During my fourth grade year, I broke my leg on the first day of spring break. It was a perfect day for a bike ride; and although reading was my favorite thing, riding my bike was a close second. I rode my purple bike past the weeping willow tree at the corner, around the curve behind my elementary school, past my piano teacher's house; and then, against my better judgment, I stood up above the seat, pushing the pedals, propelling myself halfway up Morris Hill.
I was not an adventurous girl, preferring to read about adventures; but on that day, I dared myself to ride down Morris Hill. I was afraid...too afraid to start at the top of the hill; but halfway up was still so steep. I climbed off the bike and turned it around by the handlebars, dragging the back tire sideways. I stood beside the bike, convincing myself that the thrill would be worth the threat.
I slung my right leg over the seat, my toes barely touching the pavement. I knew when I lifted my feet, I could not turn back.
I was too scared to count down or even take a deep breath. I just lifted my feet onto the pedals, and I was flying. It was glorious and fast and fun. My hair streamed behind me, my jacket clung to my chest, my eyes were slits against the wind; but I could still see everything whizzing by in a grey green blur of sidewalk and shrubs.
I don't remember my back tire bumping the curb. I don't remember the crash or bumping my head on the low concrete wall; but I do remember opening my eyes to see my right foot tangled in the spokes of the back tire of my ruined bike.
My femur was broken, a terrible break, leaving my thigh nearly as ruined as my bicycle. I would spend 28 days in traction and even longer in a cast. Fortunately, I was a reader; and the weeks passed more quickly than they would have for a more adventurous girl. I read so many books that year that I won the read-a-thon. My prize was a $100 gift certificate to Sears, which I used to buy a new bike.