Oct 11, 2009


I am lying in a claustrophobic room with a large metal plate crushing my chest. My mom and grandma are trying to hold tears back while waiting for the result of my X-rays. Am I really OK?
Fall Festival at Balboa Academy is a Halloween tradition that attracts students from all grades. In my first year at BA I didn’t understand what Fall Festival was but still went to see if I liked it. When I arrived the spooky Halloween atmosphere is the only thing that differentiated Fall Festival from school fairs we had at my old school, so I felt at home.
The first thing you notice when entering the school grounds on a Saturday is the very calm almost carefree atmosphere of the place. These old buildings didn’t harbor learning, homework, and pressure for now but pure clean fun. I have never experienced an autumn in the States but the school grounds were decorated like the ones in the movies. The seniors were standing out side the dungeon, which had been transformed into a haunted house, in very creepy costumes trying to lure in unsuspecting elementary children in order to give them the scare of a lifetime. There were barbeques, since in Panama it’s almost always sunny, candied apples, games, and raffles.
I was very young, so my mother didn’t feel safe leaving me to fend for myself. But like a good rebellions pre-teen I ignored her, thinking to myself that I would be just fine. I left my mother’s safe side and started to roam the fair with my friends.
One of the most distinctive things present at Fall Festival and at Oxford International school fairs, or any other typical school fair in Panama, is the zip-line. I decide to give the one at Fall Festival a go, since I had ridden the one at OIS fairs at least 20 times.
I did great and didn’t look down when I was climbing up those endless stairs. The hook clicked on and the man gave me a signal, which meant I could start the 15 feet descent. But this experience still frightened me to death. Most might think that a person or child that has gone down a zip-line about 20 times in her life shouldn’t be afraid of heights, but heights are my absolute and only fear. To most it might have an everyday thing, to me it was terrifying. Irrational fear of heights has never quite described how I feel; more than afraid of the heights, I’m afraid of falling. And this fear would soon be justified.
Breathe in. Breathe out. I kept repeating this in my head as I closed my eyes and took the plunge.
The next thing I know I’m flat in my back lying on the wet late-October grass. My new outfit was wedged in all the wrong angles. My head was pounding, like a hammer making gold leafs. My arms felt like they had given up all their energy, numbed limbs with no purpose. I still stood up, shook away the grass, to reveal pancake size grass stains covering my new stone-colored pants. The next thing I hear is the nurse, Mrs. Hayes, screaming to the top of her lungs “Stay down!” A thud reverberates through my ears. It feels as if everything went in slow motion. People’s faces are shocked with worry, the weight of Mrs. Hayes body as she lands on top of me, trying to keep me from standing up, and bounciness of my head as it repeatedly hits the ground from the force of the tackle.
Then the paramedics arrive and place me on a stretcher. My mom runs to me, after my friend told her what had happened. After that it all became a blank until the loud sound of the sirens woke me up inside the ambulance. My mom was sitting next to me holding my hand, telling me everything is going to be ok. The ambulance rushed to the hospital, and here is where our story began.
The doctors and my mom were concerned about whether or not the 15 feet fall had affected my spine or broken any bones. But I was fine, no broken bones, no mayor injuries, no internal hemorrhage, nothing; just a ruined shirt and a pounding headache. This might sound like a lie, a twelve-year-old girl falling 15 feet hitting the ground, then standing up only to get body slammed by the school nurse and to top it all off nothing happened to her; and I wouldn’t believe this if I was reading the tale on-line, but this is a true story. I walk out of that ER with nothing more than a bag of ice and a blushed face.
I think the moral of this story is that I’m indestructible… Nah! It’s that bad thing and accidents happen but you always get something out of it, even if it’s a lesson on how to fall without getting hurt.

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