You will always hurt the ones you love - a common cautionary phrase used to direct us throughout our interactions with family and friends. Usually, it points to heartbreak or betrayal, and in most cases is not taken literally. But sometimes, the literal interpretation is appropriate.
My sister and I have always been pretty close, sharing a lot of interests and feeding off of each other's energy. Sometimes, this created chaos...
When I was 3 and she was 5, she came up with the idea that the two of us should try to climb one of the scrub oaks in our backyard. Her plan was to boost me up the trunk to the fork of the shortest tree, believing that I could wrap my arms around the smaller branch, hoist myself up, and then reach down and help her up. A solid plan, if you ignore the fact that I was a clumsy 3-year-old with little to no upper body strength or tree-climbing ability.
The first part of her plan worked. She was able to boost me up the trunk of the tree, and I wrapped both arms around our chosen branch like a koala. It was when I attempted to pull myself up that her plan fell apart. I couldn't do it, and I was now just high enough off the ground that her best efforts to help me fell short. I also refused to loosen my grip and come back down, scared that I would fall. I can only imagine I looked like "Gus-Gus" from the original Disney 'Cinderella', clinging to the key to Cinderella's locked door and refusing to let go, crying "No no no!" the whole time.
Just as my sister decided that she needed to go for help, our mom poked her head out the back door to check on us. My sister ran up to her, intending to inform mom of my predicament, only to be met with a hard "What-have-you-been-up-to?" stare. She panicked, not wanting to get into trouble for shoving me into a tree, and squeaked:
"I have to go to the bathroom!"
Before darting around mom to hide in our shared room.
At this point, I was starting to lose my grip and let out a shriek, leading mom to come to my rescue, arriving at the tree just in time to see me slide down the trunk and land hard on my behind. Crying, I held out my arms to be picked up and was ferried inside to be checked out in the bathroom. I had scratches all the way down my torso and a few scrapes on my face and arms from my slow slide down the rough bark of the tree. My sister was thoroughly scolded and we were both told to not try to climb trees again, which we didn't until we were a few years older and better at climbing.
There were a few more incidents of us accidentally hurting each other over the years, but one stood out to both of us as a narrow escape - both for getting into a lot of trouble and for her turn in getting hurt. She was 11 and I was 9. We were getting ready to move and had been getting tired of the constant packing and househunting while trying to complete our homeschool homework. We finally found a new house, and that meant an end to the constant stress and work. In a burst of celebratory relief, she and I joined hands and started to spin each other around atop the queen bed we shared. We were leaning away from each other to gain more centrifugal force and were both breathless with giddy laughter.
I'm still not sure which of us was the cause, but sweaty hands mixed with fast spinning created quite a hazard, and we lost grip on each other, causing me to fall over backward and roll sloppily off the side of the bed, while she was flung to the side and slammed the back of her head on the wall behind the bed. We both froze, quickly accessing for anything broken. I was fine, having landed on a pile of blankets and stuffed animals we had moved out of our way to spin. Despite hitting her head rather hard, she was also fine, although her ears were ringing a little. Shakily, we looked at each other and sighed with relief that we were not badly hurt.
After we had caught our breath, we began to put everything back on the bed so we could continue to clean and pack the last of our things for the upcoming move. I handed my sister our pillows to put back in their places and as she set them up, she let out a horrified gasp. I scrambled up on the bed and she quietly pointed out a small dent/hole in the drywall where she had hit her head when she fell.
We stared at each other, eyes wide.
Mom was going to kill us.
My sister gently touched the spot on the wall, and then leapt into action, racing to the hall bathroom. Seconds later she was back wielding the plunger, a determined glint in her eye. She carefully placed the plunger against the wall, and using the suction she created, somehow managed to pop the dent back out, making the wall look smooth and flat once more. She quickly put the plunger back in the bathroom and we inspected the wall once more, searching for any hint that the dent was still visible. We delicately cleaned the wall where the plunger had made contact and treated that spot as if it would explode until we moved out a short while later. As far as we know the spot on the wall was never noticed, and at the very least the new owner of the house never said anything about it when they moved in.
The final story I will bring up is also my favorite, as the accidental injury to my person was probably the funniest way I have ever gotten hurt. My sister has always been a horror movie buff, and we have both loved reading from a very young age. She was almost 13 and I was 11 at the time. We had both read "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and had enjoyed it, but she was starting to show interest in theater and wanted to act out the story with me. If our practice went well, we agreed we could do a small, two-woman performance for our parents and younger sister.
She - being older and having read the non-abridged version - divided up the parts for each of us. To my surprise and delight, I was given the lead of Ichabod Crane. She gave herself all of the other roles. And I'm not the least bit bitter about it...
We got dressed in our winter gear and headed outside to gather props and practice. We had decided that our large backyard would make a much better stage and would give us room to run around during the infamous chase scene. We found a few long dead branches that would serve well as our horses, and she helped me fold up my winter hat so that it sort of looked like a three-cornered hat.
While I cleared away some debris from our "stage", she hunted through our shed - at first looking for the axe until I reminded her that Mom would probably not like it if she looked out the window to check on us and saw her chasing me with it - before settling on a small bright red plastic shovel. The final prop we needed was the Headless Horseman's head. Since it was the middle of November and quite snowy, we thought that a large snowball would have to work since our Halloween Jack-0-Lanterns had long ago been thrown away. My sister carefully formed a watermelon-sized snowball and placed it behind a tree for the chase scene. Preparations done, we did a few practice runs and hammered out a few details.
I proudly played the role of Ichabod, practicing walking around with my nose in the air while walking a bit like a duck. I taught my class of unruly schoolchildren and was pummeled with pinecones (my sister said that they were supposed to be paper airplanes). I went around town and was harrassed by Brom Bones and his cronies (my sister popping out from behind different trees and trying to come up with "old-timey" insults while waving the plastic shovel over her head). I went to the VanTrapp party, and my sister and I clumsily waltzed around (she was Katrina VanTrapp), trying not to bump into the trees or trip over exposed roots.
Then came the scene we had both been looking forward to the most. I grabbed the branch that I decided would be my trusty steed Gunpowder and began to casually saunter around our yard. My sister zipped the collar of her coat up around her face and took her place, waiting for me to "ride" past.
There I was, gracefully leaping over the bumpy ground, trying to keep some distance between us as we got closer to the spot she had hidden her "head". She scooped it up - still running after me with a branch between her legs like a horse - took aim, and hurled the mock pumpkin head towards me.
By some miracle, her aim was true. Despite me weaving around trees and avoiding tripping hazards, she hit me directly in the back of the head. There was a loud CRACK that echoed slightly and I dropped like a sack of potatoes. I lay on the ground, dazed, trying to figure out what just happened. My sister collapsed to her knees, cackling with laughter and trying to choke out nearly incomprehesible words.
"Ican'tbelieve that....WHEEZE....hityou!!!!AREYOU OK????"
With my head ringing and pieces of the now-destroyed snowball making their way down the back of my neck, I struggled to sit up and look around. My hat was lying several feet away, one of my boots had come off and I couldn't find one of my mittens. I had snow crystals in my hair, a large cold wet spot forming on my back under my coat, and I had hit my knee on a large tree root. Still suffering from bursts of insane laughter, my sister gave me back my boot and retrieved my hat while I tried to find my missing mitten. I did find it after a minute, still stuck to the branch I had been "riding" on, covered by the largest remaining chunk of the snowball after it exploded against my head. She helped me into the house so I could change out of my wet clothes, and made us both hot chocolate. For the rest of the day, she would still break out into laughter anytime we made eye contact.
Needless to say, we decided not to put on the play for our family.
Despite everything we have done to each other, my sister and I are still very close. We have grown out of a lot of the clumsiness that caused us problems as kids, and we still laugh when we think about the time she nailed me with a snowy watermelon.