The Accident

“She shouldn’t have been running across the street!” said a familiar voice in the crowd.

It was Cousin Rachel and if I had the energy to throw a scowl her way I would have. I still had not felt any pain and only prayed now that I would live. I scanned the crowd, it appeared the entire neighborhood had come to see the event. Heads popped outside of windows, neighbors stopped in their places and strangers huddled together alongside family, shoulder to shoulder, as if shielding me from the outside and encasing me inside the core of the sidewalk.

Meanwhile, my fingers tingled with blood that raced toward the tips because someone was squeezing the life out of my left hand, and their tears kissed their apologies on top my skin. She was the woman who hit me and was knee deep in apologies and instant compassion consumed me. I forgave the woman over and over again while simultaneously praying I wasn’t going to die. But I was talking in my head again. The lady had not heard me, my mouth still had not moved, and my memory only went as far back as rolling off the hood of someone’s car, down the window and onto the ground. (For some reason I remember sliding down the window). Prior to this I was on a quest for ice cream and decided a quick dash across the street would grant me this prized possession. Needless to say I was wrong.

It wasn’t until I looked down at my right thigh that the full realization of what happened came to me: my right thigh was twice the size of my left one. Still, I felt no pain. I felt nothing in fact. I just lay there consumed by thought and words that had no sound. It wasn’t until the Ambulance arrived and I made the transition from the ground to the vehicle that the shock wore off and the excruciating discomfort started.

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The arrival to the hospital itself is a blur. I was in so much pain that everything seemed surreal. It turns out that I’d broken my leg, or more precisely, my femur bone (the longest bone in your body, located near the thigh). I remember staring into the ceiling, my little brown body highlighted against the white sheets. My mom was to my left as we waited for the doctors to return. My whole right leg had been wrapped in some kind of casing and the feel of it was that it was getting heavier and heavier as time passed. As I cried out in agony, I could not understand what was taking them so long to come back. I also wondered who had done this cruel thing as to wrap my broken leg in a cast, which made my leg so unbelievably heavy that I could not lift it and supposed then that it was not only paralyzed, but by the time the doctors felt like getting started I would have no leg left, for it was diving deeper into the bed and the mattress began to fold over.

Of course, none of this really happened. My leg was not wrapped in a cast and was not sinking into the bed.

When the doctors and nurses finally did return, in what seemed hours later, they started to cut my clothes off which added to my rising dislike of these people. I was wearing something really cute that now sat in shredded pieces of nothing. Meanwhile, in my head, I was explaining to no one in particular about the evil doctor who commanded his men to try and make my leg disappear and cut up my nice clothes. I’m sure he wanted to do away with me and I was being taken to a secret laboratory in which this would happen. I was just about to imagine what he was going to do when someone put a pill in my mouth. When I woke up I was laying in recovery with a steel plate replacing my leg, twenty-four surgical staples piecing me back together and surrounded by family.

check-up

I still remember when mama took me to my first check-up. I assumed the clever doctors had found me and sought to continue their plan. In my head, I’d been rescued by family who found a way to piece me back together and store me away in recovery. Now however, we were on our way to the doctor’s office and had to cross a big street that I’m sure came out of nowhere. On my journey to get across, I wondered what kind of technology they were using. I’d better be careful not to step on the yellow lines; it may activate some special gadget and suck me deep into the ground. Because my enemies had decided it was better that I use a walker instead of crutches, which I’d hoped to experience, it took me what seemed forever to get across the street. The evil doctors had done it this time, they were back and I was sure that they had somehow stretched the already wide road so that with each step I was not getting closer, I was only getting further and further away. I thought about telling mama about these corrupt men but I didn’t want to blow my cover. If she was protecting me they couldn’t know about it.

When we got to the office and they removed the staples, I was instructed by the doctor to move my leg back and forth but I couldn’t do it. My body had not all the way adjusted to the steel plate and told me this wasn’t a very good idea. Instantly, I stopped and threw a scowl the doctor’s way, “Way to go genius that hurts.” But I knew what he was trying to do. He was trying to kill me. I better not say anything, they may try to kidnap mom and throw me in that laboratory again.

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I would like to publish a memoir one day. While I am still undecided as to publish an entire manuscript, I have taken to writing down bits and pieces of my life story and publishing excerpts to this blog for practice. What you have read is the true story of when I was hit by a car at ten years old. Names of real persons have been changed to protect their identities.

Memoir Sample – The Aid Office

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Our family survived off welfare and from that end I know it to be helpful. It was however, a possessive lover. In Robert Taylor, no one’s father was present since their mother’s couldn’t receive welfare with them. But not that men weren’t present; their existence was obvious since the projects themselves overflowed with innocence. Thousands of children the byproduct of casual sex, and drive by love pieced together somehow between the cracks of the doors left open by the ladies from the welfare office, who searched everywhere but the crack of your buttocks to ensure it wasn’t present. So the men were around, fathers of children who knew them as nothing more than the Ray Ray’s and Big Mikes of the block. Men who sort of hung out on the corners or underneath the beds of open women, too filled with desire and dreams to deny a no-good-man a place between her legs. So the kids kept coming, the men kept leaving, and the welfare office remained packed. And if it, the Welfare, sensed anything positive had taken place, even if it was a new hairstyle, they needed to know from where the money had come, how much was it and how often was it around so they may deduct that amount from the meager rations they were already giving out. It didn’t matter if it was a jar of peanut butter or a new hat, if it was expected to come from an additional money source, it would be calculated and deducted from the monthly government assistance.

If she was found to have a man living with her, whether he worked or not, she could lose her money altogether. Not only was my father not around, but my Uncle had to make a covenant with the closet when the social worker came by. You see, a man’s  presence was a threat to the relationship between a woman and her government. Thus the poor were required to remain so in the buildings if they desired to receive the little nothings they were receiving from Welfare. If they showed any sense of pride that required a level of discretion at what we commonly referred to as, “The Aid-Office”, it was as if the clerk had been instructed to repeat their business louder than the person obviously desired over the intercom so that the entire room could hear it; this made it extremely embarrassing to visit the office.

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If by any chance the women wanted a divorce by acquiring some fancy job, the government made sure to snatch away all its benefits so that she is better off to remain part of the relationship than to do away with it. What use is a “good job” when she can’t afford to pay the rent if it increases because of her salary? Or what use is a “good job” when she can no longer receive Medicaid for children who are constantly bleeding from the violence of their environment? This is a place where children used garbage dumps as a playground. What use is it, of a “good job”, when she can no longer receive food stamps as a means to feed her children? It is thus better for her to stay married, financially, to the system than to get a “good job” that leaves her just over broke and in the same situation as she started out as. Marriage? Out the question, she can lose her benefits by daring to marry her children’s father—she wasn’t allowed to have one in the home, let alone marry him. Needless to say, the system divided more than it brought together, and was quite jealous and possessive of its lover, the Black Woman.

– Concrete Children: Life Inside the Robert Taylor Projects

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I would like to publish a memoir one day. While I am still  in the infancy stages of understanding memoir writing, I have taken to writing down bits and pieces of my life story and publishing excerpts to this blog for practice.