In Mr. Heck's ELA classes students recently finished a memoir project. We asked permission to publish one in the GHG.
We thank Nick L. for his willingness to share this work.
What are Sutures?
It was January, and a frozen chill had swept over the school despite the brilliant sun. I didn’t think we were supposed to be outside, considering the fact that the entire seventh grade was in the gym, due to “freezing temperatures.”
“Alright yo, what do you wanna do?” Charlie asked. This question never had an intelligent answer.
“I don’t know, it’s freakin cold out here.” Nick replied. Of course, none of us had jackets on, being the teenage boys that we were. We strolled across the basketball courts in a chilled silence, wisps of snow swirling around our ankles.
We ended up hovering around the swings, watching Leo punch through blocks of ice as his hands slowly became numb. Suddenly, I had a flash of momentary brilliance. “Let’s see if I can break one with my head!” I jumped up.
“Yeah dude! I’ll throw it up in the air, and then it’ll land on your head.” Leo offered.
“You guys are straight up idiots.” Nick shook his head. He strutted away from his swing with a slight aura of superiority, but he couldn’t help laughing at our stupid idea. The chunk of ice rose up into the air, and I tracked most of its descent, until I knew that I had to face forward and brace for the impact. It hit my head with a brief wave of pain, then split into two. A loud volley of cheers arose from Charlie, Nick, and Leo.
We continued this idiotic activity for around ten minutes, until Charlie noticed something on the field. “Look yo!” He shouted. His arm pointed to a long, skinny strip of ice at the bottom of the hill. We jogged down the snowy slope, already slipping and sliding. Leo reached the ice first, slowing to a stop, cautious of the slippery surface. Nick stepped out onto the ice, creeping towards the far end of the strip. A cold, harsh wind poured into the frozen-over field. The breeze bit at our rosy faces, sending shivers through our bodies.
“Yo check this out,” I said as I waved my friends out of the way, “move for a sec.” I backed up a few paces, then shot forward, catapulting myself onto the ice. I flew across the slick surface, my feet searching for balance. When I found it, my body began to rotate. Oh crap, I thought, as I flailed my arms around like a hopeless bird learning to fly. In a split second, my feet were out from underneath me, and my head smashed against the ice.
Monotonous ringing swirled through my brain as I stood up groggily. A matrix of colored spots danced across my vision while I struggled to find my balance. Leo ran up to me, laughing as hard as he could. I have the best friends, I thought, wouldn’t think for a second to ask if I’m ok because that would be a pointless waste of words right? “Yo dude, you should go see the nurse,” he choked out between jolts of laughter.
“I’m fine.” I quickly retorted as I rubbed my forehead.
“No seriously,” Charlie jumped in, “We’re going inside. Like right now.” I pulled my hand from my forehead. What I found was a blood-soaked arm. The laughing had ceased.
Crimson blood poured out of my head and we walked up the hill and into the school. Leo had my iPod and was taking pictures of my very photo-ready self. The door was unlocked and we strolled across the hallway and into the office. Our pace quickened as we rounded the corner towards the nurse’s office.
“Hello boys,” a female voice said smoothly, “How can I help?” Great, I thought, a substitute nurse.
“Yeah we were out at recess and he popped his head open!” Charlie said with the stupidest smile.
A look of confusion and fear spread across the woman’s face, and we all noticed.
“Well have a seat, and I’ll get you cleaned up.” She said with uncertainty.
I sat in one of the chairs by the far wall, and exhaled. I looked around at all the inspiring health posters and smirked. The nurse hustled back over to where my friends were standing over me and whipped out a bottle of who-knows-what. She sprayed it into my injury and then proceeded to bandage it up.
“That should do, until the doctor takes a look at it.” She said with a look of satisfaction as she marveled at her work.
“Doctor?” Charlie said quizzically.
“Oh yes honey, this one needs sutures.” She nodded.
“What are sutures?” Leo asked. The nurse looked at us as if we were incompetent third graders.
“Stitches.” She said, frustrated with our apparent lack of knowledge.
Crap, is it really that bad?
“Your mother will be here soon.” She said curtly, then left us and walked into her office. Charlie, Nick, and Leo sat down in the other chairs and stared at me, making poor attempts to hide smiles.
“Dude, we’re idiots. Like for real now,” Leo sighed.
“It’s chill, it was my bright idea,” I reassured him. The class bell rang and they all stood up in unison. Leo tossed me my iPod and pointed to it.
“We gotta go to class, check the footage.” He turned and left with Charlie and Nick in tow. I leaned back and smiled to myself, then closed my eyes.
Twenty minutes later, I was in a hospital bed with three shots of Novocain in my head, and fourteen stitches above my eye. I was an absolute mess. Dried blood covered my face, and the stitches had swelled to the size of an egg on my face. I looked down at my iPod. Apparently my friends hadn’t kept their mouths shut, because a few texts showed up from other kids who had heard about my crash landing. Maybe they aren’t so bad after all.