It's funny how certain moments can conjure up childhood memories. Like injuries.
Yesterday I slipped on some ice and scraped my left knee. I haven't scraped my knee since I was a little girl. Ever since it happened, whenever I feel the pain or look at my knee, images and feelings from my childhood revisit me. Tricycle. Big husky dog. School. Playground. Asphalt. Neighborhood. Barking. Crying. Ma.
I know this incident happened at least once. For some reason I feel like it happened multiple times, but maybe that's just because I thought about it so much after the fact that I relived it many times and in my mind I did experience it more than once. I don't know. Anyway.
My parents and I lived down the street from the school that was to be my elementary school. Often, they would take me to the school's expansive playground and field area to play. One afternoon in the summertime, Ma and I were leaving when we came upon The Path. I was in front, riding my tricycle. Ma followed closely behind, looking after me attentively. This Path, a wide, black asphalt intermediary between my street and the school, wasn't anything to be afraid of in itself. It was what was along it that you had to be careful of.
Harmless house on the right, big scary unpredictable husky on the left. I say unpredictable because he didn't always bark at you when you passed by. Sometimes he would just watch you. Sometimes he wouldn't come out of his doghouse. Sometimes he wouldn't even be in the backyard, probably sleeping inside his owner's house or something. For some reason I only remember him barking at people when they were on their way out of the school grounds. So you can imagine how on this day, I, with my preschool-aged self, was terrified and on edge as we neared the dog's domain. We were at the halfway point and seemed to be in the clear, when suddenly the husky shot out of nowhere and commenced barking (roaring?) at me through his fence. When he jumped, I jumped. And fell. Off my tricycle and onto the ground. Scraping my knees. So much pain and fear and crying. I'm laughing now thinking about how hysterical I'd been. But at the time, what else could I do?
Ma stood me back up and tried to calm me down. We made it back to the house and she cleaned and blew on my wounds. Gave me hugs and kisses and Band-Aids with cartoon characters on them. She told me I was fine, and that I was going to be okay. And that yes, for the hundredth time, I would be able to ride my bike again sometime before I died (I told you I was hysterical). And then, all was right again.
Now, here I am with my stinging left knee, and I can't stop thinking about that event from my early years. Who knew? Knees are actually really fragile. And who knew? Even when you're trying to be more independent and prove that you can be a real adult, sometimes you still want your mom to make things better. Or just laugh at the fact that you slipped and fell on some ice. Either way.