Our plan was to finish painting the interior of my parent’s house and then drive to San Francisco for the 4th of July weekend. My folks wanted to sell it instead of rent it out. My boyfriend and I were both twenty, and he liked to tease me that I was significantly older than him (two months). It was late and I was working on the stairs and he was starting to clean up. Some of the paint supplies were in a box on the banister, along with a roller, and a portable stereo.
I had mixed emotions, glad that the project was finished, but nostalgic about the years I’d spent in the house. For many years, my room had been upstairs, but my last year in the house I’d commandeered the entire basement, eventually conquering my fears of basements and creaky stairs. I remembered how I’d psyche myself because my brother would often turn off the lights as I was going down the stairs, and the last few stairs were filled with thoughts of “the basement monsters” that would rip me to shreds before my fingers could find the light switch. I’m not talking about a childhood fear – I was eighteen going on three.
As I painted in the middle of the stairs, I could see the light filling the space around the bottom of the stairs. The steps would sometimes creak as I moved from the top to the bottom. I could hear my boyfriend rinsing out brushes upstairs. When I was at the bottom, I turned on the hallway light out of habit, looking both ways. Nothing but an empty house. I looked back at the stairs and saw a small patch I had missed. My boyfriend was passing by the railing, putting things in the garage.
I heard a sound of items hitting each other and then, “Look out!,” but I didn’t duck. I looked up and the portable stereo smashed into my face. The cliché of “seeing stars” applies, although briefly, because after the initial explosion I couldn’t see anything. I heard the portable stereo continue crashing to the bottom of the steps, and I heard my boyfriend yelling “Are you okay?” as he ran down the stairs to me. When I opened my eyes, there wasn’t as much blood as I expected. The look in his eyes told me that yes, it was bad.
We locked the house, drove home, and he cleaned me up. I had a two inch bruise and gash across my forehead, and a smaller, but deeper gash across the bridge of my nose, but no black eyes. Two rounds of Neosporin, three Ibuprofen, a bandage on the upper cut, and one bandana over the bandage… and we were on the road to San Francisco, a first trip of many.
(Originally posted in April 2007)
I was gently reminded that my word is my bond - I had said I'd post Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and I blew off all of last week. I'll shut up now and continue posting.