Rodney E.J. Chang
June 1, 2016
As a hyperactive child, I was accustomed to taking spills in play.
I was one of those boys in the classroom who always displayed knee
bruises the color of strawberries.
One summer day, on a fishing trip, some say I cheated Death.
I survived a fall from a 50-foot cliff!
My younger brother, 9 and I, 11, were following our insular uncle to his
secret fishing spot, high up some craggy Hawaiian cliff.
Always delivering some of his catch for our family, we nagged for him to
take us on his next fishing expedition. We
were thrilled when one day he finally caved and relented.
“Hurry up!” he shouted back at us.
“The fish ain't gonna wait all day!”
We were like his mules, carrying backpacks with boxed lunches, extra gear
and spools of line, landing nets, buckets,
and canteens of drinking water, plus our long fishing poles.
Brother was more agile and had stronger legs.
My skinny legs struggled to balance on the precarious lava ledges as I
hastened to catch up with the other two.
“Oops,” I uttered, suddenly slipping on loose gravel.
A split-second later I found myself suspended in mid-air!
Downwards I went, but fortunately not straight down to the bottom.
I bounced off several intermediary rocky projections before coming to a
merciful rest on sandy ground.
I woke up in the hospital. The
doctor said I had a concussion and remained unconscious during the rescue.
Instead of that hospital smell of rubbing alcohol, I smelled fish!
That's when I discovered the plastic bag of fish left for me by uncle.
He wrote, “This is your share. And STAY HOME next time!”
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