I broke my arm in kindergarten. My brothers, some neighborhood kids and I were playing tag in the dark in my brothers’ room. I happened to be jumping on the bed when my mother opened the door and turned the light on. I was afraid that I was going to get in trouble so I frantically jumped off the bed, hitting the closet with my left arm and then falling to the floor. My whole arm went numb, and I cried because it felt weird, not because it hurt.

My parents put me on their bed and asked why I was crying. My arm looked fine, but I couldn’t move it and I didn’t know the words to explain what it felt like. My mom took me to the hospital with Miranda, a girl a few years older than me. I’m not sure how we decided this would be the case. I fell asleep on the way to the hospital and quite honestly don’t remember anything. My mom says I was awake the whole time they were putting the cast on, but that completely blanks my mind.

I do remember afterward, picking out a sling with dinosaurs on it to hold the cast in. I looked ridiculous, a tiny little girl with this huge white appendage covering almost her whole arm. The next day I had to miss school, which was really tragic because my class was going to go on a picnic. I cried the whole day.

When I got it taken off, I remember the doctor saying it was going to tickle, and as he started this horrifically loud saw I knew he was lying. Probably he was just saying it to trick me, to make myself think I was going to laugh. When he started though, it actually did tickle. I wanted to laugh out loud, but I was afraid I was going to make him mess up, so instead of allowing any giggles I nearly wet myself trying to keep any breath from escaping. It was torture.

It also happened to be Halloween. That night my arm was still stuck in a really formal L shape across my stomach, as it had been every day for the past two months. My friend Sherre’e held my candy bucket and every house we went to made the joke that my stomach hurt because I had already eaten too much candy. I smiled politely but inside I was thinking how idiotic these people were. It bothered me that they were so wrong but I made no attempt to correct them.

To this day my arm bends about 30 degrees in the wrong direction. Pretty good party trick, I guess.


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