I have a small scar on my chin that was made when I was four years old while I was playing in the playground with my friends.
In Japan, there is a thing called a basket swing, which is a swing with two facing seats hung from a metal frame and is a very popular playground equipment. You can find one in almost every residential playground, and the community playground where I used to play daily throughout my young childhood had a particularly nice and sturdy basket swing.
My two best friends and I loved playing on this swing. Usually, two of us would stand on the opposite ends of the swing and push the basket hard while the other one sat in the basket. The goal of the two persons outside of the basket was to swing this basket as fast as possible and the person inside had to do her best to keep her balance. It was quite an aggressive game, but we all loved the thrill of it.
One sunny day, the three of us were playing on the swing as usual. I was one of the pushers, and each time the basket swung to my side, I tackled the basket with all my body to create the momentum. The basket started to swing higher, and I started to push even more.
Suddenly, I heard something behind me and I turned back. Some of our mothers were chatting nearby, and they could have said something that drew my attention. Whatever it was, in that moment, my focus was completely on that thing, and I forgot about the swing altogether. Then my friend called my name. I turned back to answer. And – Bang! The heavy metal basket swung back to me and I was hit hard on my face, more specifically, on my chin.
For a moment, I didn’t know what had happened. But when I realized that I was hit by the basket, I started to cry. The mothers who were standing nearby heard my cry and immediately ran to me. “You’re bleeding,” one of them said as she took out a tissue from her bag and put it on my chin. She and another mother brought me back to my home – which was only 50m away – and told my mother about the accident.
The next moment, my mother threw me in the car, and we started off to visit the nearest clinic for the treatment of this injury. As we passed by the playground, I saw my friends and mothers standing worriedly near the entrance. I felt as if I was being pulled away from the fun world I had just been enjoying with my friends, and thought to myself what a trouble I had put myself in.
The clinic my mother and I visited that day looked like a very old house. To me, it didn’t look like a doctor’s office. But they were available, and gave me a proper treatment. I think we went back to the doctor once again later for a follow-up. Fortunately, the injury wasn’t serious. But I was warned that the scar might last for lifetime.
The community I spent my young childhood was demolished when I went to high school, and none of the things we used to play with every day exists anymore. But when I touch the old scar on my chin, I distinctly remember that day of “accident,” and it somehow feels to me like a proof that those fun days did really exist.