go in to dinner.  I jumped from the tree recklessly.  My feet hit the grass with a numbing pain, but I rapidly overbalanced, falling forward, my arm out to break my fall.  Instead, it turned out that I had broken my arm.  Lying face down in the grass, crying, with Barbie strewn a couple of feet from me I remembered the trick: you were meant to hold on, let yourself fall, then let go of the branch.  In the background Mum’s calls continued to for me to come to tea.  

A couple of minutes later she came out to look for me.  She stood several metres from me, as I lay there in the grass, crying my eyes out, as she repeated, once again, that it was time for tea.  I realise that she thought that I was faking and just sobbed louder as though to prove my point whilst moaning “My arm”.  She started to make her way closer, with many a “Come on”.  Once she had picked me up and looked at the arm in question it was a different story.  This was far from my first broken arm, and Mum was starting to consider herself something of an expert.  They sat me down on Dad’s knee while Mum poked and squeezed at it, to see if it made me cry any louder.  Following the examination and the conclusion that it was broken, I was made to eat dinner before being taken to the hospital, an hour away. 

 It was a long night, because, being a country hospital, they wouldn’t operate the x-ray machine (I think the operator wasn’t working) unless someone with a more serious injury came in (in which case they would call him in).  So that was how Mum and I ended up sitting in the waiting room for about four hours one school night.  All that I remember of that time was: Mum praying for someone to come in with a broken leg or something, eating Smith’s salt and vinagre, crinkle cut chips from the vending machine and getting a Tazo with a hologram of the little blue alien from Space Jam shaking his head, and nodding off while trying to stay awake in the waiting room by watching the tv lodged in the corner.  Eventually we were lucky (as someone else was unlucky), and a broken leg came in.  We didn’t end up getting home until about one in the morning.  I wasn’t even allowed the whole next day off school, only the morning to sleep in.

And that was the incident that my Mum continues to summarise as: Barbie bounced, Clare didn’t.

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario