Content warning: death of a child
I’m really enjoying the prompts Feve is setting us, which makes me think back on my life, to find that perfect memory to share.
The prompt ‘run’ sparked many obvious memories of running. Like when I was back in school in South Africa, where sports was a big thing and everyone — and I mean everyone in school had to participate in athletics in the beginning of the year, so they could scout for the talented ones. Oh, how I hated running! Thankfully, one year I was excused from the running because I tried out for javelin, and turned out to make the team. I even improved the school record with 1cm. Yes, only one centimeter, but the record was in my name for the next year!
Running also made me think of my university days, where I studied to become a sports teacher, and once again had to… run. It reminded me of how much I hated it, but we had to participate in all sports we might teach in school later.
And then there were my basic training in the army. One week of the four week training was out in the field, where we slept in tents and bathed in a stream. One day we were told to line up, and off we went — running as a platoon. We had to keep in pace, and they made us run on dust roads towards a… pond. No, ‘pond’ is too nice a word for it. It was more like a mud hole. We had to go through it. It was terrible! Not because we got wet, but because there were so many insects on the surface of the water, some much too big to my liking!
But, there was one other memory that sprang to mind…
I was seven years old…
I was born in Vanderbijlpark and we lived there for most of the first ten years of my life. I say most, because three times my parents moved, but came back within a year. One of the places they moved to was a small village centered around a power station. I was seven years old.
The school we went to was in a city nearby, and every day we had to catch the bus to go there. I remember how much I loved it, and also how friendly the bus driver was. I loved going with the bus! The bus drove from the one side of that village to the other, stopping in every street to pick up kids and take them to the primary school. There was something magical going with the bus! Not everyone went by bus, as some parents preferred to take their children to school themselves, and of course picked then up from school too.
Then one day, when I came home from school, my mom told me that the next day I wouldn’t go to school, that she was keeping me home, and I was only to go back to school after the weekend. She had taken off from work too. She held us — my brother and me — close and she seemed shaken up, but we had no idea why.
We didn’t live there for much longer. Soon we moved back to Vanderbijlpark, as it seemed my parents have lost all interest to live in the small community around that power station. It was only years later that my mom told me what had happened that day. Apparently the neighbours’ daughter — she was one of those who was brought to school by her mom, and always home before the children that went by bus — was playing outside on the pavement after school. Her mom heard her scream outside and went out to see why. She found her daughter on the pavement. Dead. A hit and run.
No one knew who had done it, but the tire tracks clearly showed a car drove onto the pavement at high speed. My parents no longer deemed the village as safe for children, and decided to move back to the bigger city, which they had only left months before.
It was only when I was a mom myself, that I could fully grasp the horror of what had happened back then, and fully understood why my mom kept us so close the day that girl died so horribly.
© Rebel’s Notes
Image from Pixabay