When I was 12, appearances were already very important to me.
I was going to go for a bike ride with a close neighbour friend of mine, and I was wearing my cool new sandals. My father had taken to yelling at me in front of my friends, and stopped us before we left. He instructed me to change into socks and running shoes if I was going to ride my bike. Are you kidding? I was wearing shorts! Shorts with socks and shoes were so uncool; nevermind the sock tan I would get!
Oh Em Gee! Like, totally, for real.
I ignored my dad, even when he continued yelling at us from the driveway as we rode off.
We were no more than 2 blocks from my house when I hit a tiny pot hole in the pavement and my bike when slightly out of control. Instinctually, I put both feet to the ground, dragging my toes. Now, if I was wearing shoes, this wouldn’t have been an issue, but since I was wearing my “cool” sandals, I succeeded in taking about 10 layers of skin off both of my big toes. It was repulsive and I think the combination of disgust and adrenaline masked the actual pain. There were 2 narrow but noticeable trails of blood on the road. I immediately fell to the nearest lawn and screamed in horror. It looked like my toes had just been mutilated by a meat grinder. I begged my friend, “GO GET MY DAD!”
She rode back to my house to get him. It couldn’t have been more than 5 minutes later, but it seemed like forever. She came back, accompanied by my father. He could run faster than we could ride on our bikes – he had very long legs. He said nothing and threw me over his shoulder, fireman-carrying me, while he did a brisk walk back to our house.
I had to get 2 mini cast-like wrappings on both of my toes and they ached for a long time after. I couldn’t walk for a couple days. My father never said “I told you so”. He didn’t have to; but I’m positive he was thinking it the entire time he was carrying me with my skin hanging off my toes.
I loathed my father that day, not for being an unreasonable jackass (this time), but because he was 100% right.