Falling three stories and living to tell about it


Sheila Mwanda, Staff writer

‘Whoosh!’ I slid across the smooth, marble window sill. It was a summer’s evening and the weather was hot and humid. My five-year-old sister and I, three at the time, were deep into the second round of our dual when I tripped over my feet and leaned against the window screen.

I quickly tried to regain my balance, but the screen popped out of place, leaving a wide-open window. Next thing I knew, I was falling. As I held onto the screen’s edges, the fall from our third story apartment window seemed to go on forever. “Mommy, help! I’m falling!” I wailed to my mom, who was outside. I finally landed on the grass beneath me, just barely missing the pavement. I heard my mom’s loud, piercing scream as she ran towards me. “Are you hurt?”, she asks. Too dazed and shocked to vocalize my thoughts, I shake my head no in response. She helped me back upstairs to our apartment and after putting on my shoes, my parents drove us to the hospital.

We soon arrived at the hospital, though I cannot recall many details from this point. I went through several tests to ensure that I was okay. During the x-ray, I began to cry because it was scary, cold and dark. The only light in the room was dim and orange. “Mom, Dad, where are you?” I cried.  The nurse wheeled me down the long, empty hallways back to the hospital room to wait for the test results. I sat in the hospital room with my family waiting for the x-ray results. Thankfully, I did not break any bones nor did I get a concussion. Remarkably and miraculously, I fell three stories and was unharmed.

Looking back on the experience several years later, my sister, Shannah states that the scariest thing was “watching you fall and not being able to anything… it’s not like I could have jumped out after you”. She continued to say that “it was scariest especially when you got close to the ground and not knowing what was going to happen so I eventually stopped looking”. To this day, she claims to still fear tall windows and is distrusting of window screens.

At three years old, I learned much earlier than my peers to be more cautious and to be more aware of potential danger. If I had recognized the open window and the fact that I could still fall out even though there was a screen there, I could have avoided this situation entirely. I also learned that though it is best to learn things without the pain, learning from experience keeps the overall lesson or moral inside you forever, and I would like to think that has kept me safe for all the years that have followed since then. One thing is for sure, though, when I have my own kids, I will always ensure their safety and keep them away from high windows.