On the way back from the beach we used to stop at the Bradford Bridge so all the boys could jump off it. We were like clowns in a circus car getting out of the VW. “Ow”, someone said. “Quit it”. All the boys got out: Miles and Geoffrey, Pete and Eric while the rest of us stayed in the back seat, sunburned and sandy, our hair tangled stiff from the salt water. We shared coloring books and drew with melted crayons that we had peeled from the pack. My aunt Nancy sat sideways in the front seat smoking a joint and dancing with her shoulders and head.
What's for dinner?
Poop Sandwiches with relish and corn on the cob.
When Miles yelled we all turned our heads together to look out the back. Nancy jumped out and walked towards them, her towel still wrapped around her waist. What is it?
Oh! we pointed. Someone gasped.
Pete was in between Geoff and Miles, an arm over each shoulder, hopping on one foot. Blood was pouring out in streams above his ankle.
He hit a rock on the way in, Miles said. He seemed more upset than Pete who wanted to sit and examine it. He was half laughing.
We all got out of the car and circled around him. I remember Erin, the littlest of us, rubbed his back.
Do you need stitches?
Nancy pulled her towel off and set it under his foot. No I think it's ok.
Is it broken?
I don't want a cast.
Then you can't swim!
Can you move it?
Pete flexed his foot this way and that.
I think it's good.
Nancy wrapped her towel around it. Now it looks like you have a head growing out of your foot, she said.
Can I go in one more time? This from Geoff.
Ok, but hurry.
We all shuffled back to the car and piled in. Three of us squeezed in the front seat. Pete was wincing a little. It's ok, he said. Nance beeped the horn for Geoff to hurry. We all turned to watch him standing on the bridge. He looked at us and gave the thumbs up, then with a knee forward he jumped out, turning to salute us on the way down.