A road can be as long or short as our perspective of it.
Stretching on endlessly for miles or running out of path to tread before we know it.
Outside our home, the road was adjunct to playing space as we pushed prams full of dolls jostling within, roller-skated, hopscotched, twirled hoola-hoops, kicked, threw and caught a ball, hopped, skipped and jumped our way through childhood.
Only roads are potential death traps. I diced close once. Didn’t know when to stop and look around me
Dashing behind ice-cream van, frozen spearmint lolly sticky-glued to hand, lip licking in anticipation, eyes peeled on the path ahead but forgetting my “look left, right, then left again, cross safely” mantra…a screech of brakes, scream, shout…body inert, curled up corpse-like into the kerb, blue-tinged lips, still and silent.
Father watching motor racing on TV could feel a heart-lurch recognition of danger, squeal of tires, noise, beyond the confines of the living room. He scooped me up from the gutter..pebble-dashed with gravel, blue lights and siren hovering into view. I remember nothing of that.
Only light searing eyes too sensitive to bear. Screams from my own throat as a cold-fingered, cold-hearted nurse bent to inject me. Drifting away for a while..
My looseness saved me as I fell to the ground. Innate ability to sit heavy on lap, snuggle in close for comfort craved so much. Collapsing sack-like kept me from cracking. No bones broken. Only concussion and badly grazed, scraped torn skin that wept yellow into bandage.
Bruised pride. Clumsy old me. All of six years old. Tears leaking afresh at the sight of torn dress, ruined beyond repair.
Safe in Father’s arms as we journey home
Skies are stormy yet light still lingers in the distance, giving us hope of seeing change.