Terror on the Lake

October 8, 2010
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Terror on the Lake

“We have to call 9-1-1,” my dad announced.

A quick thought streamed through my head. Jesus help me.

Earlier that Saturday, the skies were bright blue, waves rippled across the lake, and people gathered at the boat marina. As a family, we opted to take a boat ride across the lake. As soon as I saw the insurance papers being filled out, something seemed a little fishy. I came across a frightening thought of some bad luck to happen, but I let the thought flow out of my brain.

“Time for some fun,” my dad said.

One by one, we entered into speedboat number nineteen. Without hesitation, I claimed the passenger seat, which was found on the left side from the driver’s seat. Seconds later, my dad inserted the key.

“Here we go!” he announced.

The boat ignited like a dragster, thunderous and furious. Gingerly, our speedboat swayed back and forth as we slowly moved out of the marina. Once the boat cleared the “safety zone”, it revved up as a rocket. Speeds gradually increased, my eyes squinted more, and the breeze intensified. Shredding through the waters, we gazed upon the green, hilly lands. Suddenly, the boat stopped.

“I want to go to the front,” my mom demanded.

While the boat was idle, I peered at its features -- typical cushioned seating, standard life vests, two glass panels, and ten to fifteen feet of white, sandpapery floors. Vroom! Our speedboat roared again, but this time it sounded like King Kong.

Five minutes later, we were in cruise control; my dad was making a slight left until ... BANG ... BANG. Two hard thumps and I crashed onto the ground.

What the hell happened?! I thought.

Our boat hauled to a sudden stop. Woozy as I was, I heard moaning and crying -- it was my mom. I arose from the ground (still with dizziness and confusion) and saw my mom lying on the ground, stomach faced toward the boat’s floor.

“My God. Oh my God.” I whispered.

Out of nowhere, my grandmother gasped. “What...?” I asked, pausing briefly.

There was instant silence when I glanced at the floor; I was in shock.

“Blood! From who, where?”

I scanned each family member to see where it came from; my dad responded, “From you...”

My eyes bulged, and I urgently patted myself down -- chest up. As I placed my hand below the cheek, I felt an open wound; my fingers were lightly coated with a red tinge. Startled as I was, I forced myself to ignore the wound and take care of my mom and grandma instead.

“Any injury grandma?” I questioned.

She shook her head; however, I noticed a small cut and some bruising. My attention rather turned to the distress of my mom as she steadily lay on the floor in tears and agony.

“Help me lift her to the back,” he mentioned.

We carried her to the back like a feather, and with caution, rested her on the ground.

My dad then said, “We have to call 9-1-1.

Only one thought splashed into my mind. Jesus help me.

He lend me the phone saying that I had to dial the number while he drove us back to the marina. Nervously, I pressed on the numbers 9. 1. 1. For some reason, there was no response.

“Dammit...dammit!” I stammered.

My dad eased the boat’s speed to roughly fifteen miles per hour.

“Please go slower!” I shrieked.

“I can’t! We have to go quickly to the hospital!” my dad responded with a demanding voice.

“Just please don’t go too fast. I’m too concerned about my moms’ condition.”
Out of the blue, we noticed a man that was refueling a boat on a dock.

My dad hollered, “Help!” and the man faced our direction.

“What’cha need?” he replied.

“Please call 9-1-1 for us; we have injured people,” my dad yelped.

The conversation continued, specifying a location to meet and getting an ambulance set.

The man said, “I’m on it.”

Hurriedly, my dad continued to drive the boat back to its natural habitat. Between fifteen to twenty minutes, silence filtered the boat as we progressed towards the marina. Then the marina could be seen, and a football field away from it was where the ambulance parked.

“Finally, help.” I said, and then I took a moment to say a prayer for everyone to have a speedy recovery.

After I said my prayer, the boat rested idly beside the dock. At least six paramedics came over to the boat. Two helped carry my grandma and I out of the boat while the rest assisted my mom.

I’m just hoping she’ll be fine. I thought.

Suddenly, I was placed inside the ambulance and lost sight of my grandma. After being asked a few dozen questions barely able to speak, I saw from the corner of my eye my mom in a stretcher. Now, seconds felt like years; the drive to the hospital was like a visit to a funeral -- no happiness in sight.

The ambulance halted, and one by one, we were carted out. Dashing through the ER doors, the doctors managed to transport my mom and I into separate rooms.

The feeling of concern grew inside of me, “What will happen next?”

Moments later, a nurse came in to check in with me.

The questions from her piled on, but she concluded by saying, “The doctor will stitch you up shortly. You’ll be just fine.”

That was relieving news to hear, but I was eager to know of my mom’s condition. Now the seconds were ticking as fast as Roadrunner (from the cartoons).

At one point, I remember when I muttered, “Come on doc, hustle up already!”

A few minutes later and my grandma popped up. She was in tears, and I knew instantly that it was about my mom.

“Her back...her back...is broken.” she faltered.

“It can’t be, it can’t be,” I said.

She froze and stood there like a statue. Then my dad came and claimed that everything would be okay in the end. I lay there, stumbling at the thought of how my mom was agonizing in pain.

Eventually, the doctor came.

“Will this hurt at all?” I asked.

“Not at all,” he responded.

I closed my eyes and imagined the procedure he was doing. Slowly inserting the steel needle, the medical thread glided through my skin. The minuscule droplets of blood trickled out, and after twelve more “rounds”, the wound was sealed.

“All done. That wasn’t bad, right?” he questioned.

I opened my eyes and said, “Nope. Pain free the whole time.”

Instantly, I sprung off the stretcher and followed my dad and grandma to where my mom lay. That’s where my heart sunk, and my smile immediately rotated one hundred and eighty degrees. She cried endlessly, complaining of the pain in her back; now I believed what my grandma had said.

“Do something!” I repeated to myself.

I couldn’t move, as if I had set my feet in concrete.

I did manage to say, “Mom, please calm down. You’ll be okay.”

Mere seconds later, doctors came in and said, “She’s gotta be airlifted to Barnes Jewish Hospital.”

“Why?” my dad questioned.

“We cannot determine whether or not she’ll need surgery. Either way, we do not have the tools for her treatment.”

“Hmm...so be it then. We have to go; say goodbye to mom for now,” he said.

My grandma and I each took turns saying goodbye (for the time being) to my mom.

Walking out of the hospital, my grandma and I followed my dad to the car. After two hours or driving (including some random car blowing out a tire), we arrived in
St. Louis. That night and the next morning, our family was restless but focused on my mom’s condition. It turned out that she didn’t need surgery. What she did need was prolonged bed rest and therapy.

The following week, I had my stitches removed.

Time to forget about this freak accident and enjoy the summer while I can.

After a month, the thoughts of the boat accident were like an opened box of legos. My mom and grandma quickly healed from their physical and mental scars. The house rapidly changed back to its normal scenario, but the accident could still be remembered.

One day, my mom wrote a letter about the crash. She told me to write a portion of the letter to clarify certain sequences of that horrific day. I sat down on a chair, beside the computer, thinking.

Do I really want to think about this? I thought.

Too late. My fingers slammed onto the keyboard. I wrote profusely, and jotted down any thought that came to me.

“Done.” I said. I dashed out of the seat and out of the room. I never came back to it for the rest of the day; I wished that my mom hadn’t commanded me to write about an event that I dread of. From that day on, nothing had changed. The emotional scars gradually vanished, and our family has moved on. It was like a thunderstorm lasting for fifteen minutes and then a bright sunny day after.

Occasionally, I look back at the two inch scar below my chin. I think of the number nineteen and how much I hate it now. I recall my mom’s aches and pains, my grandmother’s fears, and those two waves that came from nowhere. Those two waves that could’ve caused a lot more damage to my family -- or to me.

I have noticed that I ponder over my decisions now, cautiously skimming over pros and cons of those scenarios. Every so often, I get plausible glimpses of future events. I stumble over the images, yet I ignore them, thinking they won’t happen.
However, I still recall that horrifying thought I had before the boat accident occurred. When my dad was filling out the insurance papers, that thought was about how my family and I could’ve been severely injured. I pictured the distress on the boat, how one of us could have passed away. For me, that’s an ugly sight to look back on, but that is the reason why I take my choices into some consideration now. I stare at that scar again and wonder if I’ll ever go through another crisis again.

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