I ran out of our apartment hurrying to find a taxi. My mother-in-law was flying in today at 2:30 pm and I wanted to make sure my kids and I were at the airport waiting to greet her. Jogging to save time (this is the American in me, I haven't completely converted to Belizean time yet), a young girl maybe eleven or twelve years old passing on her bicycle yells over to me, “Why are you running?”
I chuckle because only in Belize would people talk to you like they already know you. To add to that, there is no way I can explain all of my reasoning before she will be long past me. Her bike speeds by, I keep running and somewhere between my comical images of Belizean small-talk and focusing back on my mission to find a taxi, my foot catches between the road’s pavement and the gravel shoulder (neither of which are plane.)
My ankle buckles, folding underneath my weight and my left wrist catches the brunt of the fall as my knee follows. I’m still chuckling as I work to stand up…not because it’s funny, because that’s how quickly the entire incident occurred—I’m still laughing at the girl on her bike although by now I'm sure she is laughing at me. When I look up to locate her I notice she has turned her bike around and there isn't a smile on her face. She tells me, “That's why I told you, ‘why are you running?’”
“You knew I’d fall?” I ask.
She nods and with a thick Caribbean accent says, “Yes…just look at your sandals.”
Her tone seems to add you big dummy, even though she doesn’t vocalize that part and I suddenly feel like I'm seven again being reprimanded for not listening to my mom.
I wobble, lifting my dress to check out my knee and become distracted by the blood in my palm. A man in a black truck stops to ask if I’m okay and I nod yes with an embarrassed smile on my face. Why do I do this? I’m clearly not okay. Just once how I’d love to not boast of independence.
Now my brain is having simultaneous thoughts, searching for a taxi and a Band-Aid and my kids who are at the beach with their Uncle Adam (my brother and his wife came down for a week to visit us). A concurrent thought…or better yet, an inspiration plays through my mind like a mini screenplay: this will make a great blog post! Subsequent thought: you big dummy something’s wrong with you when you can’t walk and you're eager to write about it.
I find a taxi and I find my kids and the taxi driver agrees to stop at the corner store where they sell Band-Aids by the unit. My kids see the war wounds and are immediately concerned. “It’s sad that you hurt your hand, Mommy,” Jordan tells me, “That never happens to you…right, Mom?”
Before I can answer Maddi is talking, “It happens to me! Remember Puerto Rico? I was running and I fell and I hurt both knees?" Her smirk seems to say that she is one-upping me. "Why did you run so fast, Mom?”
I shrug and she sides with the girl on the bike, “Well, you can’t run so fast!”
My hand is throbbing but we make it to the airport at 2:35pm…early. The plane has been delayed and will arrive in fifteen minutes. There was no need to run. The taxi driver agrees to wait for us and soon my mother–in-law is disembarking with oodles of hugs for her grandbabies and plenty more for me when she realizes my injuries.
We bring her luggage to the taxi and it appears my luck has transferred to him. He points to the back tire of his mini-van which is completely deflated and tells us to take another cab back into town. Jordan is amused by all of the out-of-the-ordinary occurrences. He puts his hand to his head and says, “First a flattened hand, then a flattened tire!” I hear a little lilt in his voice and am glad the experience is entertaining someone.
This is more commotion than we’ve experienced all month and I’m limping by the time we make it back to the apartment. For dinner we venture out to enjoy gourmet seafood–snapper and eggplant and coconut mojitos and flan for dessert. The rum sooths my ankle which now feels like it has a baseball lodged inside of it. The pain is easily dismissed when my brother holds up his drink for a cheer and I look around the table at the faces I love..the faces that are laughing and I tell myself, you big dummy…this is a great night!