The Cut

April 27, 2010
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It started out as simple childhood reluctance. But an effortless game of catch with my cousins and my brother turned into a painful memory I will always remember. I didn’t plan on getting stitches; and I really didn’t plan on going to the emergency room. But when you’re nine years old, things just happen and you definitely don’t plan them.




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“Let’s play catch, guys!” my cousin Collin cheered with a baseball in his palm. In agreement I put on my favorite purple sandals; Mom was lecturing me just a few days before about how my toes were hanging off the edge and new ones would be in the near future. But hey, one game of catch in the back yard isn’t going to hurt anyone. Or so I thought.



We all sauntered out to the backyard, and almost everyone knew the game we were going to play very well. It was running bases, or as some call it, “pickle”. We had our own adaptation of the game, and there were only two rules. One, to see who is in the middle, you always use the “One. Two. Three. Not it!” method, and last person to call “Not it” has to be in the middle first, no re-do’s. The second rule is you can’t be a baby. This entails no crying if you’re hurt, or stopping the game because you’re tired, and there is no out of bounds or fouls, so even if it’s over the fence you have to get it, no complaining. After we went through the basics with my younger cousin Riley, we started the game.
I was in the middle, because as rule number one states, no re-dos allowed. Even if you are going to get a hair elastic. As I started in the middle, my brother Connor was at one end of the yard and my cousin Collin was at the other. Riley decided to sit the first game out to make sure he knew how to play. I stuttered in the middle, waiting for a bad throw so I could tag up, but so far I had no such luck. All of a sudden our screen door creaks open and my Aunt Liza pops her head out. Her long blonde hair swished in the wind as she called “Kids! We are going to the pool! Come on in!” We all turned to each other, then back to my Aunt.
“Five more minutes! Pleeeeeeaaase?”we begged. She started to shake her head, and we all toiled to the ground in misery. I went so far as to get down on my knees and clench my fist together.
“We just started Auntie Liza, how about in five minutes?”I countered using my very best puppy dog eyes and pouting lip.
“I’ll give you guys two more minutes, that’s all” she hollered as the screen door slammed behind her.
“Ok guys, only two more minutes,” Collin stated as if he was the commander about to show his army the plan.
“I say we let Riley play, because he hasn’t yet.” Connor chimed in. Riley quickly got to his feet and scurried over to the circle we were forming in the center of the grass.
“Yah guys, let me play too!” he added excitedly.
“Ok, I’ll watch this time” sighed Connor, being the oldest wasn’t always fun.
“Ok great, one…two...threee…NOT IT!” screamed Riley, giddy he remembered rule number one.
“Not it!” Collin snapped quickly.
“Not it!” I tried, but I already knew I had lost.

“Caroline’s in the middle, again!” Riley laughed and clapped his hands happily as he skipped over to the far end of the yard. We started playing, and I got two, possible three round ups, catching Collin of guard once or twice. All of a sudden, Collin chucked the ball. It whirled over Riley’s round blonde head, careening in my neighbor’s yard. As soon as I heard the thump, I knew I only had a matter of time.

“Riley! Go get it! Rule number two!” Collin shouted as I sprinted back and forth. Riley dashed back to get the ball, shouting every now and then things like “Where is it?” or “guys we lost it, I don’t see it!” but finally we heard a faint “Oh, found it! Never mind!” But I could barely hear anything as the wind whipped my hair.I felt the damp thick grass as I raced through the yard, maybe I should stop. I thought to myself finally, starting to get restless Ok, I compromised with my self go back one last ti- then I stopped. Dead in my tracks as a shot of pain surged through my body. At that moment I let out a scream so loud and blood wrenching, I doubt anyone could define it without using the word injury. Or pure terror. I collapsed to the ground letting out frantic sobs as I realized the vibrant grass that just seconds ago I padded through care free was now stained bright red. The sprinkler head. It was protruding up from the ground, gnarled and jagged, also saturated in blood. My brother ran over to inspect, and was about to say I’m breaking rule number two when he too, saw the ground. “MOM!” Connor shrieked, as he ran for the house, “SHE’S HURT MOM, COME QUICK!!” he continued.
I stared at my toes, engulfed in blood. This isn’t happening. I thought. I must be dreaming. Actually, I must be in a nightmare. I screamed and cried and screamed some more. When my mom came out, it felt like hours instead of seconds. They tried to make me stand, as if I could walk it off. My toes were on fire, adrenaline soaked pain coursed through my veins as they carried me inside. It took all my strength not to break my vocal chords as I continued to shriek uncontrollably. My mom propped me on the counter beside the sink and put my gory foot under the faucet. As she turned the handle, a rush of cold water hit my wound. I wriggled my foot away, reaching for the handle, begging to turn it off. When she finally stopped the water flow, she looked at my foot again. “I see her bone. The top is hanging off!” she stated as her skin turned a grey green. I knew she was referring to my toe. She looked at my aunt Liza, and then turned to me. “We need to get you to the emergency room.”






***

3 hours and 8 stitches later, my left foot was all bandaged up. It took around 6 weeks with a foot boot to heal completely. Which was kind of a disappointment, but I still managed to jump rope, and even swim. But as for running bases, or any game with a ball for that matter, I chose to just watch. I threw out those wretched purple sandals, and got new, pink, close-toed ones that fit me just right. As I mentioned, I didn’t plan for this to happen. But looking back, I’m almost glad that it did. I am left with a memory that will live with me for the rest of my life about how pleasant my childhood was, and that when situations did take a turn for the worst, family and friends were always there for support. I was cut, but I healed.





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