Growing Up With An Injured Brain

When I was 10 years old, my best friend hit me in the head with a baseball bat. He was, and is, 2 and a half years older than me. The half year worth mention at the time, but not now of course as fractions of a year become less significant the older we become. At that time, and also due to our birth months, it meant that he was 3 grades ahead of me at school. Bringing up the half year somehow brought me closer to him in age than the 3 grade difference, while giving him credit for being older.
He may have felt worse about it because of our age difference, but didn’t intend to do it, in any event. That is, he intended to swing the baseball bat, but wasn’t planning on hitting me in the head. Regardless, I had several stitches to sew up my head and had to wear gauze over it for the whole summer. The whole summer also being quite a significant length of time back then for us at our age, and having stitches being the way most people expressed the procedure back then as well regardless of their age.
People would ask me, “what happened to you?”, as people will do out of morbid curiosity or a general fear it could happen to them and that they want to know the details so they can avoid a similar fate. Not to say there weren’t also people who loved and cared for me, but most of them already knew the story and were more likely to ask how I was doing than making me retell how it happened.
“My best friend hit me in the head with a baseball bat.” was my quite succinct and honest reply which I thought also quite sufficient. This would lead invariably to observations such as, “some friend that is” or “with friends like that…” Perhaps first they would ask clarifying questions such as, “really, your friend?” or “what do you mean your friend” and so forth. Later it became, “so that’s what’s wrong with you, I always knew something.” But that comes later.
What happened though was simple enough. He was taking a swing at a ball he threw up to himself to show everyone how well he could really hit, after having struck out to end our pick-up game. He was away from the back stop cage and off the diamond all together. I came up behind him to make him feel better, because he was still way better than me at baseball and I didn’t see what he was doing. He shouldn’t have been swinging the bat there; don’t ever come within swinging distance of someone holding a bat, even if they’re your best friend.

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