As my eyes slowly flicked open, I began to wonder where I was. I felt dazed and confused, and my head was spinning. That?s how it was when you wake up in a strange place ? then the reality suddenly came flooding into my mind like a tidal wave. I could hear the loud wail of a siren. Instantly I panicked.
?Where are they taking me daddy??
My father replied.
?Darling, where taking you to the hospital.? I thought for a while, but continued to remain perplexed. Then the past events began to slowly evolve ? the last thing that I could remember, had occurred when I was crossing the road. I was unable to recall anything, but it occurred to me then that somehow I hadn?t made it across.
Apparently, passers by had seen me struck by a car, the flying into the air, plummeting onto its windscreen, hitting it directly with my forehead. I thought I had been consumed by a black vortex, but I had come face to face with death. A few centimetres either was, and I would have been addressing St. Peter.
Till this day, I still find it impossible to forget that sunny Tuesday afternoon. I was feeling elated as the school holidays had arrived, and I was comfortably ensconced in my favourite sofa doing my two favourite things ? eating chocolate and watching TV. Just then, my friend Belinda, had knocked at the door. She asked if I wanted to go for a bike ride. (At that age I always loved acting like a boy, for my little brother and I would always compete with each other). Then I suddenly remember that she possessed the newest and most expensive bike in the whole of grade three. The prospect of a ride on his bike made my mouth water. My answer?an unerring Yes!
I almost ran into the backyard where I unchained my bike which was too big for me, all the while begging my mother to let me go. She finally let me, but as always there was a price to pay ? on this particular day I had to eat my lunch. Although such a task might seem pretty simple, I shut my thoughts off food as I dashed inside, shoved those unappetising vegetables in my mouth, and ran back outside where I began to laboriously wheel my bike into the front-yard. Before leaving my mother stopped me and told me the usual ? ?don?t be too long and ride with a helmet!? Typically irresponsible at that age, I thought that helmets were uncomfortable, ?dorky? and downright load of garbage, so I didn?t even bother with her advice.
We hopped on our bikes and left. Belinda and I rode, as fast as our eight-year old legs would take us down the street. Our destination was the nearby school grounds where we could generally mess about. Belinda had told me of a park nearby where we could race when we got a little bored ? which was likely to occur pretty soon ? and we headed that way. It was just behind the school, across the main road. Belinda stopped at the kerb, waiting for a couple of cars to pass, warning me at the same time to proceed with care as it was approaching peak hour, but I took no notice and hurriedly began to cross. How I wish I had heeded to her warning.
I awoke with the restlessness of a reluctance to return to reality, it took me some time to even realise where I was. The brightness of the sun told me that I was lying on the ground. My head was pulsating. My body felt like it weighed a ton of bricks, and when I looked to my right through the corner of my eyes, I could barely make out my bike. It was bent in a mangled heap, and resembled a discarded object from the tip. I struggled to get to my feet, despite my dizziness. For some reason that escaped my knowledge, I felt detached from the pain. I was in shock, and frantically staggered over to my bike and began dragging it off the road, fearing the wrath of my parents. Suddenly my legs gave way, but before I hit the ground, a considerate bystander came to my aid. Sensing my trauma, the young women spoke to me in an unusual calm manner, asking me how old I was and what grade I was in, but my then I was so weak that I had forgotten the other things she had said, as I descended into a peaceful darkness.
By the time we arrived at the hospital, I had regained consciousness and felt the rattle of my mobile bed?s movement. The bright red ?intensive care? sign looked fuzzy around the edges. I caught a glimpse of Dad ? his customary cheerful expression had vanished, his dancing green eyes had become turgid and gloomy. His forehead was scrunched up into that funny looking wrinkles everyone at the age of thirty-five seemed to have. My immaturity had me thinking he was angry with me, but when I looked at my eyebrow and saw them reddened as if by magic, ripping it open, and thus scaring me for life. I reasoned that he was upset. My head rested on a sofa pillow, and I looked down to see the knees of my pants, which looked as if they had been passed through a shredder and my legs had turned a crimson colour. My white T-shirt didn?t look so virgin anymore; it was splattered with blood.
I was wheeled through a maze of corridors, and all along the way a short, black haired doctor was by my side, walking alongside my bed on wheels. We suddenly came to a halt in a room where I was moved to a hard, flat table. The rest of my family was present and my brother rushed to be at my side. The doctor busied herself in preparation, while my brother?s face hovered above me in a dumbfounded way, not comprehending anything and not at all like his usual self. His dismay must have been contagious?
?what in the world is he staring at? What?s wrong with me? What?
I turned to see what was taking the doctor so long and timidly asked her what was going to happen. No reply. Then I looked up and saw one thing I feared most ? well, besides the dark, monsters and robbers anyway ? she was coming towards me with a large needle in her hand and calmly explained that I would need stitchers near my eyebrow. I silently screamed and almost howled in fear as the needle pierced my arm. I was told to count to twenty. The small pinch then subsided and I was already dreading the stiches, but the worst wasn?t over. To my utter dismay, the doctor then obtained another, even bigger needle and was about to insert it into my bloodied brow when she heard my whimpering and paused. As if reading my mind, she told me to be strong and it would be over soon, and then proceeded to inject me with what I now know to be anaesthetic. After what seemed like an eternity, the needle was finally withdrawn from my resisting flesh.
It was some time later that I finally had the courage to speak. I was almost hysterical by this stage, and shakily asked if we were up to the stitching stage. The doctor said that there was one stich left to complete, and I let out a half ? sigh in relief. It wasn?t over yet, but it would be soon. Everything went quickly after that and before I knew it, I was in a wheelchair and on my way out to the car. Weary, but smug and relived, I felt absolutely drained, as I fell asleep even before my father had started the car.
I vowed that I would always wear a bicycle helmet from then on?