Swing on the Alphen Walk

The Swing on the Alphen Walk

For a long time there was a swing crossing the kloof on the Alphen Walk in Constantia. In fact there were two, but one was easier to get to than the other and it was this one that Thomas used to swing on. It wasn’t very safe, but kids seemed to enjoy it, so I rationalised it by telling myself I wasn’t going to mollycoddle my kids and cocoon them in bubblewrap.
And then one day Thomas saw some kids who were two or three years older than him use the swing, not by sitting on it, but by holding onto it with their hands.
He promptly copied them and when he got far out on the swing, that thing that every parent dreads happens, he let go of the swing and fell a full seven metres into the bottom of the ravine.
He screamed as he fell and this brought people running from all directions.
I ran too, down the ravine and as I ran I was looking for where the helicopter was going to land to airlift him to hospital, because surely this was going to end very badly indeed.
As I was not looking where I was going, I did not see the wooden log attached to the end of the rope as it smashed into my face, resulting in a great deal of bleeding, especially from my nose.
To my astonishment Thomas landed squarely on his back in about four inches of water and did not break anything. He was quite winded and groaned a bit, but got up after a few seconds and started walking away.
At this moment, people who had run over to see what all the screaming was about saw me, my face covered in blood, and started making a fuss of me and consoling me. All the while I was trying to explain it wasn’t me that needed attention, but my son.
Thomas definitely used up one of his nine lives that afternoon.
A while later I described what happened to Thomas’ Godfather, a neurosurgeon, and I got the telling-off of my life. “Do you know how many children I have seen spend the rest of their lives in wheel chairs for lesser things”. It was not a proud moment for me, but I am grateful that Thomas walked away unscathed.

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