Saturday, September 26, 2009
This is a story I wrote for my storytelling class and I thought it might be fun to share with those who care.
This story begins like many stories, with a dare. This dare came from a certain Kenneth C. Denison, AKA destroyer of my universe, AKA hater of everything good, AKA my brother. Typical of brothers, we had a Whitney/Bobby thing going on. That is to say he was my enabler. In the summer of (Radio Edit) I had just turned six and for my birthday I received a brand new, dark blue, without training wheels bike. I loved that bike, it was like a transformative rite, moving me from babyhood to boyhood. I spent weeks with my mom and dad at my side trying to ride carefully, and not fall. Also trying to avoid the dreaded slime pond of Swazey Circle. This pond was lined with a mold previously unknown to man, I was sure. Because no matter what the temperature was, there was always a pond with that mold on Swazey Cirlce. Mold so powerful it was capable of making even grown men fall to their now drenched knees and then openly weep.
The dare previously alluded to was one that took me from my six-year old, six-block world to the great big world. It was to "ride your bike to Truman Elementary." Truman Elementary, TRUMAN ELEMENTARY, this was huge. Truman Elementary was my grade school and it was a mile away. To my six-year old brain, this was like going to Las Vegas, or California, it was practically in a foreign country. "Should I pack?" I thought,"No, I'm not going." But then that awful feeling came. I knew that if I didn't go, it meant that my brother was going to call me a baby until I was twenty-five. Unless I could just ride to my friend Chris' house and hang out there , then come back in ten or so hours. NO, he would want details. He would ask,"did you get past the pit bull O.K.?" I would freeze and then answer,"yes." Then laugh to diffuse the tension of the situation, like Michelangelo always did in TNMT. But he'd counter,"there is no scary dog, you never went, YOU'RE A BABY." My life would be over.
Resigned to my "Trail of Tears," I strapped on my new, white with confetti design bike helmet. I made my way to the big road. Cautiously, Slowly, shakily I rode my bike. I was doing it, I was going to make it to the grade school. I was a boy, no I was a big, brave boy, maybe even a man. Suddenly I looked with horror on a BIGGER street but, wasn't on the big street. How can there be a street bigger than the big street. I looked, I looked again. In my childhood wisdom, I decided, not only could I do this but that it would be safer to cross in the middle of this bigger street than the crosswalk. I could do this. I was basically a man minus the body hair.
So I followed Ronald's counsel as best I could. I planted my feet and looked both ways. Though wasn't really sure if I should look both ways for each of the seven lanes or just once. I decided I was riding my bike, Ronald gave no rules for that, so I'll make my own. I was going fast enough, so once should be sufficient. I looked, and looked, and I was off. Peddling, shakily I made it past one lane, two lanes and thre...I kept moving but now it was not just forward, but sideways and forward. Then my bike separated from my body, and I was flying and I thought, I'm not a man, minus the body hair, I'm superman and I'm flying and I'm pretty sure I can feel follicles growing in my armpits. I was alive, I was flying, I was falling. I was on the ground, my chin was on fire, my new, white with confetti design bike helmet was cracked.
"Are you O.K.?" asks a twenty-something, dark haired man asks as he exits the car that just hit me. Stunned, I'm not sure what I answered.
Sirens, that is what I remember next. A police officer queried, "Do you know your mother's name or your telephone number. Suddenly a familiar tune entered my mind. It was the safety kids. "I know my number, my telephone number 9-6-7-3-2-9-7" Funny, the safety kids don't really have a song warning you against riding across a busy road to prove your manhood. Even then I knew that was ironic.
"Hello," said my mother over the telephone.
"Yes, Mrs. Denison. I'm sorry to inform you but you're daughter has been hit by a car," replied the emergency dispatcher assigned to tell my mom about the incident.
This was perplexing to my mother because my three-old sister was taking a nap upstairs. After checking on my sister, my mother clarified,"Are you sure it's not my son?"
"Oh yeah, that's probably it. It's your son."
This was terrible. Not only was I not superman or a man minus the body hair. Now I was a girl.
I had been big and brave, sitting with the police and ambulance on the side of the road, refusing to cry. I wasn't hurt. I wasn't scared. That was until my mom showed up and then I can only equate my action to that of the tragic Teton Dam failure of the late seventies. My eyes rained enough to sustain a small Irish peat farm for at least two years.
I was taken by my mom to the hospital (I was too scared to ride in the ambulance) for stitches and then brought home. I was terrified, I hadn't made it to Truman Elementary, my brother was going to make fun of me. My Dad was going to kill me. But something strange happened. My Dad didn't yell at me and I wasn't a baby. I was cool because I had stitches and probably a scar. But you know, if it meant that I had to be hit by a car to prove I was a man. I was O.K. with being a boy.