greenstick fracture

(c) Kat McDonald

4 years old


sunday 13th april was my birthday and i decided to go visit my elderly mother across town. she promised me birthday cake.

the sun was offering to shine when i set off. i hope he keeps his promise of the gift of sunshine.

the 13.48 #39A arrived on time – another gift? Sunday service is normally unabashedly sporadic, at best.

i boarded the bus and paid £3.30 for a Glenrothes Day Rider as i was taking three trips across town. it was my birthday, and i was working. no lazy Sunday for me. not even on my birthday.

with a bag full of dirty laundry, not for the purpose of airing in public, i went to visit my mother. i won’t bore you with the mundane details of my current living arrangements. this day was just another day.

i gazed out the window and remembered my 4th birthday – the one when i broke my arm.

i remember how my (late) father made me a rocking horse. i called it ‘Dobbin’. my friend Linda and i were taking turns – pushing each other on the trusty steed. our imaginations ran wild. we pretended we were riding a wild stallion. i remembered being thrown headfirst from the bareback of that stallion and breaking my arm.

i remember hearing the crack.

“greenstick fracture” the hospital said “six weeks to heal”, as i remembered being discharged with my skinny arm bound tight in a sticky bandage from wrist to armpit.

‘children don’t “play” like this anymore’ i thought to myself. ‘but there will be no “play” for me today.’

it was my birthday, but it was laundry day, it was a work day.

there was no birthday cake – but there was a fine curry.

it was my birthday, but the bus arrived on time and the sun did shine.

(c) Kat McDonald

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