Today’s memoir blog post was inspired by an art exhibition I went to last night. The exhibit was called ‘Playground of my mind’ by Julia Jacquette. Her graphic novel, which she has gorgeously illustrated, is all about playgrounds.
The gallery sits on a few acres of land in the country. On this beautiful acreage, the curator asked local artists to expand on the playground idea. This lead to various playground inspired sculptures being scattered around the acreage.
One of these was called ‘monkey bars’. As we passed the sculpture, I offhandedly remarked that the first time I punched someone was at a monkey bars. A friend turned to me and said, “Now, I want to hear how many times you’ve punched someone.” Huh. Is it that weird the answer is more than once?
Today’s blog post is all about the first time I punched someone.
Until I was nine, we lived in a house across the street from an elementary school. It sucked never having an excuse for being late to school, but the playground made up for that – big time. The school’s playground was heaven for a small child. There was a merry-go-round, teeter-tooters, metal slides, monkey bars, jungle gym, chin-up bars … the list goes on and on.
Weather permitting (and sometimes not permitting), you could find me on the playground. Unless, of course, I was climbing trees, hiding in the grass of the neighbor’s house (who the neighbor children were convinced was some type of ghost), or starting fires (that’s another story). Saying I was a tomboy is an understatement of epic proportions. It didn’t matter that my mother didn’t dress me in clothes conducive to playing on a playground. Nope. Not at all.
One day when I was five or six, I was on the playground as usual. I was climbing around the jungle gym when some boy decided it would be funny to push me. Stuff like that happened all the time. This time, however, I fell off the monkey bars and hit the chin-up bar with my teeth. It didn’t hurt a little. It hurt a lot. In fact, I still have a nick on my molar where I hit the bar.
After I burst into tears, I turned to the boy who had pushed me and bam! I slammed my fist into his nose. Blood spurt out of his nose and he burst into tears as he ran home to tell his mommy on me. I ran home as well. Not to tell my mom about the stupid boy, but because I was crying and I didn’t want anyone to see.
Of course, the mother of the boy came rushing to my house to yell at my mom. But by then, my mom had discovered me and my bloody mouth. I think we both ended up having to apologize to each other but that was essentially the end of the matter.
And that’s how I threw my first punch at the age of five (or six?) on the playground.
In case you’re wondering, I’ve punched a few more people in my life. How many? *Shrugs* Stay tuned and maybe I’ll tell you.