I once poured gasoline from a can onto an open fire. I was melting plastic soldiers in the backyard, and the little pool of gas I had made was not epic enough. Just like in the movies, the flame raced up the gas and was into the can before I could react. I threw it to the ground and ran, waiting for the explosion. Lucky for me (and my parents house, I was in the backyard, right against the foundation), it never came. After a brief moment of recovery, I slunk back to the can, grabbed the water hose I had left running and extinguished the flame.
I once raced several friends on my ten speed bicycle. After pulling away to a sizable lead, I heard shouting from behind. Glancing back, I saw my two friends screaming at each other as one refused to allow the other to pass. I yelled something to them, most likely telling them to knock it off, then looked forward just in time to see the curb before I collided with it. I went over the handle bars, flying over the drive strip, landing with a scrape and a slide on the sidewalk. My first experience with road rash, I stared at the spot the skin had been stripped clean from my shoulder. The tiny capillaries had yet to spill their bright red blood, but as soon as they started, the pain squeezed tears from my eyes.
I once rode away on that same bicycle from a confrontation with a rather large and muscle bound bully. He had walked from across the street as my friend and I sat on our bikes, pondering if we wanted to ride to the local Dee’s Hamburger joint and get some 25 cent burgers. He walked up to us, fists clenched, having been sent to teach us a lesson by a fine young lady named Bindi (yes, Bindi) Reynolds. Her family and my friend’s family were often at odds. This rather large and muscle bound bully looked from me, to my friend, then back and forth a few times before asking, “Are you Jason?” My friend replied in the affirmative and before he could say another word, took a quick right to the jaw. He was able to leap over his fence and run to his house. Instead of showing solidarity or rushing to the aid of my friend, I hopped on my bike and rode away like the devil himself was after me.
Continuing with the bicycle, I once decided it would be clever to ride cross handed. I picked up some speed, let go of the handlebars, then crossed my right hand over left and placed them back on the bike. Within fifteen feet, the bike swerved, and I couldn’t let go fast enough to right the wobble. Down I went, landing directly on my right elbow, laying the flesh wide open. Mushy and bloody, I wandered home to get aid. I wonder what story I told my mother.
I once spent the night sleeping out at a friends house, just so I could sneak over to my girlfriends house, where she was also sleeping out with a friend. The four of us spent several hours laughing and joking, telling stories and most likely keeping half the neighborhood awake with our noise and silliness. I think I was 13 or 14. I was in love and young and insecure about most everything, especially her. As the night slipped into early morning and everyone started to quiet down, my girlfriend and I zipped our sleeping bags together. I was so nervous, I couldn’t sleep, though I pretended. I often wonder if she did, or if she remembers this at all.
I once ate fish because someone made me.
I once was beaten up at recess by several boys a year older than me while their teacher watched.
I once wrote some of the worst poetry every written.
I once thought stalking was romantic.
I wish that there were other things I had done once, instead of several times, and I wish there were things I had done more than once.
It’s a funny thing, writing memories, walking those places again. It makes me smile.
It makes me miss you.