Skip navigation
text size: default | enlarged——servicing readers in 130 plus countries——110 free stories
Genre: Humour
Back to Previous Page Review This Story Share This Story

The Scar

By: L.S. Smith

Once Upon a Time, a very long time ago, I was a child. I remember some individual days when I was a child. I remember many Christmas's, the occasional Easter, even one or two birthdays, but one day stands out above all others.

I don't remember the exact date, because at five years old I had yet to care what day it was. That is unless it was December, then I kept track of every day on my annual Christmas countdown. I do remember it was hot, so that limits the event to June, July, or August. I remember myself as a cute little girl, long dark pigtails trailing behind me, because I was always in a hurry. Tomboy that I was, I lived in blue jeans. I think the right name for them then was overalls. They had a bib in the front and straps which always fell down. A bit irritating, half way up a tree. My mother used to try to get me into lovely little dresses with ruffles and hop skirts, but I loved t-shirts and overalls.

My memories actually begin the day before the event. On that day, I threw a baseball through our kitchen window. For five, I had a good arm. I don't remember anyone praising me for my arm, however. My cat, Itches had the sense to hide when she heard the crash, but not me. I went into the house to get my ball back.

I was met at the door by my father. He wasn't happy. He seemed like a giant to me back then and his voice boomed into my very small ears.

“Who threw that ball?” He bellowed.

A great desire to tell him it was the giant who lived in the top of the plum tree overwhelmed me. I knew he didn't believe in my giant, but what could it hurt.

“It was that darned giant in the plum tree.” I said with great conviction.

I always wondered why he was so sure there was no giant in the plum tree.

“Suzy, are you lying?” he said.

Twirling a braid in my hand, I looked up at him and said with all seriousness, “I don't think so.”

I had learned long before this event that if I could make him laugh, he never stayed mad at me, and I almost never got in trouble. This little trick never worked with my mother, for her I had to cry.

He laughed!!!

He said quite calmly, “Well, we had better clean this mess up before your mother gets home and makes that darn giant move.”

He believed me. Life doesn't get any better than this when you are five.

My father went about cleaning up the broken glass, warning me to stay away from it. I did as he said. I went back outside and went for a ride on my bike. When I rode passed the plum tree, I gave it a wide birth. No need to provoke the giant. He got me in enough trouble as it was. I do believe I had totally forgotten whose hand had last touched that baseball.

Now, I need to give the lay of the land which the giant in the plum tree and I inhabited. Our house sat on a large hill. I had a very big backyard with my father's garden taking about one third of the space. At the far back of the yard was a building I called my play house. Actually, I now believe that it had once been a chicken house, but my family only kept Itches the cat. Chickens would have been way too much work. We were city people. Even the giant was a city giant.

However the building had begun its life, my father had made it a magic place for me. It had a big window, and a door you could close to keep adults out. My father had even made appliances for me out of old orange crates. For those of you too young to know what an orange crate was, it was a well constructed wooden box about 36 in. long with a separating board half way down the box, thus, giving two sides to the box. I believe citrus fruit was delivered to the grocery stores in them. This is before the invention of the plastic net bag, a totally useless thing. Oh, but an orange crate could be magic. One made a stove and oven. Another was a refrigerator, while a third made the very first automatic washer and dryer in my neighborhood. I even had a special box which he had made into a television for me. For a person who had a giant living in her tree, all the things were very real to me. The other children in the neighborhood loved to come and play in my playhouse. We had tea parties where we ate pretend food and sometimes real cookies from my mother's real oven. She would bring the cookies on the cookie sheet and leave them in my pretend oven. What fun!!!

On this day the playhouse would have a different use. My father took the broken glass and placed it in a barrel, then he said to me, “Suzi, do not go into your playhouse until the garbage man has taken that broken glass away. It is very dangerous.”

“Ok dad.” I said on my way out the back door. I can still remember the sound the screen door made as it slammed behind me. I hear my dad bellow, “stop slamming that door.”

For one entire day, I didn't go to the playhouse. However, the following afternoon, I remembered my favorite doll was out there all alone. I didn't care too much for dolls, but this one was very special to me. My grandfather had given her to me for Christmas, and my grandfather didn't give people Christmas gifts. He had given me one though, and I felt very special. I had to save her.”

I would be very careful. No need to obey my father, he wasn't home. My mother was in the house talking with the parish priest in the living room. I would just go get Betsy, and come back in before she noticed I was gone.

I have heard that the part of the brain which is capable of making a good decision doesn't actually develop until somewhere around 18. I can vouch for the fact that five year olds aren't there yet.

I ran to the playhouse, threw open the door, ran in, and slit my arm open from my hand to my elbow. Blood gushing everywhere.

My child's brain ran a very quick assessment of the situation. I was going to be in trouble. Dad would know I had come to the playhouse. I tried to think of a way to make him laugh, I couldn't think of a single funny line. Now, my dress, which my mother had made me wear because Father Brown was coming for lunch, was covered with blood. I was going to be in trouble with my mom for ruining my dress. I sat down, and tried to think of a way out of this mess. The giant? Maybe, I could say he had thrown glass at me. Even at five I knew that wouldn't work.

Time seemed to stand still. I had no sense of dying. No life passing before my eyes. Well, at five what was there to pass? Then for some reason I still don't understand, I started to cry. Tears would be my salvation, mom could never be mad at a crying child in front of a priest. I got up, and ran into the house.

Now you might think my mother would have gotten hysterical at the site of her youngest child bleeding to death in her kitchen. Not my mother, she was a nurse. I am not sure what could have happened to one of us which would have moved her to take us to a doctor, but bleeding to death wasn't it. Now, the priest was pretty hysterical.

“Put her in the car, we'll get her to the hospital,” he shouted.

“No need,” my mother replied calmly.

She moved to her first aid kit which she always kept in the cupboard. She wrapped a towel around my arm and made it very tight. When she judged the bleeding to have stopped, she removed it very quickly and applied what she called a butterfly bandage to my arm. Of course, as punishment for disobeying, first came the red, nasty, stinging stuff. When she had finished with me, she simply sent me upstairs to change my clothes and told me to bring the dress back down with me.

For days she worked trying to get the blood out, and finally, I was able to wear the dress again. In those far off days you didn't throw perfectly good clothes away.

I lived thanks to some miraculous thing built into each of us from the very beginning of life, the will to survive. But now my mother and father and even the giant in the plum tree are gone. I don't forget any of them, and every time I see the 4 inch scar on the inside of my adult right arm, I remember a little girl who might have chosen to bleed to death rather than have her parents mad at her. But, I also remember the loving parents who loved and cared for me in spite of my giant in the plum tree.

To top of page