Laying flat on my back in the grass, looking upwards, the sun was high in the sky. I tried to focus, just enough, to run in the opposite direction, but to no avail. Everything was hazy, pulsating back and forth, a fog descending across my line of vision, rippling outwards distorting the surrounding panorama. Gently, I lifted my head from the ground, using my elbows as leverage, steadying my ascent. Pain shot down the right side of my face; sharp, intense. I gritted my teeth together tightly, as the throbbing shot across my jaw. My right elbow collapsed as I rolled to one side; slipping down the hill hitting my head ever harder, I began to tumble downwards. Rolling faster and faster, I hit the bottom with an abrupt thud, smacking my forehead on a wooden bench, placed strategically at the end of the playground, breaking my fall. Dazed and bewildered, I hesitantly opened my eyes; I could see the misty green hue of the hill above. Without moving my head I looked over my right side, I had fallen on my arm. A trickle of blood from underneath my wrist, flowed slowly onto the paving slab, where I lay unceremoniously, bedraggled and unkempt. I was numb, incapacitated, there was no pain, just confusion and shock. Gradually my eyes rolled backwards and everything went dark.
I woke suddenly, sitting bolt upright, grabbing my head with my hand as I did so. Rubbing it carefully, I tried to find the source of the pain; a rather large lump, tender to touch and tingling, was smarting from the impact at the bottom of the hill. I glanced downwards, there was a bandage on my wrist, blood was beginning to soak through the gauze; I could feel the wound bubbling underneath. My shorts were dirty, the right-hand pocket ripped and dangling, held on only by a sliver of lining below. My tank top was covered in grass, and those sticky corn like darts we used to find in the undergrowth, while building a den in the fields surrounding the school. I placed my head gently back down on the bed, furtively looking around the small room. I spotted the School nurse in the corner, her back turned to one side. She was a large lady, friendly but firm; her grey hair was tied back in a ponytail, accentuating her rather gargantuan face. She wore no makeup or jewellery; flat shoes, wrinkled stockings and a large bobble cardigan over her nurses uniform, held together with a small watch pinned to her chest, completed her look. Her chubby hands were rustling in the drawer in front of her, finally producing a small black bottle and some cotton wool. Turning to face me, she smiled, walking over to my side.
Looking up at her, I began to cry; Not uncontrollably, just a small stream of tears flowing down my cheeks. She raised her eyebrows, shaking a finger in front of my face, tutting in her wake. Placing the small bottle on the table next to the bed, she removed a hanky from her sleeve; wiping my face vigorously, she sighed, repeating the words, ‘No no no, we don’t do that!’ I pushed her away, again and again, annoyed at her continued persistence. After the third attempt, she tapped the back of my hand, rather taken aback, I closed my eyes tightly, avoiding her gaze. A swab of iodine to my brow, some butterfly stitches to my arm and a quick wash down, I was ready to fight another day! Aware of my limitations, I never again ended up at the bottom of the hill; A hard lesson learnt at the beginning of the day.
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