Fifteen years ago today I bunked off school. Most of my friends had gone on a week-long school trip (my parents said there was no point me going as I'm not sporty and really would I enjoy rock climbing and kayaking? - it all sounded quite dangerous) and I was bored of whatever activity we sad remainees were supposed to be doing, so I bunked off. Steph and I walked down the road to get some sweets. The sweet shop was next door to my parents' house, but why should that stop us? We had to cross a busy road to reach the shop. I was in the middle of the road and there was a car coming, it was close but I thought I'd make it if I ran. I was wrong. Up in the air I went. Down I came. I think I died.
I remember the tunnel, the light, the people waving, picking up my old, sadly missed dog and cuddling her, the sadness as the people, the light, my dog - everything - receded. I don't remember the panic or the nurse, who was in the shop, running out and trying to keep me alive until the ambulance arrived. I don't remember my brother arriving (he'd been home studying) or the trip to the hospital.I definitely don't remember passing the vet's. The vet's where my mother was sitting hoping that our new dog would survive after impaling herself on a stick, sitting listening to the ambulance go by with sirens wailing.
I was told afterwards that Mum got to the hospital in time to see me come out of surgery. They'd pinned my mashed up arm, but there was nothing they could do about my head injuries except wait. Mum says she knew I was going to be okay when, as she was holding out a bedpan for me to be sick into, I covered her in vomit and said, 'I always did get car sick.' Must have been the morphine talking.
Children have amazing powers of recovery. I was only in hospital for a week, mum stayed with me sleeping in the parents' room on a couch. The arm healed fine and, seemingly, so did the head. When we got home my mum's birthday cards were still up.
My friends came back from their adventure holiday and so did I. Today I feel lucky.