The Motorcycle Incident This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category.

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     Ah, Christmas is upon us once again, that oh-so-festive time of year for roasting chestnuts on an open fire, riding in one-horse open sleighs, and rocking around the Christmas tree. For most of us, the thought of Christmas stirs pleasant memories of years past, but for some the season brings pain to their hearts and tears to their eyes. I am in the latter group.

It all happened years ago, yet I remember it like yesterday. It was Christmas morning and after ripping open all the presents in feverish excitement, we sat in stunned reverence, gazing at the mounds of toys littering the needle-strewn carpet. My oldest sister, Rhonda, gingerly picked up her new china doll and delicately twirled the golden blond strands of plastic hair around her finger.

“Isn‘t she beautiful?” she whispered.

I nodded, but secretly I was much happier with my gifts. Especially my favorite: an art set complete with watercolors, colored pencils, crayons and fine-tipped markers. Visions of the masterpieces I would create flashed through my five-year-old mind. I envisioned them framed on the walls of my dentist‘s office, the only place I‘d ever seen artwork. To me, that was greatness.

At that moment my mother announced the cookies were cool enough to eat. All four of us snapped out of our stunned revelry and dashed for the kitchen. Unfortunately, my other sister, Alicia, caught the ear of her bunny slippers on my brother‘s brand-new fire engine. She wobbled in mid-air before flying like a nuclear missile about to bomb the Capitol. The effects were just as bad, if not worse. As she slowly raised herself, we all saw what had really taken the fall: Rhonda‘s china doll. Her delicately painted face was smashed into five pieces. Her eyes, separated by an inch of carpet, stared back at us. The perfectly shaped, cherry-red lips still smiled merrily, yet they were much farther south than they had been 30 seconds before. It was the most tragic thing my young eyes had ever seen. Little did I know what was to follow.

As we all stood in horrified silence, Rhonda let out a blood-curdling cry and leapt for Alicia‘s throat. The brawl that followed was so brutal and vicious that I have never spoken of it until this moment. Alicia stumbled backwards in a futile effort to avoid the grasping claws of her enraged sister. Alas, they toppled on top of my prized art set. I knew that all was ruined. My future career as the greatest artist ever was smashed to pieces along with my crayons and pencils. In my rage, I dove into the wrestling pair. Sadly, I hadn‘t yet taken diving lessons and my aim was more than a bit off the mark. As I flew over them, I saw what lay ahead - Joey‘s fire truck. Squeezing my eyes closed, I braced for the inevitable. A nanosecond later my head made full contact and an earsplitting crack announced the demolition of his beloved toy. Up until this moment my brother had merely been a bystander, but not anymore.

What happened next was the single most emotionally scarring incident of my entire life. Joey, only two at the time, picked up his motorcycle. This was not just any motorcycle - it was the wind-up kind with massive tires that spun faster than the speed of light. I wondered what his plan was, but what happened was 100 times worse than anything I could have imagined. He ran toward me at full speed, pulling the wind-up string as he went. He smashed the bike into my head and let it fly. Pain shot through my scalp as my long blond hair wound around the speeding tires. Time slowed. I shrieked at the top of my lungs. I could hear the sound reverberating off the walls of the living room. Mixed with my scream was the deafening drone of the motorcycle, all too close to my ear. I knew my life was over.

Just then my mother strode in. She was met by quite a scene. My two sisters were still rolling around the floor scratching and punching each other; I was sprawled by the smashed fire truck with a motorcycle spinning in my hair as my brother grasped it guiltily with tears of anger streaming down his chubby cheeks. Noticing her presence he let go of the motorcycle and scooted a few feet away, smiling innocently. My sisters also broke apart and gave their best blameless smiles. I, on the other hand could not escape my guilt, as it was still entangled in my hair.

Having no other course of action, I burst into uncontrollable sobbing. This always works like a charm with mothers, and so it did with mine. The other three were spanked and banished into separate corners, and I was plopped onto the wrapping paper-covered couch. My mother painstakingly cut out the motorcycle that was hopelessly entwined in my golden locks. As a result I received an extremely unattractive bowl cut that stuck with me for the next year and a half.

So as Christmas rolls around once more, I am reminded of how one pair of fuzzy bunny slippers can ruin an entire holiday. I will never forget the loss of my hair or the terror of the motorcycle whizzing toward my head. Christmas will always be a slightly bittersweet time for me.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category. This piece won the December 2005 Teen Ink Nonfiction Contest.






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