Among my siblings, cousins and friends, I was considered the least shy child, whose refreshing openness and blunt straightforwardness were the building blocks of a perfectly balanced personality of a leader. I presume that the yet underdeveloped ability to reflect upon my thoughts and actions has led to the current and extremely unfortunate lack of vivid memories about my years as a chief of our local redoubtable gang of about six children, whose age ranged between 4 and 6 years. However, when sweet nostalgia takes over my mind and forces my eyes to lose their focus, the unclear images soaring on the winds of my memories evoke the delightful recollections of me being followed by a pack of fidgets on the way to the most exciting places, including the creepy depths of the parents’ garages, the intriguing highs and lows of the local playground and the dark forests of bushes and trees situated in the nearby park, with creatures so haunting, yet exciting that running away from them has become one of the most favorite activities. Although the pleasant flashbacks persuade me that I was doomed to have the lifetime fate of a courageous and venturesome leader, whose fears would be forever concealed from his loyal followers, the dreams of my being a chosen one to lead the humanity to a better life are always shattered to pieces by the extremely vague and faded memories of the times, when my more realistic side disposed me to the small acts of cowardice caused by the threat coming from the older children and the fear of punishment. The one illustrative shameful recollection that induces blush on my cheeks and smiles on the faces of my mother and sister is the one, when I accidentally injured one of the members of my gang on the playground, then ran away and hid in the bathroom of my house persuaded that her much older brother would definitely come after me.
That beautiful summer day the sun was sending its mild rays through a myriad of tiny translucent whispering leaves of the trees to the six of us running, jumping and generally having a childhood kind of fun on the small noisy playground not far from our homes. That day, apparently inspired by the sense of own invincibility, I have made a quick and very important, yet absolutely irresponsible and somewhat goofy decision to take my creativity to the next level and invent a new game of “who-jumps-from-the-tree-the-greatest-number-of-times-in-a-row, hereinafter referred to as the tree-jumping. Here, I need to mention that the unfortunate event that will be described shortly happened mainly due to my incredible childhood superpower to focus on the interesting activities I was engaged in to such extent, when the rest of the world would become blurred to all of my senses. This time, the well-developed pattern of my habitual behavior did not alter under the risky circumstances, as I was confidently making my way to the wide and strong branch about 8 feet above the ground for the fifth time in a row. At that very moment, I have already forgotten about other kids, preoccupied with the incessant pursuit of adrenaline rush that made my heart pleasantly soar with each jump. The victim of my recklessness, a 4-year old girl called Kayla, was playing on the opposite side of the small playground the last time I checked on her, although that last time somehow coincided with my first jump. Having left the sounds of children’s voices and vibrant laughter outside my head and having abandoned my peripheral vision, I braced myself, closed my eyes and landed on the body of the unsuspecting and, thus, even more loudly crying Kayla. The experience in communicating with children has taught me by that time that the loudest the cry was, the more horrible the consequences would be, and this time the lamentations were as loud as a siren of a police car. My clique ceased any activity, now staring at stunned me and thunderous Kayla, in a motionless puzzlement. The next thing I remember was the image of the shifting scenery, as if I was in a car moving with high speed instead of on my two legs running to the safest place in the world – the spot behind the back of my mother, metaphorically and literally speaking.
Of course, my perplexed mother slowly followed me to the bathroom, as I burst into my personal impenetrable castle, which was my home, and headed to the bathroom, with my face being pale as chalk from still hearing Kayla’s raging weeps. The luminous and inviting door of the bathroom, where no monster, or responsibility, would get me, closed just in front of my mother’s gloomy face, as she inquired about what in the world happened to me. My silence was broken by the knock on the door several very long minutes later, as Kayla’s older brother came to demand justice, an eye for an eye. The two very lasts things I remember were me shouting “Don’t tell me I’m here” to my mother, and the deepest and the most overwhelming shame I have ever experienced in my entire life. As my heart sank and the embarrassment set in, I felt that I was becoming a little older, wiser, smarter and more responsible at that very moment, standing behind the closed door, while getting my mother to do the hard work of apologizing and facing the response to my harmful actions. Another couple of minutes later, I opened the door only to walk into the protective figure of my compassionately, yet condescendingly sneering mother, who only nodded her beautiful head and told me that Kayla was perfectly fine, but that my apology was still highly demanded. Then she asked me if I would want some incredibly tasty pancakes and simply went to the kitchen, leaving me in the hallway with two newly established truths: I was an incredible coward and my mother was the best person in the world.