Don’t ask me why, but it’s just one of those times I just suddenly remembered something from a long time ago, one of those times that I almost died. I must have been a really restless child. I suppose most children are. I figure I was around 7 or 8, and one of the things I loved doing was climbing. I climbed anything I could possibly climb. I climbed trees, fences, walls, clotheslines and that kind of thing. I never seem to learn my lesson because half of those times ended in disasters.
One particular time I climbed up our property wall, which was like maybe 6 or 7 feet high. It was an unfinished wall because reinforcing bars were sticking up in even intervals along the top of the wall. I walked along the top of this wall, balancing myself, careful to try and avoid the steel bars sticking out. Why did I do it? I guess for that age it was something I thought was thrilling and fun. I guess I just lost my head and didn’t mind the bars too much and I tripped over one. I could feel myself falling. My first instinct was to hold on to whatever I could hold on to, and at that moment it was the branch of a nearby papaya tree.
If you’ve ever seen a papaya tree, you would know how flimsy and weak those branches are. Imagine me grabbing onto one of the branches, and imagine that branch easily breaking off. That’s exactly what happened.
So there I was, some 6 feet off the ground, falling with a broken papaya branch held tightly in my hand.
The next thing I remember was me trying to get up. I remember being very disoriented, half conscious, unable to stand. I saw our laundry woman running towards me and then I blacked out.
Next thing I saw were lights and people hovering over me stitching something up in my head. I thought it must have been the hospital, and then I was out again.
I regained consciousness again at home, a big bandage was on my right eyebrow. I had hit the ground head first cutting my right eyebrow in half. You can still see the scar right now when you look at me.
That was only one of several accidents I’ve had with my head that required hospitalization. But none of them seemed quite as life threatening as that first one. I shudder to think of how it would be had I fallen even slightly different. I could have been paralyzed. I could have broken my neck and died.
But as I fell, I didn’t think about dying. Maybe I was just too young to think about those kinds of things. In fact, I know that what I must have been thinking was my parents are going to be so pissed that my dad was going to give me the belt when he came home that night. That was what I was thinking about.
I knew I would be all right later on.