Her laughter broke the silence. It was loud, obnoxious, funny. I stood there staring at her in shock. I tried not to laugh, but her laughter is contagious. Panic swept over me, but the humor of the situation was present as well.
“It’s broken.” She said between giggles. She was looking at me with giant crocodile tears in her eyes. It was strange that she could laugh so hard, yet I could see the hurt she was experiencing also.
“How do you know?” I asked, nervously, wondering if it really was broken would we get into trouble.
“I just know.” She said as she was lying on the ground staring at the sky. I could tell she didn’t want to move.
Moments later the ranger was running toward us vehemently. I bit my lip anxiously, not wanting to participate in this transaction. My mom was going to be heated and I wasn’t looking forward to her finding out. Silently, I wished my friend would just get up and move on with her life. Somehow, she couldn’t.
“Oh, my lands, honey, are you okay?” The ranger was standing over my friend. She had a fern or weed sticking out between her clenched teeth. My mind wondered to what on earth would make her put something like that in her mouth. Did they taste good? I thought about bird poop and bugs. Any consideration of me trying to put a weed in my mouth disappeared.
“Oh yeah I’m fine.” My friend answered, laughing. I knew she was lying, but I wanted so badly to believe her.
“Are you sure, doll? That was some incident. What on earth were you doing?” The ranger asked accusingly. My friend, still laying on the ground, cracked a huge smile and shrugged. The reality was, she has quirks about her. She’s a strange one. While sitting on the teeter totter she didn’t like being up next to the other teeter totter which was up. She tried to solve the problem by pushing the one next to her down. My friend is also slightly absent-minded- maybe a little dumb. It never dawned on her that while she was up on a teeter totter that pushing the one next to her down, would cause her to go down with it. She got a really great lesson on gravity that morning.
“I’m great!” She said. She glanced over to me silently screaming, telling me to get rid of the ranger because there was no way she was going to get up off the ground with that lady watching her. I shrugged, nervously. My friend started to laugh some more. I could hear this time that it was forced. I felt for her, really, but I didn’t know what I could do. The ranger stood there. I stood there. My friend was laying on the ground. We were both watching her expectantly. It didn’t appear that the ranger was getting ready to move any time soon. My friend closed her eyes slowly for a moment, and laughing, so pulled herself off the ground.
Content, seeing that she was up, the ranger told us to be careful and walked away. My friend looked at me and I could see her color vanishing.
“It’s broken.” She said again. This time I believed her. We slowly walked to our campsite. My mom was making hobo pies. My dad was smoking a cigarette chatting with some guys. We swore not to make too much of a deal out of it.
“What’s going on?” My mom asked. I played it cool.
“She fell off the teeter totter and hurt her back.” I shrugged. My friend shrugged. My mom told her to sit down. My friend looked at me in horror. She shook her head. My mom made her. My friend grimaced, but obeyed. Pain seared through her body. She tried to get up every five minutes or so. Apparently sitting hurt. My mom told her not to move from the chair. We had two days left of the trip and she made it, with hardly any complaints, as a true friend would do.
When she got home she told her mom that she hurt herself really bad. Her mom wondered why they didn’t bring her to the hospital. My friend said that she didn’t want to ruin the trip, so she didn’t really tell them what happened too much. The hospital confirmed that the bone was broken.
That is a time in my life I will never forget. The day my friend broke her tailbone and faked her way through the camping trip, so we didn’t get in trouble. Oh and how my mom made her sit while she was drunk with pain. I laugh fondly at the ignorance of my childhood self.