The boys were still sleeping when the sun came up the following morning. Birds began chirping as they fluttered between branches of the tall oak tree growing in the back of the house. An old blue car pulled off of the main road and slowly made its way up the trail leading to the house. Steam was rolling out from beneath the smashed hood, as it came to a jerking halt near the front porch.

From the passenger’s side of the car, a woman stepped out and closed the door behind her. She looked much older than her 29 years as she staggered toward the steps. Her long black hair had come undone, exposing the grey areas she had tried to hide. Her eyes were red and glassy and her face was swollen from an infected cut on her lip.

Little evidence remained of the beautiful young girl who had once represented her freshman class at the homecoming dance. Emma was fifteen then and proud of the achievements she had made. In her sophomore year, she fell in love with a tall handsome junior named Peter, who was Captain of the Varsity basketball team. He talked of marriage and said he could give her the kind of life she had always dreamed of. She believed him… but then during the Christmas break found out that she was pregnant.

Emma explained her condition to Peter upon returning to school after the break and was relieved when he said that he wanted to continue their relationship. He was with her on the reservation when the baby was born in July of that year but because of the distance between their homes could not spend much time with her. She named her son after him in the hopes that doing so would strengthen their relationship.

Leaving the baby at home with her mother, Emma returned to the boarding school in the Fall and renewed her relationship with Peter. Everything was going great until that Christmas vacation when again she realized that she was pregnant. Peter’s reaction, when she told him, was not at all what she had hoped for. He stared at her for a moment and then without warning punched her in the face, knocking her to the ground. “Don’t you ever come near me again, you Whore!” he shouted as he walked away.

The school was unsympathetic and insisted that she have an abortion if she wanted to stay in school. She chose not to and returned to the reservation and her family. Robert was born at the beginning of August and a short time later she found a job as a waitress in a small café on the outskirts of town.

Herbert Pinto stepped out of the driver’s side of the car and followed his wife Emma to the porch. His graying hair was cut short and through it could be seen the scars of many fights. His hands were shaking as he pulled the padlock key from his pocket.

He had never done well in school and so at fifteen when his mother became ill, he decided to drop out and take care of her. She died two years later at home and he buried her close to the house. He lived alone in the small adobe house that his mother had left him and managed to survive on money from odd jobs and handouts he got on the streets in town. He started drinking and by the age of twenty-four, he had been in jail countless times. He had almost given up hope of ever having a family until one day when he walked into a small café on the outskirts of town. It was there that he met Emma for the first time and a few months later they were married.

Emma moved her belongings and her children into the small adobe house and tried to make a home for them. They managed to survive on her welfare checks and the occasional money he received from odd jobs. It was not at all what either of them had dreamed of but it did at least satisfy some of their basic needs. Jason was born eleven months later in the back room of the house.

The sound of the keys in the lock startled the boys from their sleep and they all sat up, anxiously looking at the door. It was their mother who stepped through the door first and immediately Jason jumped up to greet her. “Mommy!” he shouted as he threw his arms around her waist.

Caught off guard and still half drunk she defensively pushed him away from her. “What are you doing here?” she demanded. Tears formed in Jason’s eyes as he picked himself up from the floor.

“We’re home for the summer, Mom,” Peter answered, as he walked over and put his arm around Jason.

Their father stepped in and surveyed the house. “What did you do to the place!” he demanded as if upset that the room was changed.

“We just cleaned it up some,” Peter responded.
“Wasn’t good enough for you the way it was?” he asked defensively.

“We didn’t mean for it to upset, Father,” Peter answered with a slight quiver in his voice. “Your bed is ready if you would like to lie down and rest for a bit,” he added, hoping to prevent an argument.

Realizing their condition, they decided to take his advice and both of them headed for the back room. The boys picked up their cushions and folded the blankets and when they were finished, Peter checked and found both of their parents passed out on the bed. “Let’s get out of here for a while,” he whispered, nodding toward the door.

“Look it’s the Eagle!” Jason exclaimed as he stepped onto the porch. They all stood for a moment and watched it gliding high above them.

“Race you to the rock!” Robert shouted as he leaped from the porch.

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