My Life As A Horror Story: The Table

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that of my earliest and most vivid memories is a horrific one. Who knows? Maybe it’s the reason why I don’t get too grossed out with all the blood and guts in horror movies and stories.

I was 4 years old at the time, and my sister was only a few months old. We had one of the girls from next door over for a playdate. She was 7, but her name was also Stephanie, and that made me like her that much more.

When it was time for mom to put my baby sister to bed, nursing her beforehand, she figured I’d be safe under the supervision of the 7 year old for a few minutes. Normally, I would have been. Normally, I didn’t climb furniture.

That table was the first and last piece of furniture I ever climbed as a child. It was a modern looking coffee table with a black metal base and a glass top. It made the perfect stage. I was putting on some sort of performance for the older Stephanie, and I remember climbing up on top of that table and staring down at her as she watched me with a smile on her face.

The next thing I remember, I’m on the floor. There’s glass and magazines lying around me. Next thing after that, mom’s downstairs shoving a rolled blanket under my leg, telling me to lie down and keep my leg elevated. She tells me I’m going to ride in an ambulance, and for some reason my brain conjures up an image of a Ferris wheel on a boat. To this day, I still don’t know why.

At some point during that time, Stephanie ran to get her dad to help, but I barely remember his presence that day. He and Stephanie stayed behind to clean up the glass and the blood when I went to the hospital.

The firefighters were the first to arrive and they gave me my favourite Mickey Mouse doll to hold, the one Nana made for me, while they cut off my tights. They were white with pink hearts, and I never got over losing them. But the firefighters had to cut them away. There was already a tear in the left leg and they were covered in blood.

By the time the ambulance arrived, so had my dad. Mom passed my baby sister off to him and hopped in the ambulance with me. I only remember one thing about that ride. I was strapped down on a gurney, looking up at the shelves above me. Their contents – various bits of medicine and medical equipment, I imagine – shook as the ambulance tore through the streets on the way to the hospital. I was terrified the cabinets were going to burst open and that the contents would tumble down onto me. I think that’s the only time I remember being scared during that whole ordeal.

From there, most of my memory is blank. Mom has since told me the story of how I wasn’t properly anesthetized. How she screamed at the doctors: “She can feel it!” How they told her it was fine until a nurse came in and asked to know the amount of whatever it was they had given me. She confirmed that it was not enough and the doctors gave me the correct dosage. Up until that point, apparently I had been screaming. But once I could no longer feel what they were doing, I passed out from exhaustion.

I don’t actually remember that part.

What I do remember is when the doctor first saw my leg. He peeled back the bandage the firefighters had given me to inspect the damage. Later, they told my mom I was lucky I didn’t slice an artery. And I believe them. I was lucky. Because I remember what my leg looked like when the doctor pulled the bandage away. I remember what the inside of my leg looked like.

The human body sure has a lot of layers.

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