Bitter Sweet

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Its cold, obviously, in Chicago. The irony is that this week has been like Chicago’s cold bitter wind and the warmth of the sun on my cheeks at the same time. Similar to how the sun is just strong enough to warm the ground but not the wind. Like the sharpness of a very dark chocolate. While  the book release and trip to Atlanta has been sweet, the call that my mother has fallen ill has left my mouth with the bitter taste of a strong coffee with no cream and no sugar.

Truth is I just want to go somewhere and hide. The new book is exciting and the signing and presentation went very well. In addition, the play following was amazing. This thick, syrupy goodness I will hold on my tongue always.

Immediately following the play, I jumped on a plane to Chicago and have not been home since then. Instead, I’ve been back and forth to the hospital everyday while simultaneously promoting my new book and balancing other priorities. In addition, my husband is having surgery on his knees soon which means I’ll be leaving the Chi soon.

But you know me. The grind must go on. I hope to be fully engaged in this blog soon with my regular obsessive postings! Lol

Y’all be great.

– EC

Writing 101 Assignment #14: Recreate a Single Day

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Age: 10

I lay on the concrete and it felt like nothing underneath my skin. Not like a bed of rocks or warm gravel. It just felt like nothing and I didn’t want anyone to touch me. Now, if only I could get the message across to someone. Anyone. Guess I should go ahead and harness those telepathic powers. “Please don’t move me, please don’t move me, please don’t move me.” Now, I’ll just lie here and keep repeating myself. That’s it everyone, walk around. Nothing to see here. I was caught in conversation with my own thoughts that summer afternoon when someone scooped me into their arms and then suddenly I couldn’t breathe.

Hours Earlier
June, 1997 – Afternoon

The bell roared its final lyric from  the interior of Scott Joplin Elementary School and finally released us. “Thanks Auntie Roslyn!”

A whole dollar. It’s official; I am on to bigger and better things now. Turns out it really does pay to get good grades. Moving on up out the fourth grade. Time to bring all the toys outside to celebrate.

As night dawned and the street lights came on, Mama yelled that it was time for my sister and I to come home.  It was a beautiful day out and the ice cream truck took advantage as it sung down the street. I decided it was time to spend.

“But mama said to come in the house,” whined my twin sister.

“Just hold my toys till I come back”, I said annoyed. Why she can’t just go with the flow?

I wasn’t interested in Twin’s backtalk, just ice cream. Did she not see that I had just been a devil for Halloween? She better get it together. I mean sure, the pitchfork is made of plastic with a cute light bulb, but I know how to use it.

The ice cream truck sang its way down the street with its “Pop goes the weasel hymn”. And being as careful as I could with anxious feet I embarked on my journey. “Yea, this will only take a minute. Life is about taking risks little sister. I’ll be back before you know it.”

***********

So here I am, floating in the air and unable to breathe.

“Told yall not to move me. Grown-ups. They never listen.” I didn’t hear screams. I didn’t feel the impact. I don’t remember anything outside of rolling from the hood of the car and being picked up from the ground and put in the grass again. “There, that’s better. I can breathe now.”

There is no pain as I lay here surrounded by the neighborhood. I don’t know what everyone’s looking at. I scanned my surroundings in awe of the large crowd and realized my left hand was being squeezed by some woman. Her tears soaked her face and she pleaded her apologies over and over again. “Oh, so your the one who hit me. No worries, I forgive you. It’s really not all that bad. Not like I feel anything. Plus, you do know it’s really not your fault right? Yup, its mine. Just don’t tell Twin. You keep secrets right? You keep mine and I’ll keep yours. Oh come on, will you stop the crying already? It’s really not that bad. I don’t feel anything. Oh that’s right, you can’t hear me. No one can. I’m liking these powers. Nice. Next time mom says—

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

It was cousin Rachel. There, take a scowl. You better be careful lady. Who knows what I can do with my new super powers.

An Hour Later – The Hospital

So I’m sad to tell you that my super powers wore off. I still can’t speak but I’m starting to feel pain. According to the voices around me I’d broken my leg, or more precisely, my femur bone, the longest bone in your body, located in the thigh area. So now I’m staring at the ceiling waiting for the doctors to come back. Mom is on the other side of me and my entire right leg is wrapped in some kind of casing that feels like its getting heavier and heavier. “Oh boy, this is it. I’m dying. I’m officially dying.” My voice opened up and I started to cry. “What’s taking them so long? This is unbearable! What is this thing on my leg?! It’s so heavy. It has to be a cast. They must know my super powers are gone. Who would be so cruel as to wrap my broken leg in a cast! It feels like a big fat man was sitting on my leg. I know he’s around here somewhere, I just can’t see him. I don’t think I’ll have a leg left. It’s sinking deeper and deeper into the bed and the mattress is starting to fold over.

So the “doctors” finally came back and wheeled me into surgery. I wonder about the evil doctor who commanded his men to try and make my leg disappear. I’m sure he wanted to do away with me and I was being taken to a secret laboratory in which this would happen. Wait, he’s trying to give me something. It’s poison. I knew it! Wait, what’s happening? No, don’t put that in my ….”

Recovery

What a day. First I get attacked by the white car. Then I get kidnapped and drugged by men pretending to be doctors and now I’m sitting up in a hospital bed. Let me check to see if all of my body parts are here. Head. Check. Arms. Check. Face in tack. Check. Good, I can wiggle my toes. Check. Left leg is fine. Right—

“Ahhh!”

I started to cry again. Someone had stapled me back together. I instantly thought of my fourth grade teacher who stapled his thumb on occasion to let us know he was crazy enough not to mess with. “Was he in on this? I wouldn’t doubt it.” I wondered what kind of technology they were using. I’d better be careful not to touch the staples. It may activate some special gadget and suck me deep into the floor. Maybe I’ll just count them. One….two…three…ten…eighteen…twenty-four! Oh my, this must really be serious. I’m sure there’s a tracking device in there somewhere. And what did they do with my real leg?

I thought about telling mama about these evil men but I didn’t want to blow my cover. If she was protecting me they couldn’t know about it. I’m kind of tired now so we’ll have to talk about escape routes in the morning. Guess I’ll get some sleep since mom’s up. She can watch the door.

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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.

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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.

*****

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.