Have you ever lied about something for so long that you actually forgot the truth?
I just realized that I have.
Fall 1994. Third Grade.
I love when memories are so vivid that you see them through the eyes of the chubby little person that you were when they happened…
It’s an overcast, fall day that threatens rain all day but never delivers. A breeze that carries just the smallest sent of winter. The noise of kids screaming and running all over the playground.
If I could travel back in time to that day, I would be so disappointed in the size and scale of the playground at Riverside Elementary. But, as it exists in my memory, it is huge.
The kickball diamond in the far corner overlooking the Mississippi River is the size of a major league baseball diamond.
Fresh wood chips that were spread over the summer for the school year.
The new playground equipment is state of the art. It’s got an awesome spiral slide that makes all the hair on your body stick up with static.
A cool zip line track that seemed to glide forever and 2 different sets of monkey bars (which I could never play on since I paired my weak upper body strength with my overweight adolescent body).
Then, there is the silver slide, the “big slide” that towers over the rest of the playground. It’s made out of metal, which means that the speed of the slide varied depending on the weather conditions.
On this particular day, the slide was a little sticky. Perfect conditions for tag.
Our games of tag always revolved around the slide. It had two ladders going to the top that led to dual slides that made a V.
This gave two options of escape from the kid who was “it” and, with the slide being sticky meant that you could control your speed.
I raced to the top of the slide and began my descent.
This is where my lie has erased my memory. Something happened on my ride that resulted with me laying face down on the ground.
My wrist is throbbing as I make heaving and grunting noises. The horrible combination of having the wind knocked out of me and the need to cry evolves into the sound of a prepubescent seal.
My best friend rushes over to my side to help me up. Looking down I can see the wood chips stuck to my black sweatpants (a staple in any heavy kid’s wardrobe).
As the “noon-aid” makes her way towards me, someone hands me the Chicago Bulls hat that had fallen off in my trip down the slide.
Giving a suspicious eye to the boys around me she asks, “What happened over here?”
I glanced at the hat in my hand, “I was going down the… gasp, sniff, gasp… slide and my hat fell off and I tried to… gasp, gasp, gasp… catch it and I fell off the slide and now my wrist hurts really baaaaaaad…”
There it is.
This is the story I would go on to tell about how I broke my left wrist.
It is the story that I told my dad when he picked me up and brought me to the clinic. It is the story that I told the nurse who took my x-ray. And, if anyone ever asked in the years since if I have ever broken a bone they would get the same story.
Now, I can’t remember the truth. Well, I know the truth is I was being an idiot but, I don’t know exactly how big of an idiot I was being.
Everything else, I remember in such clear detail.
I can remember the sterile smell of the exam room. I can remember the way my dad explained the x-ray in a way the helped calm me down. I remember him holding my hand and telling me it would only hurt for a second as the Orthopedist set my bone. I remember the oddly sweet smell of the casting mold.
What an odd feeling to be in so much pain, yet have the memory be strangely pleasant. I am glad that those memories stuck with me.
So, there it is. I have come clean. If I told you this story, I apologize and I appreciate you letting it slide.