Broken Smile

There is a large construction site located adjacent to our building.  I remember there used to be a playground there.  Swings and carrousels, filled with kids and laughter.  Now there are piles of gray construction blocks and a mangled wooden fence surrounding the property.

I hear my mother call my name, it is noon, time for us to go on our daily walk.  I rush into my room, and quickly find a pair of slightly worn out pants.  The stains of dirt and torn chunks of dark grey fabric don’t bother me.  I am excited about playing outside.

I run through the front door swinging it wide open.  The air rushes through my lugs and the sun gently wrinkles my forehead. I feel like I haven’t been outside for so long.  The semi circular street surrounding our apartment building is packed with cars.  It’s quiet now, I hear a kindergarten teacher talking to her students.  I squeeze my mother’s hand and we continue walking.  She has a strong grip.  She looks down at me and smiles.

We pass large shrub of bushes.  It’s warm enough for little red fruits to start blooming.  I rip one of them and hide it in my front pocket; my mom doesn’t notice.  A neighboring boy runs up to us; it’s Sergey.  He is wearing neat black shorts and a plain dark t-shirt.  Out of breath he asks “Can Max play?” I look up with a smile and see my mother nods to me “Go on”.

Sergey runs around the corner and disappears in a large jagged opening of a crackled wooden fence. I follow him without hesitation.  On the other side I feel like I am in a maze. Piles of large cement blocks, some curved, some rectangular are surrounding me. I climb on top of one and see my friends talking in a group.  Sergey is there, he invites me in; they want to play a game. I see my mother in the distance, I wave to her, and she waves back.

We start playing hide and seek; it’s my turn to search.  I turn around and start counting; I like a challenge so I don’t peek.  When I reach hundred I turn.  Quickly scouting the area I start walking forward.  I clip my leg on a rusty metal bar and fall.  Slowly and in shock I push my self off the ground.  I feel like my face was hit by a hammer, it hurts; it hurts so badly, I scream.

Sergey along with a few other boys appear.  They have stunned expressions of horror.  Without hesitation Sergey rushes to the fence in search of my mother.  In seconds my mother is here, she is terrified.  She grabs me and rushes me to the apartment.  Stumbling trying to catch her pace I cry, “It hurts”.

I want to wash my hands and face, mommy runs into the living room to call my father.  I grab a clump of cheap soap, look in the mirror and freeze. My mouth is covered in blood.  Three pieces of flesh and broken bone are dangling from the top of my jaw.  I scream “What have I done?”  Mommy grabs a soft cloth and dabs it in to warm water.  She wipes my blood of my hands and face.  She tells me everything is going to be ok.

I can’t talk, it hurts.

She puts me to bed, turns the lights out and leaves to look for the ambulance.  It’s dark, I can’t close my eyes I keep thinking “What have I done?”

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