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Upside the Noggin

I was little, probably around 7, when I dropped a quad on my little brother’s head. He was a year younger than me and still at that stage where he followed me around and did whatever his big sister said. We had plenty of games that we played, but one of our favorite things to do was play make- believe. We would spend hours pretending to be chefs, artists, or in this case, mechanics. The day this unfortunate event took place we had gotten bored with riding our bikes and had decided that, despite being told we weren’t allowed in the garage without a grown up, we were going to play mechanic because it was one game we’d never tried.

The garage door was halfway open so it wasn’t to hard sneak in when the time came. It felt like at any minute my Dad could come busting in and we’d get caught so I was as stealthy as any 7 year old can hope to be when I tiptoed over and flipped on the lights. I turned back around to see my brother laying on his back under a 70cc quad with a wrench in his hand poking at the underside of it. A manual jack with a long black lever was holding the quad about 2 feet off the ground and I cringed at the sight of Hunter sprawled underneath it. He wasn’t at all afraid of enclosed spaces or getting stuck somewhere, but I was, so I couldn’t imagine sliding into the cramped space between the floor and the quad and being so nonchalant about it.

He was mumbling and banging things around down there acting like he knew what the heck he was doing. I stifled a laugh and handed him the little hammer he asked for. I was perfectly content to sit there on the spinning red chair and watch him “work”. It was also my job to keep a look out for my Dad encase he came wondering in. Part of what made this little adventure of ours so exciting was how forbidden it was. Hunter kept asking me for random tools and doodads and I kept forking them over. At one point he crawled out from underneath the quad and we messed with the jack. We figured out how to raise and lower it by maneuvering the black lever. Hunter raised it up another foot and a half and had me holding the lever while he partially crouched under it.

It was when he asked me to hand him the screwdriver sitting on top of the toolbox to my left that things went rotten. To reach the screwdriver I had to let go of the jack lever, which I did without pulling the little red latch that locked the lever into place. I had just turned and taken a step when I heard the whoosh of air as the jack’s lever sliced through the air then Hunter screamed and there was a huge BAM!
I whirled around and stared dazed for a minute at my brother lying on the floor clutching his bleeding head. The quad had slammed to the ground and the frame had smacked Hunter a good one upside the noggin. He was already bleeding and his head was starting to swell. I finally got myself together and started screaming for my parents. Fortunately my Dad had been outside somewhere and was in the garage the minute he heard Hunter and me shouting. He scooped him up off the floor and yelled at me to go get my Mom.

The next few hours where a blur. We all piled into the car with my brother and my Dad in the backseat and me riding shotgun. Mom was driving us to the hospital and in hysterics the whole way there. I was in a weird state of shock. My over active & year old imagination was getting to me and I kept seeing Hunter's gravestone in my head and imaging life as an only child. I kept replaying the whole scene over and over in my head and I felt so guilty, like all of it was my fault.

It was during that car ride to the hospital that I realized how close me and my brother really were. I thought about what it meant to have someone else with the exact same upbringing and family who understood you. I realized how important he was to me, and figured out that we weren’t invincible and neither were our parents. It was a big day for my family in all sorts of ways. For me it was an epiphany, for my parents a bad scare and hard lesson, and for my brother it was 3 weeks of ice packs, pain medication, and no strenuous activity.





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