Growing in the Rocky Mountain state of Montana, I was accustomed to harsh winters that included the dangers of black ice. Barely visible at best, it attacked when one least expected. I had heard tales of fatal car accidents and broken bones due to black ice covering the road or creating patches on sidewalks. Never in my short, little life had I thought it would be on playground equipment.
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During the second grade, hide-and-go-seek tag was a common activity children played at recess at Paxson Elementary School. The playground was enormous and had many different nooks and crannies to hide in - my personal favorite was lying flat in the sandbox, hidden from anyone looking at it from a distance. On one dreary February day, we second graders all rushed to our central meeting point between the two play structures. Our system for choosing who was "it" first was most complex; the nine or ten of us all placed our right foot in the middle of small circle. Then, someone had the honors of doing "eeny, meenie, miney, mo." That morning I was the first of us who did not have to be it. You see, instead of trying for efficiency, we did "eeny meenie miney mo" until there was only a single person standing. That person was then "it."
Basking in my glory of not having to do the thankless job of being "it," I left the circle and dashed to the starting point. Paxson at this point still had its older, non-plastic playground. The particular piece of equipment I was playing on is hard to describe. Four tall wood posts created a rectangular shape, and metal chains ran from one end to another right above the ground and towards the top of the posts. The point of it was to run across the chains to the other side, and the chains above were something to hold onto for balance. While I was waiting for my fellow seven and eight year olds to join me, I started playing on. Back and forth across I went, smoothly without a problem.
I then stepped onto a different chain to spice things up - I get bored with same old same old fast. The next thing I know is that my left foot did not expect the chain to be slippery. From what I recall, I fell back slowly. It turned out that I was at the perfect distance from one of the wooden posts to hit my head. And, hit my head I did. According to my classmates, I hit my head on the post and then smacked it on the icey ground when I fell. In the twenty seconds I had lost consciousness, my old first grade teacher Mrs. Lofthouse who had been on recess duty had been summoned, and I woke up to her and five of my friends standing over me. The boy I had a crush on was most relieved and was the first to ask if I was okay. At that moment, I could not fully comprehend what he was saying. I could not process sound.
Mrs. Lofthouse picked me up and carried me inside. I was taken to the tiny nurses office behind the front desk, and the next thing I knew my mother was there along with the chief of the fire department from down the street. An oxygen mask was on my face because the blue gatorade I had earlier that day had stained the pale skin around my lips, and they thought I had stopped breathing for the short time I was unconscious. The paramedic arrived just in time for the fire chief to tell my mom and me that I had a mild concussion, all thanks to a little black ice in an unusual place.