On the last day of summer vacation, the boys took their customary walk up to the rock. They were looking forward to being with their friends again and to participating in all of the activities available at boarding school. There had been no further episodes with their parents but the tension was still always there. Robert sat with his brothers for a while but soon became bored with their conversation and walked a bit further down the trail. Once out of their sight he pulled out his slingshot and began firing stones at anything that moved.

Jason tried meditating like Peter but could not concentrate well because he could hear Robert off in the distance. He kind of liked doing some of the things with Robert… but he knew Peter did not approve.

“What’s the matter?” Peter asked, sensing Jason’s restlessness.

“Nothing,” Jason responded, unconvincingly.

“You bored?” he asked, as he sat up and stretched out his arms.

“Yeah, a little I guess.”

“Are you looking forward to going back to school?” Peter continued.

“It’s better than being here.”

“I know,” Peter answered, “sometimes I feel the same way.”

“Do you think Mom and Dad will start drinking again?”

“I don’t know,” Peter answered, “I think they would like to stop, but it is not easy for them because they use drinking to get rid of their pain.”

“Do we hurt them?” Jason asked quite seriously.

“I suppose we do sometimes… but I think most of their pain comes from a long time ago before we were born.”

“Will we grow up to be like them?”

“No!” Peter answered reassuringly. “When I graduate I am going to get a good job in town. I’ll save up my money and buy a good car so that we can go to the movies on the weekends. We can build a room on the house and…”

“You mean a room for us?” Jason asked excitedly, as he began to realize Peter’s dream.

“Sure… and we’ll buy some new furniture and real beds…”

“And I can get some new clothes?” Jason added hopefully.

“Of course, and maybe you could go to school in town and I can pick you up when I get out of work. Just think… no more dorms.”

“That will be really neat!” Jason answered, as he smiled and threw his arms around Peter. “I can hardly wait.”

“Well… it’s not going to be right away, but no one can stop us from dreaming, can they.”

In the years that followed they continued to build on that dream, despite the fact that not much was changing. Robert’s attitude was becoming increasingly negative toward them and toward life in general, yet they believed he would come around once the changes started happening.

Peter had grown considerably over the years; his tall slender body set him apart from his classmates and had also earned a starting position on the varsity basketball team. He was nearly seventeen and very much looking forward to his senior year of high school.

Robert, on the other hand, had grown more muscular but not nearly as tall as Peter. He had tried playing football but didn’t like the discipline that went with it. He was not doing well in classes either and was thinking about dropping out of school.

Jason had grown but still looked very boyish at eleven years of age. Evidence of his growing maturity however could be seen behind his dark brown eyes and many of his teachers would tell him how much he resembled Peter. He was also an exceptional student but not very good at sports.

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