My nose hurts. I push down on it, and now, predictably, it hurts more. I search through my memories from last night’s hullabaloo, my mind whirring and then clicking to a stop. I recall –
An aggressive thud into my face. Pain. Someone saying “sorry” over and over again. A second thud as I am hugged just as aggressively. Pain.
That’s right. I got punched in the face. And not even in a 10+ lad points way. It was an accident.
I push the concentrated aching to the back of my mind. That is until I see my friend rotating her face to the left and right of me, whilst frowning. “What?” I say, brushing the corner of my lips for imaginary crumbs. She replies, not to tell me I have mayonnaise at the corner of my mouth, but to ask, “have you broken your nose?”
My eyes widen as the other people around me begin to leer at my face. I am struck by the knowledge that I am yet to look in the mirror today. Why today, of all days, have I decided to defy the expectations that society has set down on me since the time when I was 13 and I changed my Facebook status to Bex is … feeling realli ugly :(. I sprint out of the JCR and am soon staring at a slightly swollen and bruised nose. The familiar resignation creeps in as I adjust to the blue and blossoming mass upon my face.
I say ‘familiar’, because I seem to be rather prone to accidents. And it made me think, dear readers, that maybe it was time you heard my past. Not all of it, mind you. I’d hate to create some sort of faux-intimate connection with you. Just the day it all started. Let me set the scene. I was 11. I was at a family friend’s house and they had a moped. I’d watched my three brothers happily scoot around a field each time we visited them, but I was always reluctant to have a try. At the time I wasn’t sure why. But on this day, I decide that it’s time.
Soon I am scoot scoot scooting away. It’s going good. Everyone is nodding and waving. Excellent. It’s my third time around the field, and I’m feeling casual. I got this down, I think to myself. I could be the next big thing, I think – except, well, except, I’m getting to the corner of the field, and I’ve forgotten how to brake. Ah. Now my thoughts are less suave, and far less collected. How do you work this fucking thing!!! I speedily muse, in a less expletive and far more charming manner. After all, I’m a precocious but still very youthful 11 year-old. This is the moment, you are thinking, where I fall off. But that’s not my style. I slam on the brakes.
Well. As I said earlier, it’s my first time. And the brakes are on the handle. But so is the accelerator. So, with slapstick inevitability, I find myself soaring, still on the bike, very fast, into a barbed wire fence.
(Cue screams as I sit dazed, patiently waiting to be extracted.)
Since then, I have accrued several broken toes, a scar on my knee from falling between the tube and the platform (as ‘Please mind the gap’ punctuated the air), and my pinky finger is a party trick in dire social situations, after once trying to catch a very quickly flung basketball.
Thus, as the present and agèd me looks into the mirror, I nod at my reflection with a strange sense of glee. Well done you, I think. Maybe the curse is lifting. After all, this one wasn’t even my fault.