Sometime back before fourth grade, when I’d been given permission to take short trips out of our family apartment in Manhattan, but before I could walk to school by myself, my mom gave me permission to go and play in the playground behind our building. I had some pocket money saved up, though, and there was a toy store across the street from us and down a block. This is on east 14th street in New York City — then, as now, not a hugely safe place for a little blond kid on his own.
In any case, I decided — rather than going to the playground — to go to the toystore. I don’t know what I was thinking. Maybe I wasn’t. In any case, I decided to run across the street to get my toy. There was a little access road between my building and the main street and it was lined with parking spots (you can see the access road in this Google map). Rather than go down to the corner and cross there, I did what I always did — jaywalked at speed between two parked cars.
That’s when the car hit me.
It probably flung me about 25 feet. It wasn’t going very fast. I wasn’t killed; I didn’t even have a scratch.
The driver stopped instantly. He got out of his car, and said, “my god, kid! Are you ok?”
The driver was very frightening to me. I said, “I’m not supposed to talk to strangers.” And I ran away. I ran all the way to the toy store, bought whatever thing it was that I wanted, and came home by a slightly different route. The man was gone. Thank goodness.
Mom said to me, “you’re late. What were you doing?” I told her I’d been hit by a car, and flung about 25 feet, and she told me that was a wonderful story, but obviously not true, since I was physically fine, and completely uninjured without a scratch on me, and so calm about it too. She asked why I hadn’t talked to the driver, and I said, “he was a stranger and scary, and I ran away. Of course. That’s what you’ve told me I should do.”
Mom and I have talked about this incident a couple of times, and she’s certain that a) it didn’t happen, or at least b) it didn’t happen the way I remember it. She may be right. The stranger who hit me with his car was never available to explain things to me, and I’ve been unavailable.
This morning, I woke with a start to a pain in my hip, at about 4:00 am, and a very clear memory of this car injury — which a professional physical therapist confirmed was real but difficult to reach about four years ago. Whether the event happened or not is immaterial. The pain was there, and the memory of how it happened.
I did some chi kung and some reiki, and the pain passed. Sort of. It’s still there, nagging at my hip, saying, “I’m here. You remember why. Do the work to fix me.”
So I’ve begun doing the work to fix it. To fix me. So it begins.