It started out like any other day. Bright. Sunny. Everything was perfect. That day was planned for laughter and excitement for anyone that wanted to be involved. It ended up being around 7 of us. All ROTC kids of course. It was summer time and every now and then, hang outs were just needed. They were absolutely necessary to ensure friendships were kept close. I had my car and I was the one who usually drove, being the taxi service. I picked up my first person and then proceeded until my car was full. We made our way down to Lake Leamon. An oasis far from the beach in which we were all used to seeing. Lake Leamon was about 45 minutes outside. Located near the town of Wallace. We had finally arrived at our destination and nothing could go wrong.
This lake consisted of 3 high jumps off a dock and a big floating device in the center of the lake. There were a few other people there just swimming around. Clouds were starting to form on the horizon. I got really bored of swimming so I went inside to order some corndogs and play a game of pool with a friend. The boys were outside playing on the floating device, playing king of the mountain. This game involves pushing people off the dock and claiming victory of being the only person on the mountain. Overall, they had about 7 or 8 people playing. The girls were laying out on the sand, getting a tan. I was playing the jukebox inside and shooting around. Then the screaming started.
Everyone was yelling and no one knew what was going on. I ran outside and look towards the water. The boy I was dating at the time was floating in the water near the device and people surrounded him. They proceeded to float his body toward the shore line. He was still breathing but unable to move at all. They picked up his motionless body and placed it on the picnic table. Someone yelled call 9-1-1. I was still confused but then I heard the stories. They were playing King of the Mountain. He fell into the water….pretty normal. But then another kid, twice his size and most likely 200 pounds more fell right on top of him. Something went terribly wrong that day. He heard his neck snap. Too scared to move, he lay motionless on the table. The red lights came flashing up. The sirens were heard and everyone stood still. They strapped him in and everyone ran to their cars. Thats when the rain started.
Driving. More than 90 miles per hour. Following the red lights as best as we could, no one spoke in the car. Everyone had left their belongings at the lake. No one wanted to live him alone. We arrived at the emergency room in the next town over. Everyone walked into the waiting room and we waited. waited. and waited some more. Thats when I found out that the mother was never told her son was this far out of town. He was only supposed to be 10 minutes away, playing in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. He most definitely wasn’t supposed to be playing around with strangers 45 minutes away in thunderstorms. The mother had hated me from the start. Being a couple years older than him, it was “frowned” upon by both the parents that I was just not right for him. Therefore, me transporting her son to a location that far away probably wasn’t the best idea. In my defense, I thought both parents were aware of the plans. Thats when she walked in.
Time stood still. Everything was in slow motion. Everyone was aware of the situation that I was in. When she walked in, all eyes were pointed at me. I sat there, like the rest of the people. I had my head in my hands of course, not knowing what to even think about this whole situation. She walked right by me. Not a single word was said. She consoled the people around me, saying everything was going to be okay but not a single word or look was given my way. As she walked through the back doors, that’s when I stood up. I was leaving. I couldnt be in that room any longer. Others left with me, needing to go home. We drove home. It was pouring cats and dogs. We had to drive 30 under the speed limit. Everything ahead was not visible 5 feet in front of my car. Flashing emergency lights were on every car. Hours later, we reached home.
In the end, he had only pulled / strained a muscle in his neck which is where the pain was coming from. He was grounded of course and I was totally off limits til further notice. Things eventually went back to normal. Although some items were left behind at the lake like a Jonas Brothers Pink Towel, my corn dogs and a unfinished game of pool, things weren’t as bad as they could have been. I remember that day very clearly. It went from great to tragic within two hours.
I never forgot the smells of the sunscreen. The screams of the friends. The following of the ambulance. The smell of the emergency room. The silence in the car ride home.
Funny how you remember some things and totally forget everything else.
Memories can be so fond.