BONK by Tanner Cipriano

Updated: 3 days ago

“I’m not touching you, I’m not touching you, I’m not touching you.”


“Stop touching me!”


“That’s it!” our dad declares, “Tanner, we are switching seats so you two will leave each other alone.”


“But I wasn’t doing anything!”


“You were touching me!”


“No, my finger was right here the whole time,” I say holding my finger less than an inch away from Tore’s shoulder.


Dad: “Switch. NOW.”


I reluctantly get up to switch seats with our dad, but not without poking Tore one more time for real this time.


“He just touched me again!!” yells Tore.


It’s 2006 and we’re watching the Tigers play the Yankees for the American League Championship at Comerica Park. Tigers are ahead, and Curtis Granderson is up to bat. I don’t really care for baseball (at least not as much as I care about harassing Tore), but I’m excited about Granderson because his number is the same as our birth date: 28.


From my new seat, I make a face at Tore who’s still glowering at me. Just then I hear the crack of a bat and look to home plate where Granderson has hit a right hook foul ball that’s coming toward our section.


We watch as the ball gets closer and closer and closer until it hits a concrete wall above us and then bounces directly in my direction...


BONK!


It takes a moment for me to realize what’s happened, but it doesn’t take much longer for the pain to shoot through my skull.


Granderson has struck me just above the left eye and I feel tears welling up as I try to hold them back.


“Where did the ball go?” asks my mom looking around.


“I’m not sure,” says my dad looking back to home plate.


Just then a friendly stranger behind us leans forward, “I think it hit your kid.”


Mom and dad whip around to see me grabbing my eye where a purple welt has already started to grow.


“OH MY GOD WE NEED TO GET HIM TO A HOSPITAL RIGHT NOW!” screams my mom.


“But the game isn’t over yet,” says my dad.


During all of this, Sal snickers at me, “You get what you deserve.”


Just then, a park attendant runs over: “Is everything OK?”


“No it is not; my son is has been seriously hurt!”


“We have an ER in the park where we can take him.”


“But what if he can’t walk??”


“We’ll get him a wheelchair.”


As promised, a second attendant appears with a wheelchair plus a bag of ice that I press against the purple welt.


From there, the attendants lead us through the park as I begin to feel disorientated while less friendly strangers watch me go by in the wheelchair.


Once we get to the ER and as I'm getting checked by the doctor, dad says, "It looks they're taking care of you, so do you mind if I stand out there to watch the rest of the game?"


Tore jumps up, "I wanna go out there too!"


And with that, the two of them leave the ER so they can watch the end of the game outside, while my mom and I watch the rest of it on a TV in the Comerica Park ER.


In the end, the Tigers beat the Yankees to win the American League Championship, and in the players' excitement, they jump on the dugout roof and start dancing while spraying champagne into the crowd.


After the game, we get dessert at Traffic Jam & Snug in Midtown even though my left eye has swollen to twice its size so that I can only see out of my right eye.


The next day in school, people are asking me what happened and I tell them the truth:


“I got in a fight with a Tiger.”


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