I remember it like it was yesterday as I sat on my back patio, watching two young squirrels playing on the hill, just over the sidewalk in front of me. My older brother and I were left alone, while my mother and father went to work, and my other four brothers were at school. I don’t remember why we were left at home, but I do remember my grandfather lived with us, yet on this day, he was not there and I can’t recall why. I am guessing that my brother was nine and I, was seven years of age.
My brother was always doing something that was eventually going to get us or him-self into trouble. Whether, we were being chased, out of our neighbor’s apple, plum and peach trees, or me following after my brother up a mountain, and not having the skill or knowledge, on how to run down that mountain without falling into the rushing stream below. This summer day would prove that it was not going to be any different.
We were sitting on the living room floor, playing the card game War. Everyone knows this game can go on forever to the point you get bored playing it. “Come on Clover, I want to show you something.” Marcus heads towards the kitchen and into the pantry. Marcus jumps onto the first shelf, then steps- up to the second. He reaches up, taking down a silver canister. Our dad would always get the silver can down from the shelf when something needed fixing, like the screen door, sink’s faucet, or our bikes and roller skates. I remembered it contained things, which could fix them: nails, screws, washers and bolts.
Now down from the shelf with the canister in hand. Marcus goes to the kitchen table and pours out its contents onto the kitchen table. He picks up this pointed thing with a round back, then another one. He gathers up the rest of the contents and puts them back into the canister, putting that back onto the shelf where he got it from. I have to tell you, I was as clueless as they come. The next thing Marcus gets is a hammer that is hanging on the pantry wall. “Come on Clover let’s go pop some bullets.” Okay. I follow Marcus out to our backyard onto the back stairs. “Clover, get behind me.” So I get behind Marcus, sitting on my knees waiting to see what happens. Marcus begins hitting at the first bullet with the hammer. Bam, Bam, POW. The first bullet explodes we can hear it whiz past our ears.
Now it is fun. “Let’s do the other one.” Marcus goes into his pocket; I’m kneeling now to the left of him. Bam, bam, bam…Ouch!!! I feel this burning sensation in my leg and start to cry. Marcus’ mouth is open and he is scared. Aaahhh, aaahhh! Call momma, call momma! The blood is running down my leg into my pink anklet sock, turning the white lace red. “No, I’ll get in trouble come on Clover lay down on momma’s bed. Aaaa it hurt’s. “Tell momma you fell on a piece of glass, okay.”
As I laid there bleeding on momma’s white Channel bed spread with puffy swirls of designs throughout. I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I heard was my mother screaming at my brother. “What did you do?” Momma Marcus was playing with bullets and it went in my leg. My mother called my dad at work and told my grandmother that lived next door what happened, and asked her to watch Marcus, while she rushed me to the hospital. I don’t remember much after that, except I did not stay in the hospital, and was soon home being pampered like a little princess. My dad brought me ice cream and held me in his arms. I got a Jester’s doll to play with and my brother. Well, he got to play run around in circles, while my dad’s belt landed on his butt.
Later that night Marcus came to my room. “Clover, I will never do that again, I was scared.” Me too, did you see the bullet? The doctor gave it to momma for a souvenir. “No, I never want to see another bullet again. Does your leg hurt?” Yea it’s sore, “let’s see.” I showed Marcus the bandage. “I’m sorry Clover.” I know Marcus.
However, exciting an innocent these events may have been through a child’s eye. It could have turned out where I, would not be writing about them today. Instead a story of the past could have been told, as a tragic memory where a child had lost their life to foolish ignorance, mistaken as play.
I have a constant reminder of that occurrence that day. An almost invisible scar located on the inside of my right leg above the knee. How grateful I am to be six decades older and wiser, able to tell one of my life’s events.
*Children are curiously adventurous. They do not always know the consequences of their actions. Keep your homes safe from harmful things, out of reach of agile climbers, small eyes and little hands.