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The Day My Life Changed

             It was summer break in June 1994 and my two brothers and I were spending the summer with my Father. I was 13 years old, my brother Jason was 14 and Timothy was nine. My brothers had already gone home because it was my Mother's birthday, but since I was attending summer school at the middle school near my Father's house he said I needed to stay. I called my Mother to tell her that I wanted to come home for her birthday, she said she would see what she could do. I knew that she would probably wait a while and then call my Father and ask if I could come home for a while.
             After I finished my homework my Father and I started to talk. I knew at the time he had fought in the Vietnam war but I did not discover until later the effect it had on him. He raised a family and worked on the same job for almost 20 years before the stress finally caught up with him as it did many of his veteran friends. What started out as a casual conversation usually ended up with him speaking very passionately and emotionally about what he called "life". As he talked I could feel his struggle to express himself and release something that he had bottled up inside. Although I didn't always understand what he was trying to say, I always felt his pain. He told me that I was 13 and I was entering manhood and reminded me that my brother spent the summer with him when he was 13. I remember thinking how Jason had changed that summer after his visit. He seemed more mature and serious. At the time I thought that wasn't a good thing because it took away from some of the fun we used to have. After our talk, and for reasons I still cannot explain, I called my Mother and told her that I decided to stay. I went to bed not knowing that that night would change my life.
             I awaken to the sound of voices and scuffling as if someone was fighting. I lay in bed trying to figure out what was going on then I decided to go and see.

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