Blog Every Day in May, THE LAST DAY: a vivid memory

We have finally reached the end of our journey! Today is the very last day of the Blog Every Day in May challenge and to be totally honest, I'm RELIEVED. Though the challenge has been fun (I've only missed a few days!), I'm ready to move on. I've collected several new bloggers to admire and I've been quite pleased with the increased readership on my own blog; I got everything I had hoped for!

Today's topic:
Day 31, Friday: A vivid memory

While most of my childhood memories are fragmented, disjointed and slightly hazy now, I can still conjure many of the vivid sights, sounds and smells from my early years. I have hundreds of happy memories stored away as mental mementos of the past, but one experience that stands out most distinctly in my mind just so happens to be a little unpleasant. And I think its unpleasantness is exactly why it's so easy to recall.

One warm evening when I was 7, my parents went out on a date or were attending some event (I was in first grade, I didn't really know or care what adults did for fun) and my sister and I were left in the care of one of my favorite babysitters. Her name was Buffy. I liked Buffy because her parents lived next door to the local country club's pool and she had a Nintendo in her room.

Buffy was a great babysitter because she actually interacted with Ashley and I. She certainly wasn't one of those babysitters that plopped the children down in front of a movie all night while she hid out in the kitchen making phone calls to her boyfriend. On that particularly evening, Buffy ushered us outside to play in the yard against the backdrop of a beautiful setting sun.

Ashley and I, the ever-curious children, took notice that one of the trees in our spacious yard had sprouted small red berries amongst its leaves and in no time at all, we both had a neat pile of "ammo" at our feet. For several minutes we engaged in "berry battle" with our babysitter, running around the yard and flinging berries at one another. It was something I'd never done before; it was a lot of fun.

I don't remember anything else until the next morning when I woke up and immediately noticed that something in my body just didn't feel right. My face felt raw and hot and when I made a move to touch it, I was startled out of bed by what I felt beneath my fingers. I immediately ran to the aid of mother who looked positively horrified when she saw my face.

I must have gotten berry juice or berry residue on my skin during the prior evening's berry battle and I was clearly having an allergic reaction to it. My 7 year-old face was covered from ear-to-ear and chin-to-forehead in a large, angry-looking rash. I was too young to know it at the time, but what I was looking at in the mirror was almost identical to Leather Face from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies. My face looked like I skinned a baboon's pink butt and haphazardly stitched it to my little face.

Of course my mom took me to the doctor immediately, and I probably got some shot or medicine or something. I felt perfectly fine, I just had an unnatural-looking pizza face. I got a lot of stares in the waiting room and my classmates were NOT kind when I went back to school the next day. Oh my gosh, kids are SO cruel.

Some of the details are a bit blurry, but I will never, ever forget how my skin felt during those few torturous days. It's like it wasn't even my own skin. I felt like I was wearing a thick mask that was hot to the touch. In fact, the rash was so thick and textured, I could barely feel the doctor's hands on my face. It was embarrassing and a little scary. I'm sure I wondered if my face was going to look like that forever.

The moral of the story? Baboons have pink butts.

^^ Sorry about that. (Not sorry.)