Tuesday, September 16, 2003

When I was 7 and my sister Bea was five, we spent a lot of our time in our courtyard. We played in big steel drums, climbed the Jambula tree, peered over the walls into other courtyards, and ate fruit from the fig, guava, jambula, and pomegranate trees. It was the pomegranate tree that caused us the most trouble; it was not a climbable tree because the branches broke so easily but the lowest fruiting branches were higher than our reach.

One quiet day we spotted a prize pomegranate. It was large and fully red with a blush of purple and the skin was starting to thin. It was, of course, too high for me to reach, too high for Bea to reach even when I lifted her up, and too high when we stood on a bench we dragged over. I boosted Bea to the lower branches on the trunk but the beautiful pomegranate was towards the end of the branch.

We were focused, nothing could stop us from getting and eating that pomegranate! The bench was very heavy and we had only gotten the end of it to just under the prize. Bea and I started searching for items to place on the bench so that we could reach higher. We added a wooden chair, some books from the library, and then Bea brought over a cinderblock. She placed it on top of the books and the bench turned into a seesaw. It seemed like slow motion; all the items slid toward the end of the bench. Bea and I struggled to hold the bench and chair up. The cinderblock, the cinderblock slid down and fell about 2 feet onto Bea's big toe. Things weren't slow any more they were frantic. The drive to hospital with Bea screaming and blood sucking into our dresses and clotting in between our toes was a squealing whiplash ride. My Mother wanted to hold and comfort Bea but she was the only driver in the house.

Bea had a cast from toes to hip for 6 weeks. I was older and should have known better; I had to pull her in a little red wagon to nursery school every morning.

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