In the midst of packing up our house in Ohio, I took a bicycle out of the garage and headed to the candy store in town. My mom let me ride to town by myself as long as I let her know. So I did, and with my pockets full of piggy bank change, I climbed on a bike that was slightly large for me. My bike with its banana seat had a flat tire. Thinking about what sorts of treats I would buy with the riches that steadily pulled my pants down over my hips, I pedaled two blocks and turned right to coast down the hill to the tracks that led into the village. I listened for a car at the bottom of the hill and not hearing one, swung around to the left. A car was right there, and I rode straight into it. I flew from the bike, bounced off the roof of the car and landed on the embankment along the railroad tracks. The bike resembled an accordion.
An ambulance sped me to the hospital. I could hear the siren and a man sitting in the back with me got a plastic pack from a drawer.
“Wanna feel something really cool?” He smiled and touched the pack to my arm. It was as warm as my skin. He whacked the square package against the side of the gurney I lay on and shook it for a moment.
“Presto-change-o.” He winked and placed the now ice cold pack against my head.
With this movement I realized that my head was hurting and so was my chest and my ankle.
“It hurts.” I said, my voice small against the sound of the siren.
“I know it hurts honey.” The man said. “But you’re gonna be just fine kiddo. We’re on our way to the hospital and your mom and dad are on their way to meet us.”
At the mention of my mom, I started to cry and tasted a bitter lump in my throat. I wanted to be brave and it wasn’t so bad in the ambulance but suddenly I really wanted my mom. I was hurting and my mouth was dry and I could still see the car coming at me when I closed my eyes.
I felt important. My parents came to the hospital in the new, used International truck they had purchased for our move toward Maine. It was a giant truck. I was convinced the contents of our entire house would fit in it. I had crutches for a sprained ankle, a concussion and a cracked rib.
Once home, I spent days healing in a comfy wing back chair in the living room, watching everyone else bustle around, packing and carrying boxes. There was a steady procession out the door of our things. Some were loaded into the new truck, now equipped with tall sides that my dad made to hold things in. Others went into a large U-Haul we were filling with fragile belongings and stuff that absolutely could not get wet. A moving company would store and then deliver the remaining large furniture when we were ready for it.
It felt nice to have everyone worrying over me.