My teenage years were no more special than most, I suppose. Rebellion and angst flowed through my body, and I acted out by committing middle class neighborhood pranks such as toilet papering yards, leaving flaming brown paper bags full of horse manure of the porches of adults that deserved it, and writing driveway love messages to girls in shaving cream so that they couldn’t be easily washed away with a water hose.
Little did I know that sneaking out of my house at night to commit these acts would almost kill me.
When I started middle school, my parents succumbed to my wishes and let me have my own bedroom down in the unfinished basement of our home. The bedroom had one window that was ground level, and unbeknownst to them, this would be my ticket to freedom. I removed the screen, slid the window back, and crawled out in to the night air each evening to wreck havoc with my friends.
I placed my bed directly under the window so that when I returned I could slide right into the sheets. It seemed to be the perfect scheme, and no one was the wiser. As the days passed, I started to get paranoid that the parents would discover my night time activities, and punish me for eternity. The window was old, and when I opened or closed it, the shrill squeaking it made seemed to be a call to the parents about my misadventures. So I took the window out of it’s frame, resting it against the wall.
One morning after a night out, I woke up feeling groggy, sore, and utterly confused. I had always woke before the sun rose so I would make it to school on time. But today the sun was already shining brightly. I knew I’d slept in, and that Mum was going to rant something terrible when she saw me.
As I walked up the stairs, I saw Mum in the kitchen preparing breaky for my younger siblings. Her back was towards me, but she heard my footsteps, and started the yelling….then she turned around to face me and the yelling turned into a horrified scream.
My face and chest were covered in dried blood. I imagine that I looked like Carrie after the bucket had been dropped on her head. Mum grabbed me, demanding to know what had happened, but I couldn’t answer her. She stopped what she was doing, grabbed her petticoat, and whisked me away to the doctor.
Turned out that my window to freedom was also my near demise. I had forgot to put the window itself back into the frame after returning home the night before. The wind later that night blew the window over, and it fell, the corner of it landing squaring on my right temple, causing a deep gash, then fell on my little body before finally ending upon the side of bed, out of immediate sight.
The doctor gave me over sixty stitches, and told us how lucky I was to survive this ordeal, as the window came precariously close to severing a major nerve, which most likely would have either killed me, or at the very least turned me into a vegetable.
Mum calmed down, grateful I was alive. I promised to not sneak out anymore ( a promise broken later…)
I tell you this story though because it makes me wonder about a person’s purpose here on this earth. What would the world be like if I hadn’t survived this incident?
“It’s a wonderful life” has always been in my top ten of all time favourite movies. I loved the fantasy of wondering what the world would have been like if I hadn’t been born. But as time goes by, and I see the age of the years I’ve lived showing more prevalently in my face, I think to myself about how things would be different if that window had succeeded in ending me.
And for better or for worse, I’m glad that window failed.