Going into high school, I had matured slightly since my days of building forts in the forest. My friends and I had graduated from the fort-building to just kinda hanging around and acting cool.
One day in the beginning of Grade 9, my friends and I we were walking along the outskirts of the forest and we found an abandoned tree fort. It was way better than any of the forts we had ever made. It was about 15 feet off the ground in an actual tree, and actually sturdy, made with real wood (rather than ours made out of sticks and branches on the ground).
We were intrigued. What were the mystery tree fort builders planning on doing with this?
There was a ladder leading up to the tree, which is how we assumed we were supposed to get up and down… but what if we could make some sort of contraption out of this bucket of cement, pulley, and rope?
An idea was born.
We figured if we tied one end of the rope around the handle of the bucket of cement, we could attach the pulley high up on a branch, loop the rope through it, and tie the other end of the rope around something we could hang onto.
So that when you were up in the fort, to get down all you needed to do was grab onto the rope at the top and jump off the edge, and as the bucket of cement was pulled up, you would slowly be lowered down.
Genius. We thought it was the best idea we’d ever had. I ran home and got an old pair of bike handlebars to tie to the other end of the rope (to hang onto), and we quickly got to work making our bucket-pulley system.
We tested it…
And it worked perfectly!
It was exactly how we had envisioned, and it was super fun. So much better than using the boring old ladder to get down. We were so proud of ourselves.
That weekend, my Bestie Lisa came up to her cottage – I mentioned in the post dedicated to my Bestie that her cottage was near my house, and that was how we knew eachother. During school she was only there on weekends. She had heard about the fort, but she hadn’t seen our bucket-pulley idea or how cool it was.
I was so excited to show her how it worked. She was the one who I was most excited to show it to. I knew it would be right up her alley.
As soon as she came up on Friday evening, she came over to my house, and my friends and I rushed her over to the fort to show her the pulley.
I raced up the fort’s ladder, ran to the edge, grabbed the bike handlebars, looked over to make sure she was watching, gave her a giant smile, yelled “WATCH THIS!” and, feeling bold, launched myself over the edge.
I did not check first to make sure the rope wasn’t tangled. This would prove to be a fatal mistake.
It all happened very fast, but to me, everything was in slow motion. At first everything was fine, the bucket started to lift up, and I was lowered about a foot or so towards the ground. And then, all of a sudden, everything stopped. The next second the bucket just stopped moving and I was JOLTED in place.
I didn’t have time to think. I let go of the handlebars, and suddenly I was hurtling face-first towards the ground.
I closed my eyes and threw my arms up to prepare for impact.
I landed on my hands and knees, but my head slammed forward because of the force, and I bashed my face hard on a stump.
I looked up, and my Bestie was already at my side, with her arms out, like she was trying to catch me. Everyone else was rushing towards me. The fall took my breath away, and I could feel blood running out of my nose.
I had ruined the pulley demonstration. I didn’t want her to be afraid of it, we had been using it all week with no incident! I knew it was my own stupidity, for not checking the rope first. I could only say one thing.
I really wanted her to try it, so she could see how fun it was. So she could see that it wasn’t the pulley’s fault! I should have checked!
Though I was dizzy, I forced myself off the ground, marched back to the tree, pulled myself up the ladder, untangled the rope, grabbed the bike handlebars, looked over to make sure she was looking, and jumped off the edge.
It worked. I was slowly lowered to the ground.
I was all “See, it’s fine! You can try it!”
But she wouldn’t. She never tried the bucket-pulley.
I went home to get my nose checked out. I suspect it was broken, but I never found out for sure. And I now have a bump on my nose.
Hard to see, but it is there.
Also, it was picture-day on Monday at school. The swelling in my nose still hadn’t gone down, resulting in me looking like this:
Oh well, at least it’s a good story!
The End .