Looking back at my childhood, memories of loneliness and hardship come to mind. I was seven years old when a particularly devastating event occurred that permanently altered my life.

On a seemingly ordinary Friday afternoon, I was looking at what everyone in the house was doing. My mother was busy in the kitchen while my father was taking a nap. My older sister was exercising, while my younger sister was in her world, playing with her toys.

However, I was feeling restless that day and wanted to have some fun. On entering the gym, I saw my elder sister running on the treadmill. The board games I suggested were not appealing to her. I gave up attempting to persuade her and was staring at the moving belt just when a brilliant gaming idea struck me! But for that, I needed her to continue the walk. 

I rushed out of the room, grabbed two plastic glasses from the kitchen without my mom noticing, and dragged my 3-year-old sister into the gym room. Then I explained the game to her; we just needed to put the glasses at the end of the treadmill’s spinning track and watch them fall. The winner of each round would be the person whose glass landed further away from the treadmill.

The game went perfectly well until my sister picked up her glass and put it on the belt in such a clumsy manner that it went under the treadmill. Now, what?

The treadmill was running, and the track was rotating, but the glass lay on the floor untouched by either. I could see its rim just beneath the supporting rod. Not a problem right? I could reach out and grab it with my hand in just 5 seconds.

Generally, my hands shake with nervousness, but not this time. I had a solid plan in place, and I wasn’t afraid. So I concluded that this task had to be executed.

I carefully inserted my left hand under the moving track, ready to take it out as soon as I grabbed the glass.

My hand reached the spot where I thought the glass would be, but to my surprise, I couldn’t feel it.

Where did the glass go? I couldn’t feel anything! 

I tried to remove my hand. But then it wasn’t coming out. Instead, it was being sucked in! Who was pulling my hand? As a kid who believed monsters lived under the bed, I feared that I would be taken away by one.

My elder sister heard the commotion and stopped to see what was happening. It turns out that I inserted my hand between the rod and the revolving belt. It scraped my skin off up until a point at which my bones and muscles were visible.

I was rushed to a hospital. The emergency doctor declared that it was just a minor injury as there was no bleeding. He assured us that the skin would regrow in a few days. Everyone was happy and relieved.

After a few days, something did grow, but it wasn’t the skin. There was a colony of bacteria that made my hand their home. I then suffered from bacterial and fungal infections. For nearly seven months, my left hand looked gross. It was a total mess of blood, pus, and blisters of all sizes. It gives me goosebumps thinking about it now.

I ought to add that I am a very clumsy girl, and somehow I would end up rubbing my hand against a random object in the house which would cause bleeding and require a quick trip back to the hospital. We used to spend more time there than at home. 

To be honest, as I was young (1st Grade), I don’t remember the physical pain it caused me. But I do recall being given special protection (isolated) at school. I had to sit on the stairs while my classmates played on the ground. People at parties would stare and mutter when they saw my bandaged hand.

Although my parents would never agree to this, I know that their situation was worse. I saw them struggle for me. Everything from cleaning to rushing to the hospital, they were always patient with me. My mom would hold me whenever I cried, and my dad was always there to bring back the smile on my face. 

I keep replaying these memories in my head and think of all the trouble I caused, especially to those who loved me. I wonder how easy life would have been if I were more careful. This was indeed a shot I took that went wrong in ways unimaginable. 

But at the end of the day, I am grateful that things turned out the way they did. Now I have a scar on my left hand and I’m comfortable sharing the story with you.

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