http://spinmewriteround.blogspot.com/On my friend Margie's blog, Spin Me Write Round, there is a contest to share your absolute worst recess story! The winner gets a gift card to Barnes and Nobel or Amazon. Enter!
As I remember recess in my distant past, it was usually fun and games, but it's appalling how many recess nightmares came to mind too. The injustice of the bitter "yard duties", the cruelty of other children, the injuries . . .
But one particular incident popped into my head because it was both terrible and amazing to me as a child.
In fifth grade I was still very much a tomboy-- even when the other girls were getting silly about boys. Many of my friends were boys and I didn't really have a crush on any of them. And sometimes I thought boys were horrible, like my little brother could be.
There was a boy I was not sure of yet. Chad had big brown eyes, pale skin and dark hair. He was a nice kid. His dad was a cartoonist or something who visited our class once and he drew a characature of me. That's mostly what I remember about him.
We were playing a game with some other kids in the tanbark and he would not stop following me and trying tease me or something--don't really remember. I got more and more annoyed because the other kids were starting to notice. I had to prove I was not in "in a tree K-i-s-s-i-n-g", so I started to run away from him. He chased me. I ran out into the kickball field.
He caught up with me and somehow full on grappling ensued. At some point I lost my temper, I guess....but it was an accident. Chad had a bloody nose. Doh! He held his nose, with blood running between his fingers and down the back of his hand. The first thing I though was--I'm dead. It had been trained into me since kindergarten to be terrified of the establishment. I knew the minute a teacher or other adult saw what I had done that something unspeakable would happen to me.
Dead meat. Goodbye cruel world . . . the whole bit.
Chad ran back toward the playground with me at his heels apologizing. Desperate to keep him from tattling.
Then Mrs. Anderson (aka The Running Hippo--did I mention children are cruel?) came out of nowhere. She was a large woman with an angry face and surly disposition. I swear she hated kids and loved dragging them to the principal's office after publicly humiliating them with lengthy, acerbic diatribes about how their behavior made them a menace to society. We were all lying, sneeky, budding criminals in her eyes.
"What happened!?" She barked when she saw the blood. She stared at me. I was wide eyed and probably ashen with fear.
Chad sniffed and shot me a look.
He had me and I knew it. A word from him and it was the guillitine. He paused and lowered his bloody hand and opened his gory mouth to seal my fate.
"I got a bloody nose. It happens sometimes on hot days," he mumbled.
"Oh, well get to the bathroom and clean it up."
I watched Mrs. Anderson stomp away, like a massive storm cloud passing by to rain elsewhere.
I was stunned. I couldn't believe it! The relief had to be just as acute as the man strapped to an electric chair who recieves a pardon in the nick of time.
Chad smiled at me with blood smeared across his face. I smiled back. Maybe he wasn't so bad. I relaxed and sighed in gratitude. His mercy amazed me. Perhaps boys weren't so horrible.
But being a boy, he spoiled it. He spent the rest of recess chasing me around with his bloody hand and face
trying to touch me, chanting "Helter skelter! Helter skelter!"
Scarred for life.
When the" freeze bell" rang, marking the end of recess I was unspeakably glad to go back to class and certain boredom, but I had decided I had a new friend.