Looking back at my childhood, which I do not believe has finished yet, I would say, compared to many others; mine is a happy one. In comparison to when I was seven, I have vastly matured, but sometimes I relish in acting as if I was that age again. I hope I will always be a child at heart because I believe that is what can make us truly happy, not the riches of the world or heaven on Earth.
I am not lying to you or myself when I say I have had a happy childhood. Despite coming from a broken family and having in my view, one of the worst brothers in the world (although when I was younger I used to worship the ground he walked on), I do not feel these things have had a significant impacts on the overall emotions involved in my childhood.
Of memories, I have very few. But the ones I do manage to hold from falling into the swirling vortex of oblivion, which dares to call itself my memory bank, I cherish in the depths of my heart. I retrieve small clips of my life when I wish to review them. The majority of my memories are extremely happy ones. But I do retain one, which you could hardly say was overflowing with joy.
This memory only recently has begun to make sense, as I reviewed it with a greater level of maturity than I possessed at the time. I was in year two of my primary school, St. James. As I recreate my most important childhood memory, I will think carefully. Words make pictures. And pictures make stories.
As I said before, I worshiped the ground my brother, Adam, walked upon. Plus I think, he actually used to like me, although he probably wouldn’t admit it now. It was nearing the summer holidays and my brother had received his birthday presents a week or so before the event. One of these presents was a brand new skateboard, and Adam had given me his older, slower one. At the time I thought it was the best thing in the whole world, (except the newer one Adam had of course) but really it was shabby, scratched and very tatty. That wasn’t the point though!
I managed to persuade my Mum to actually let me go outside by myself to play with my ‘new’ toy and ironically, just before I closed the door I heard my Mum calling out the threat, “I’m not taking you to hospital if you fall off.” It was only an idle threat, but I remember that I was laughing at the thought of it (at the time). I took the skateboard outside and went ecstatically up and down, down and up the slope opposite my house. About ten minutes later, Mum came outside to see how I was progressing and just as she called out, the front wheels of the skateboard caught in the open gutter of the pavement. I was propelled forward; the air caught in my throat and squeezed my lungs tight as it ran out. It seemed as though I was sitting on the floor, watching the movements as they happened. The worst thing was that I viewed it in slow motion and couldn’t do anything to stop it!
The anticipation of actually hitting the ground seemed to hurt more than hitting it in real life did. The feeling in my stomach made me feel sick to the end. It was the feeling of knowing exactly what was happening. I remember everything; it was like an old fashioned scribe was carving the details of it in stone, so I would never forget them. It was as inevitable as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west, I hit the slope, and I hit it hard. Every bone and every sinew in my body felt the effects of the impact of the pavement; it was not as I expected it to be. I thought it would be smoother, it always looked so smooth, no cracks or gaps. Like in many things in my life, I was wrong; it was rough, all lumpy and sharp in places. Plus it was black, so black I couldn’t tell the difference between the tarmac and the inside of my eyelids.
The smell seeped into my nostrils, flashing signs for my brain to recognise. One moment I could smell raspberry bubble gum, strong and nauseating and the next the potent smell of new leather shoes. My usually soft, bright skin felt like the evidence of an elderly man’s two-day-old stubble a paler shade than white. The small pieces of rubble creating creators in my face leaving bits there as reminders of what I had just done. Even though my face hurt, it was the overwhelming sense of something being missing in my mouth, which seemed to startle me more. What I was experiencing was that my two front teeth were not firmly fixed in the gums of my mouth.
I do not know how vampires can stand the taste of blood in their mouths, but I have most defiantly not acquired a taste for it, and would not recommend having that lifestyle to anybody. It was like when you bite your tongue and it bleeds, but so much worst. It was if I had buckets of blood pouring into my mouth. I couldn’t swallow; if I moved my mouth I could only taste it all the more.
I could hear the blood pumping into my mouth, thumping through my ears, pounding in my brain. It is a strange thing to be able to hear your own heart beat so loudly that you could swear everyone around you could hear it too.
I knew my face hurt. Every nerve was screaming out for me to cry or at least acknowledge the pain in a physical way, but nothing seemed to register. I suppose I was in shock, but I was not at all bothered by what was happening, it was like some other mind was controlling every function in my body. All I could do was sit and wait, listening and watching to what was going on around me. Mum did the usual motherly thing, she worried. It had not really registered but, by now I was inside my house, leaning over the sink, and being instructed to spit out the blood. Mum had already arranged with my Nan to get me to the hospital, ironic, isn’t it, only a short while ago she had promised not to if I fell!
I do not know why I can remember the small details about it but I can. It seemed strange to me because I have so much trouble trying to remember events in themselves. It is just this one seemed to stick out in my memory, so I suppose it makes it a major thing in my childhood. I have not experienced major trauma, death or illnesses, which is probably why I remember so much of these seemingly pointless things.
I didn’t have to stay in hospital overnight; I was told it would be better if I spent the night at home and came in the next morning to have them taken out, because they were literally hanging on by threads. I blamed my Mum for my two front teeth being knocked out, even though I had a niggling feeling that it had nothing to do with her, she was just in the right place at the right time for me to blame. Nobody would want to blame himself or herself. Something, which only rubbed salt in the wound, was when I wasn’t allowed to go on a school trip the day after; I might have felt sick on the bus because of the anaesthetic. I had to stay home whilst the rest of my class was out on a school trip, enjoying them, without me!
I never used it again. Not that I was scared of using the skateboard, do not think that, I am definitely not one for being defeated. If I fall off the horse, then I’ll get back on again. I can’t help it; it is part of my personality. It seemed to be that one skateboard that I could not face, but I could ride on Adam’s faster, newer one, which was more likely dangerous than the older one I had been using!
On reflection, I was more worried about losing out on going on the school trip than I was about losing my two front teeth, which definitely says something about my childhood perception on life. A child’s perception of events and the world around them can be extremely distorted.
When looking back, you realise that the ignorance of childhood is bliss and the innocence that is created by this perception is what makes childhood what it is.