The Bad Seed of Fidelity
My health is kept in check because of a bizarre girl I met in high school. I can’t remember her name and I don’t recall why I ever spoke to her, but I won’t forget her curly brown hair and vibrant blue eyes.
It was a Friday night. Since I was too young to drive a car, my mother drove me out to the boondocks and dropped me off at the end of a dirt road on the tippy top of a hill. She lived in one of those houses where no one turned the lights on, except for the glare from the television. The girl, referred to as the Bad Seed, told her dad that I was going to drive her car.
“I’m not old enough to drive,” I said.
“Shh. Don’t let my dad hear. I don’t have a driver’s license. He won’t let me use the car unless you can drive,” she said.
As we descended the hill, the Bad Seed pulled up to a mailbox along a barbed wire fence. She told me the name of the extremely nice, talked to underclassmen while brushing her feathers in the bathroom, girl whom I will refer to as Fidelma.
“Let’s egg her house.” The Bad Seed held up a carton of eggs she had snuck out of her house.
“I’m not spending my Friday night egging Fidelma’s house. There are too many fun things to do instead.” I rolled my eyes. No way was I going to be mean, particularly to such a great girl. I didn’t want to be the reason she woke up and had her feelings hurt.
“We can sneak up to the windows and look inside.” The Bad Seed pointed to how far off the road the house was sitting. We would have to climb under the barbed wire fence and cross a muddy field.
“You watch people through their windows?” There was nothing more to be said.
The Bad Seed satisfied herself by throwing one egg into Fidelma’s mailbox. I protested strongly and we drove away.
In town, we went to an ice cream shop. Not the most fun I’d had on a Friday night in high school but at least I was feeling satisfied. When I walked outside, the Bad Seed wasn’t in her car. As a matter of fact, her car was gone. I didn’t panic since I still had my ice cream to enjoy.
Seeing the Bad Seed driving away on the other side of the parking lot, I started walking toward her, still in mindless bliss. She gunned her engine and charged straight for me.
I shrugged. I’d seen movies where some guy pretended he was going to hit his friend with his car but then he slammed on his breaks at the last minute.
As the car drove under the parking lot lights, I saw the Bad Seed in the front seat. She cackled like a crazed banshee.
I nodded and waited for her. After all, I wasn’t finished with my treat.
The Bad Seed didn’t stop. She didn’t even slow down. She slammed her car into me. The bummer clipped my knees. I fell on the hood. The Bad Seed kept laughing her head off.
What could I do? If I threw too much of a fit, I’d be stranded and injured. I cautiously limped around to the passenger’s door, trying to give her the benefit of the doubt as to whether she actually hit me on purpose or thought the car was going to stop without touching me.
My kneecap slid over to the side of my leg. It hurt, forever after. The doctor explained that girls’ curvatious (ahem, and highly flattering to appreciative men who didn’t expect beanpole soulmates) hips pushed their weight to their knees, while boys were blessed with their weight going to their ankles. Once the ligaments and tendons were torn from the kneecap, they never grew back. For the rest of my life, my kneecap would snap out of position, ache, and make it difficult for me to be active.
The key part of that sliding kneecap equation, was the curvy hips. Having a chronic knee problem forced me to stay in shape. Of course, I couldn’t be a maniac athlete because too much activity aggravated the injury and my healing process would have to start all over.
Forever and ever, I must take care of my entire body so I won’t be immobilized. Years later, while canoeing, I foolishly got out and pulled the canoe over rocks. Once the boat was free, the current shoved it on me. The heel of my flipflop was stuck in the rocks and the canoe clobbered me by knocking me down and pressing on my bump knee. The injury reactivated, but not for a wasted effort.
Thanks to the Bad Seed, from my youth, I think about my health all day long. If my weight crept a tiny bit higher, my knee gave out. I avoided foods that caused swelling, moved to a warmer climate to heal my joints, and consistently exercised moderately. My bill of health proved my devotion to protecting my knee. After all these years, my doctors always stare in awe at the better than perfect scores on my medical reports. Not because I’m special, but because a Bad Seed, a bully, influenced my life. A horrible experience became a gift disguised in a beat up old car. Fidelma never found out I took the bullet for her.