Growing up, I had heard that, as a child, you should have a scar that you grow up with to remind you of your childhood. Back in the day, riding a bicycle was a very big deal and the perception was once you start learning how to ride a bicycle, you are sought of expected to get a memorable wound. Funny enough, until you fall off from the bicycle and sustain an injury, you cannot be known as a pro. When I
decided to learn how to ride a bicycle, I told myself that I was going to defeat that perception, I will learn how to ride a bicycle without sustaining any injuries. We did not have a good bicycle at home, the only bicycle was one masculine one that belonged to my father and you dare not touch it no matter what. I relied heavily on the bicycles that visitors brought to the house. Anytime a visitor comes around, they will park their bicycle outside, I would wait patiently till they get involved in a deep conversation with my parents, then I would sneak out and push the bicycle away from the house and use it for my practice. I always made sure to return the bicycle, put it back carefully and get back into the house as if nothing has happened.
My cup got full one day, I was enjoying the ride so much that I forgot it was a ‘stolen’ bicycle, when it
finally dawned on me that the bicycle owner and my parents may be looking for the bicycle, I was in a rush to return it. But then again, I had seen a style of riding a bicycle my friends did in school so I wanted to practice it; taking both hands off the steer and controlling the bicycle with just the feet. Unfortunately for me, luck was not on my side that day. I run into a very narrow gutter, the front tyre of the bicycle entered the gutter while the back tyre was outside. The bicycle assumed a seesaw position and I was thrown to the front hitting my right leg on the gutter. I sustained some injuries and the front of the bicycle got damage! I did not know how to return home. I tried to straighten the front wheel, and with my injured leg, I pushed the bicycle to the house. What a day it was!!
As I got closer to the house, my prayer was that no one would see me so that I could go and pack the bicycle quietly and run away, but luck escaped me once again as my parents and the visitor were standing outside wondering where the bicycle had gone. They all sighed with relief when they saw me pushing the bicycle to the house. Deep down I knew my parents wouldn’t spare me. The visitor looked
calm but my parents looked very angry though they tried to conceal it. They started complaining about how they have told me time without number to always ask for permission before taking items that do not belong to me. ‘BERTHY, see what you’ve done to the bicycle’, they said. The visitor told them not to worry about the bicycle and asked them not to reprimand or scold me. She went on to give them a talk about how I am a child and how children are adventurous and love to explore. My parents were trying to be nice and responding nicely but I could tell that I will still get the beating as soon as she leaves. I just stood there, scared to even imagine what was going to happen to me. I had already sustained an injury on my right knee and to imagine what was coming my way scared the hell out of me.
My dad straightened the front wheel of the bicycle for the visitor, did a test riding and it was fine, the
visitor told me that if they do anything to me after she leaves, I should tell her when she comes around again and I nodded because I had even lost my voice. My parents assured her that they wouldn’t even raise a finger at me. She left and everything was normal, my parents didn’t say anything and I said a silent prayer of thanksgiving. The rest of the day was uneventful till evening, my mother asked me to go and bathe so that she could dress the wound. I bathed, ate, and brought hot water and a towel for cleaning the wound. After cleaning and dressing the wound, she asked me to go and sleep. I went into the room and tucked myself nicely on the mat I sleep on at night. I was almost dozing off when I felt something sharp sting my body! Before I could open my eyes, there was another sting, and this one was accompanied by a voice, ‘will you take someone’s bicycle without permission again?’ I was fully awake now and made my way for the door but it was locked already. And there were my parents, my dad holding his belt and my mum, a cable, all hope was lost for me. I just decided to run around the room with my mum chasing after me, my dad just stood at one place and used the belt on me anytime I run in his direction. When they were satisfied that I had had enough, they asked me to keep quiet and sleep, if they hear me make any sound, I would be beaten again. I don’t remember what happened after, I slept in my pain. So yes, I finally got a bicycle wound but it didn’t leave any scar on me as was the perception, and I learnt how to ride a bicycle as wheel. I don’t get surprised anytime people ask if this big scar I have on my left leg is from learning how to ride a bicycle, today I want to share how I got the big scar.
I was in primary 3 when that big scar incident happened, I was 8 years old at the time. It was a daily routine at school for us kids to stand on the veranda, in front of the classroom, and have a conversation, more like gossip (haha) for a minute or two after our silent hour and before attending the morning’s assembly. Right after catching up with each other, we would jump across a certain gutter onto the ground and then take to our heels, more like a race to where we usually had the morning’s assembly. Unfortunately for me, things did span out for me on this said day. I was standing on the veranda, one of my classmates (name withheld even though I vividly recall her name) pushed me hard. Her intention was for me to jump over the gutter because she figured I had long legs haha, which I certainly didn’t. I did fall terribly on the hard floor. Imagine this my soft body on that floor. Sad. Unfortunately, I hit my left leg on the sharp edge of the gutter. Wound sustained, eye clear, crying mood activated. Big girls do cry, you know but I did cry. My cry drew the attention of the teachers and other students around.
My teachers gave me first aid, and I was sent home. The only reason my parents did not beat me that day was because of the severity of the wound, if not I would have received a sound beating that day. Oh yes, my parents will beat you in a situation like that. (I remember when I was in Primary 1, I was
playing with some friends during breaktime and one mistakenly hit my eye with a stone, my teachers took me home that day and after they left, I was beaten. My crime was that I was taken to school to learn, not to go and play.) My parents had to nurse the wound, they would cover it with plaster after cleaning it. Unfortunately, I was reacting to the plaster causing small sores to develop around the big sore. They had to stop using the plaster and tie gauze around it rather. It took about three months for the wound to completely heal, but the scar has been with me to date.
Anytime I tell people about how I got the scar, they are quick to conclude that I have not forgiven the lady who pushed me that day. I have forgiven her, I am no longer bitter about the whole experience but I still remember the incident maybe because I still have the scare. I mean why would I be worrying about something that happened about 20 years ago (Yeah, I’m that grown)? Maybe I have not forgotten, I don’t think I ever will but that’s because the scar is still shouting though I am sure the lady who pushed me may have long forgotten. I hope you all will stop asking how I got that scar on my leg, and for those who thought it was from riding a bicycle, I hope you have satisfied your curiosity now. CHEERS!!!