Thursday, October 08, 2009

My head under me, trapped in darkness

The following incident probably happened in 1966. I was in the seventh grade, during a time when we had moved back to Missouri for less than a year.

I was tall for my age, overweight and non-athletic. I had watched smaller, thinner kids do backward rolling somersaults. They had rolled backward directly over their heads, quickly and without any problems. I wanted to be able to do it, but I wanted to try it at home, where they couldn't see my attempts.

So, one night at home I decided to try it. My mother kept telling me not to do it, that I was too heavy. I insisted on trying, though. I tried over and over, but the best I could do was to roll backwards over one shoulder. I couldn't seem to roll directly over my head. It was too uncomfortable to go directly over my head, and I kept going to one side instead.

I finally made a more determined attempt at it, to do it despite the discomfort. And I managed to do it. The results, however, were not what I had anticipated.

I was in darkness, and my chin was pressed firmly against my chest. My head felt like it was folded face-first underneath my chest, with the back of my neck severely stretched. It was a very uncomfortable position, and I couldn't seem to breathe. I felt that the front of my neck was so severely bent that it was blocking the airflow. I couldn't move, though, and had no awareness of my body much beyond my head and neck.

Perhaps six feet away, I heard my mother and my younger brother talking, but they seemed unaware of what had happened to me. I kept hoping that one of them would notice what had happened, and straighten my body up so that I could breathe again. Nobody came and helped, though, and they kept on talking. I was afraid that I might die there while they continued talking, unaware.

It seemed like such a tragic situation, for someone to die when it could easily have been prevented by some people nearby, if they had only turned to look, if they had only known. How terrible they would feel when they finally realized that something was wrong. I felt sad for them, thinking of how they would feel and of how it would bother them all the rest of their lives.

It seemed terribly tragic that such a thing should happen, that someone should die in this way. That it didn't have to happen.

Suddenly, I raised my head and got up off the floor. Everything was normal again.

I didn't try any more somersaults, though. I was saddened that other people could do it and I could not, but I didn't want to risk repeating what had happened. It wasn't worth dying over, or having a broken neck.

It was definitely one of those times when I should have listened to my mother.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Blogger Raven said...

Your imagination and sense of humor never fail to delight me. Glad that imp got stuck back in the mirror... loved the guru. What a clever way to use this weeks particularly ornery words.

5:24 PM, October 11, 2009  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer Posts . . . . Older Posts