The Intersection of Risk and Joy

For my virtual blog tour, I was asked to write short essays from the character’s points of view. Both asked about their childhood–one was to be written from the child’s point of view. I chose Toby and a moving day in his early adolescence.

At the end of my tour, I was asked to write a favorite childhood memory, and Emmett got the floor. Here is that post, and a link to Molly Lolly, the lovely host that day–and her beautiful review.

One would assume my favorite childhood memories were born in the local and school theater. From my first role at Xavier Area Community Theater in the children’s chorus for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat until my final rehearsal in Godspell before the accident turned my plans upside down, I experienced many memories that are permanently etched into my heart.

Grand piano at the main hall stage in the Konzerthaus Berlin, Germany

It’s no secret that the stage was my second home—a home where I could both be myself by practicing an art that I loved, but could also put on the armor of someone else and shed the idea that maybe I wasn’t good enough. My character was. And if he wasn’t, he would be by the end of the show.

But, where I felt most alive and without the need for someone else’s persona to cover my own, began immediately after rehearsals. More often than not when I got home, Scotty would be waiting for me. His timing earned free meals, and afterwards we would tear out of the house and go. He always had some form of transportation with him: a bike, skateboard, skates, a scooter. One winter, he showed up on cross country skis. I never did find out where he found them. Anyway, we would casually leave my house, and once out of Mom’s eye-shot, I would attach myself to him—sit on his handlebars, hang onto a rope tied around his waist.

riding_doubleWith one push off, we would careen down the slope of my street into the forty-five degree turn of the southern third of it, faster and faster, whooping and hollering like the lunatics we were until the only way to stop at the upcoming neighborhood intersection was to abandon ship. I let go, he jumped off, and his “vehicle” would sail into the intersection.

We were too stupid to consider the damage a flying skateboard might cause to an oncoming car. Too stupid to worry about breaking a limb of our own. Too stupid to plan ahead and slow ourselves down during that turn to avoid the potential catastrophe that awaited us.

And yet, catastrophe never happened. He never lost a skateboard. Never lost a scooter—well, not that way anyway. He did lose one when he backed over it the first time he tried pulling out of his driveway in his dad’s car. He never lost a bike, and we never got injured outside of scraped knees and elbows.

Until we did. Until the day we rode through an intersection and lost everything. You’d think that would have soured my memories of our wheeled adventures. Instead, I recall screaming down the hill, him shouting directions so we wouldn’t crash on the turn, tumbling until we sat upright after jumping ship. And the best part, I remember his laughter and his ridiculous face that said, without a word, “Awesome! Let’s do it again.”

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