When I was a kid, brother and I would climb up to the roof of the house, give ourselves a running start and take a huge leap onto the lawn below. We just wanted the temporary rush of feeling free. As an adult, I’d feel imprisoned by fear is someone told me to take a running leap off of the roof.
We weren’t allowed to be doing this, of course. We mostly did it when my parents weren’t home, or weren’t paying attention. Whichever came first. It was the 80s and parents had things to do. Better things then keeping a close eye on their children. Those were the golden days.
As you can imagine, all of this freedom to play fast and loose with our lives didn’t always lead to desirable results. There was the one time in high school that my brother’s best friend came over with his girlfriend, a tough New York export who made it a point to emphasize how wimpy and street stupid us Florida kids were. He had left New York when very young, and I suspect he loved his girlfriend’s tough demeanor as it could give him back a bit of the street cred the suburbs had washed away.
Well my brother and I started getting annoyed. Who does she think she is calling us wimps? She has no idea the things we’ve done. The bicycle ramps we’d built– including the one that faced a tree. We didn’t realize that engineering flaw until my brother and his bike flew straight into it. She knew nothing of the many times we snuck out of summer camp and had secret club meetings in the woods. How we swung from vines over a very steep cliff. She also knew nothing of our adventures launching our bodies off of the roof.
It had been a couple of years since last we’d done it, but now we figured, why not bring back the good old days and show this Yankee what childhood’s really all about. And guess who was the chicken when the suggestion came up? She was. She didn’t want to do it, but we were eager to prove to her that we were tough too. We didn’t live on tough streets but we were tough on the inside. Getting banged up while practicing roller skating tricks will do that to a person.
Besides, it was fun. She was new to the city and we wanted to show her a good time. She finally acquiesced. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon. We climbed up. We assured her that no one had ever been hurt in the making of this game. We made sure to make her aware that our parents disapproved. No drop in the cool bucket was too small.
My brother looked over the edge and scanned the grass. He backed himself up to the other side of the roof and took off running. He landed like a champ. Someone else went, I can’t remember who, but the outcome was the same– a rush of adrenaline and sense of real accomplishment. Then she went.
She ran decently enough for a city kid. Her leap wasn’t ambitious but it was respectable. She landed and howled. Her foot had landed on a sprinkler head. Somehow we’d all managed to miss the sprinkler over the years or our dad had made some improvements to the yard and not told us. Either way, she was screaming bloody murder and we couldn’t get her to stop. For crying out loud, you’re a tough teenager from New York City, please get yourself under control. But she didn’t.
Naturally, our inclination was to put our hands over her mouth and beg her to be quiet before one of our neighbors came over to ask questions. Damn friendly neighborhood we grew up in. This wasn’t the sort of place where everyone minded their own business. If she didn’t shut up, our parents were bound to hear about it. Have I told you my dad is scary?
So we did the thing that every kid who grew up with a healthy dose of television would do. We carried her inside and tried to use our accumulated television knowledge to correct whatever was wrong with her. By the looks of her writhing on the ground and clutching her ankle and screaming my ankle, my ankle, we figured it must be her ankle that got the damage. And so, we calmly asked her to calm down while we twist it back into place.
Imagine our surprise when the prospect of getting better didn’t excite her. Dear Readers, she goes into a full blown panic as if we didn’t know what we were doing or something. Kids. What we did next was to hold her down (we did offer something for her to bite down on but she didn’t take it) while my brother got a firm grip of her foot and gave it a few good thrusts in the “right” direction. The poor girl howled like a Banshee until we finally let her go. Her screaming bloody murder was worse than the actual incident. She was becoming a liability.
No, this is not the part when I tell you we killed her to cover up the scandal. We did the first sensible thing we had done that entire afternoon. We let her leave. Her boyfriend didn’t live too far away so she hobbled down the street with his help and we never saw her again. I don’t think she moved back to New York; I think she just stopped talking to us, if you’re wondering. I think Florida got too tough for her. Suburbs 1 City 0.
Sometimes I wonder what ever happened to her and I pray that her ankle doesn’t start acting up every time the weather changes. I hope that she looks back on the memory and laughs and tells the story. I hope that she learned the lessons that we all learned that day.
- Childhood is a hell of a good time.
- Peer pressure is a bitch.
- Everything is a story.
- Television can rarely replace a real doctor.
- Kids are going to do dumb stuff, just a matter of time.
- But did you die?
What about you? Ever engage in dangerous escapades in your childhood? What’s the craziest thing you’ve done for a good time?
My name is Lyz-Stephanie and I want to inspire you to live a more interesting, fulfilling and beautiful life. Think of me as your well-being and happiness guide. Every day we can do something to make our lives happier and richer, make our minds more active and engaged. I’m on the journey. Will you join me?