I had never ridden a bicycle before but he dared me and I wasn’t about to admit my failings to anyone, especially him. So what if I was a girl, I was older and taller than he was with a desperate need to prove I was equal.

It wasn’t as if I hadn’t sat on a bike before. I had. I just couldn’t get past three or four pushes of the pedal before I wobbled or fell off. Still, today I was feeling confident.

I jumped on and pedalled but I should never have told myself to avoid that tree. Common sense dictated that it was big enough to avoid anyway but I became obsessed with it. I imagined its brown bark tearing at my 10 year old flesh.

Before I hit it the world decelerated into slow motion. The pain though lived on for years.

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