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Raeann Drew, "Knocked Off My Feet"

Bill was a good friend. One day, as all curious preteen good friends of the opposite sex do, we decided to take our friendship to the next level: we were going to make out. I don’t remember the reason why we decided to complete such a mature part of our lives that particular day; it was broad daylight on a summer afternoon and Bill’s mom, a school employee who was off during summer, was lurking somewhere in the vicinity. Thus we decided we had to keep this tonsil hockey session discreet. We snuck around the back of Bill’s dad’s tool shed: it was perfect.

We got ready. I licked my lips, took a deep breath; not only was I about to taste whatever Bill had for lunch, but I would also get a taste of what it was like to be a woman, or at least a teenager, which every 11 year old girl desperately longs for. This was it.

Bill leaned in, and I took a slight step backward and just as the magic started happening I lost my balance and stepped backward right into a ditch. The moment was over. Our hearts stopped fluttering, birds stopped singing, sweet music stopped playing and the ambient noise of cars and the hum of lawn mowers came back, along with our we’ve-never-done-this-before nervousness. Bill helped me out of the ditch and we decided to go play videogames instead – maybe we’d give adulthood a try later.

As we were walking across the yard, my foot felt a little sticky. I took a glance down and realized my entire foot and the grass surrounding it was covered in blood, and there was a fresh supply spurting from a gaping wound in my left ankle. Bill raced off to find his mom and I hobbled up the sun-faded wooden stairs, sat down, and waited patiently on the deck. His mom came dashing out of the house, wide-eyed and frantic with a cordless phone in one and a dishtowel in the other.

Her face was paler the tan line where my socks should've been (a combination of socks and shoes could've probably prevented this mess in the first place). She dropped the phone twice as she fumbled to dial my mom and shoved the towel on the gash; as it soaked with blood she would peep under it to see the carnage, mumble some kind of frantic "oh dear" concerned mother type of mumble, and ask me how I was feeling. Perhaps I was still reeling from my recent brush with adulthood, but I wasn’t feeling much of anything. All I kept saying was, "wow, it's so cool, look you can see bone!" Every time I said it, her face turned from white to green and back again.

My mom's car flew into the driveway and she charged up the stairs. A nurse for a million years, she automatically went into nurse mode. It was determined that I needed stitches, stat! We called our family doctor and were instructed to go to a hospital that we had never been to before, in area we knew nothing about. My leg continued to saturate towel after towel as we turned around, backed up, and made U-turns around the unfamiliar town. Once we found the hospital, a disenchanted receptionist casually glanced at the cascade of blood erupting from my ankle, told us to take a seat and handed us a box of tissues to dam the bleeding. After we finished the first box, we were given a second one and told to wait patiently; apparently nobody saw this as an emergency.

I got seven stitches, which completely impressed my fifth grade friends. When they asked what happened, I just said I fell in a ditch –- no need for details. I may not have become a woman that sultry summer day, but I became "the girl with stitches, cooool!" and that was good enough for me.

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