I stand a few yards to the side, watching. The other third graders are going around and around and around. It's a merry-go-round, and I've never been on one. Maybe when I was younger, but if that is the case, I had been too young to remember. The spinning metal structure slows, and my friend jumps off. Eventually, she convinces me to get on. The world whirls around me as the chant pounds in my head, called out by many voices.
"Faster! Faster! We need another master!"
It slows again, and I move to get off, too slow. Before my weight is fully off, the merry-go-round jerks back to life, and I tumble to the ground. Small gravel rocks cling to me, pressed into my exposed skin, as I push myself up. My friend jumps off and hurries to me as the others continue to spin and spin and spin.
"Are you okay?"
"I'm good," I mutter, swiping at the yellow-orange dirt on my clothes. My knees are a little scraped, but they seem fine.
My friend takes me in with a quick glance, "Let's see if we can go to the nurse."
"I'm fine." I glance back down at my knees. There's no blood, even if they sting a little now. They're fine.
She gives me a look and takes my wrist, gently pulling me across the playground, away from the continually turning merry-go-round. Our teacher looks at me and says to go ahead inside. Confused, my knees receive a third look. There certainly is a fair amount of blood now.
Many years later...
Curled up in pajama pants, I trace the outline of a faint scar on my left knee, and I remember. I remember its story.