It was early July and my friend Chad and I decided to join his family at the lake.
Chad’s family was already up at the lake, and had some extra room in the condo. So we
figured, what the hell, we could go for some boating. Right.
The lake the only about a two-hour drive away. We were driving in Chad’s
father’s convertible sports car, so the drive was quite pleasant. We drove through
twisting canyons and long straight roads going just slightly over the speed limit. We
arrived at our destination at record-breaking time, which didn’t seem to make his parents
too happy. Along with Chad’s family, which consists of four brothers and one sister,
were some neighbor friends of theirs and their five-year-old son Nick. The rest of the
day was spent miniature golfing and playing catch with Chad’s little brothers.
On the following morning we went with Chad’s parents to rent the boat. We got
the boat and loaded it up with the gear. We broke the family into groups so each one
could have their own time on the boat. Our group was the one that wanted to ski, wake
board, ride on the tube, and throw each other off the tube. The other group consisted of
people that either didn’t want to ski or were too young. All the younger kids were in this
group. Our group was the first to have the boat. We spent hours and hours out on the
lake and had an awesome time, even though I got one of the worst sunburns in my life.
We returned with the boat so the other group could take their turn. As the second group
left on the boat we decided to just go lounge in the swimming pool.
After about a half-hour, Chad’s mom came running in and said they had an
accident with the boat and that little Nick was knocked unconscious. We ran from the
pool to see what exactly happened. Chad’s sister told us that another boat was traveling
way too fast in the no-wake zone while not paying attention and struck the front of
our boat. When the boats collided it took everyone a few minutes to notice that Nick was
lying face down on the floor of the boat. Panic arose when his mother noticed him lying
there motionless. It turned out the other boat actually hit this little boy in the head when
they collided. We were all in shock that something like this could happen. The
ambulance arrived shortly after the accident and started to work on reviving poor Nick. I
remember walking back to the condo with Chad, lightly joking about the situation,
saying, wouldn’t that suck if Nick died. We were sure he would be fine and awake with a
horrible headache at anytime. Hours passed and soon we saw a helicopter that seemed to
be flying really low. We then noticed that the helicopter was Life-Flight. We were
confused; he just bumped his head, right? What do they need Life-Flight here for? As
the time slowly passed we heard that the crew was trying to stabilize his life signs and
that there was some hemorrhaging of the brain. Life-Flight finally took off and got him
to a hospital. We all went to bed that night silently, just thinking about what had taken
place that day. Why it had happened to him? He’s only five years old. Perhaps if
someone older would have gotten hit they would have been fine.
I awoke in the morning to the sound of the phone ringing, and it gave me a
queasy feeling in my stomach. I could only hear half of the conversation, but I
understood enough to know what happened. Little Nicholas never awoke from the coma.
That moment in my life made me realize just how fragile life is.
To this day I can’t help but think, what if it would have been me? Would I have been all
right because I was older? Or would the same thing happen to me or anyone else.
That was the last time I went to that lake. I don’t know when, or even if, I will
ever go back.