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The Life Changing Decision

It’s been almost five months since my parents got divorced and everything has changed since then. Our dad Cameron Jae Keizer, got custody of my siblings and I. It’s been really tough for me since I’m the oldest, well not exactly, I have an older brother Tyler but he’s already in college. My mom Alaina Nicole Keizer, moved out after the divorce and I don’t really know where she is now. She promised she’d call but she never did, I’m not all that surprised she didn’t. Just before things got complicated between my parents, mom was already screwing up. She was never home and when she was, she was too drunk to be able to do anything, like spend time with my younger siblings, Cailey May, who is only eight years old, and Ethan Cole, who is fourteen. I feel sorry for them, Cailey keeps asking me if mom and dad are getting back together.
“No, I don’t think they are, but don’t worry, she’ll come and visit us when she gets a chance,” I say.
Ethan just shakes his head and whispers under his breath, “Yeah, right.”
I wish it wasn’t this way, it’s not fair, but I guess it never is, is it? I wish mom would at least call and say “Hi” to Ethan and Cailey, they need it the most. I’m not saying I don’t want to talk to my mom, its just I’m older and I can handle it better compared to Ethan and Cailey. Ethan acts like he doesn’t care about mom anymore, but deep down I know he does.
Everything has been really messed up, mom is gone, who knows where she is now, and dad, well, he’s always working and when he comes home, he heads straight to bed and after a couple of hours, he goes back to work again. So I’m stuck in the middle. I have to take care of my siblings and at the same time still make time to hang out with my friends and deal with school. It’s not easy trying to be a parent at seventeen.

Speaking of school, I have to start applying to colleges. Graduation is just around the corner. I don’t exactly know where I want to go but I was kind of thinking of going to University of California Los Angeles, also known as UCLA. It’s a pretty well known school, I think a lot of people have at least heard of it. It’s not that far away from where I live now, which is in Malibu. So I can always drive back up to visit my family. Anyway, I don’t think its going to be that hard for me to get into UCLA since my grades are all A’s and I have a really good work ethic. Although right now, I’m not really sure if I should go to college or not. I want to go, but I’m worried that if I leave, my siblings will get ignored and nobody is going to take care of them. I don’t want that to happen, they’ve gone through enough already. I don’t know what I’m going to do. All I know is that I have a lot to think about.
I look out my window, it’s a beautiful day outside, and I’m wasting it sitting here on my bed, in my messy room. Seriously, it’s really messy, you can’t even see the floor at the moment, but I don’t care. So I get up and take a quick shower. I head downstairs and as I walk in the living room, I gaze at Ethan and his friends through the window playing basketball while Cailey is watching Disney Channel.
“Hey sunshine, what you up to?”
“Hi Aaron, do you want come and watch Wizards of Waverly Place with me?”
“Do I have a choice?”
“No”, she says sweetly.
I sit on the couch beside her and stare at the TV. Then all of a sudden my phone rings, it’s my friend Jake.
“Hey, dude, what’s up”, I answer.
“Look, we’re all at the beach, you should come, everybody is here and Brittney’s waiting for you.”
That’s one of the things I love about living in Malibu, California. You receive plenty of sunshine and there’s always time to go and visit the beaches, maybe even go surfing just one of the many ways to keep your body in shape. I’m very athletic and I love sports and since the beach is like my backyard, that’s where I spend my most of time.

“I can’t right now, dads not home yet.”
“Here, Britt wants to talk to you.”
Brittney, my girlfriend, we’ve been together for a year, another reason why I don’t want to go to college yet.
“Hey, Britt.”
“Aaron, are you coming?”
“I can’t right now, how about I meet you there in an hour?”
“Okay, I’ll see you soon, bye.”
She hung up before I could say anything back. I hate it when she does that but I love her anyway. I don’t want to leave her, but we both know that we can’t be with each other in a long distance relationship. It’s never going to work.
Cailey taps my shoulder and asks, “Are you leaving somewhere?”
“Yeah, but not right now, I’ll wait till dad gets home, ok?”
She nods and continues watching TV.
“Are you hungry?”
“Uh huh, I want spaghetti”, she whines.
“Umm, how about I fix you a sandwich?”
“That works too.”
I stand up and head towards the kitchen and just before I reach the fridge, I trip over a toy. Cailey immediately cracks up laughing. Wow that was stupid, I thought to myself. Though it’s not the first time I’ve done something like that. I remember when I was at a party and I ran into a sliding door, it was embarrassing. Everybody was laughing at me, I looked like a total idiot.

Anyway, I finish making Cailey’s sandwich, I made one for Ethan too, just I case he gets hungry.
“Sunshine, your sandwich is on the counter.”
“Okay”
She finally gets up and starts eating her sandwich. I look up on the clock that’s hanging from the wall, its four, dad should be here any minute now. I stand there waiting when suddenly my phone rings, its dad.
“Hello?” I answer.
“Aaron, um….look…..uh, how do I say this.....”, dad mumbles.
“What?” I said with an annoyed voice.
“Look, your grandpa had a heart attack.”
“What, what do you mean?” I said stunned.
“Grandpa Keizer had a heart attack, he…he’s ….gone.”
I felt tears running down my cheeks.
“Aaron, are you still there?”
“Yeah.”
For a while I stood there in complete silence, shocked about what I just heard.
“Should I mention anything?”
“No, I’m on my way home, I can tell them”
I hung up and sat on a chair. Ethan walked in the door and asked, “Is everything okay.”
“Um, no, look, dad is on his way here, he has some bad news he needs to tell you.”
“What is it?”
“Just….just wait, okay?”

They were both starring at me, confused and also kind of mad. I can’t believe he’s gone, he was my favorite grandpa, and we always played sports together. I just can’t believe it, two days ago he was here, playing hide and seek with Ethan and Cailey. Now he’s gone, people seem to have just disappeared in my family. First its mom, now its grandpa, I was always afraid that something like this would happen, now it did. It’s all a living nightmare for all of us. We never expected or wanted any of this to happen. Grandpa was only sixty-three, and to me that’s still kind f young, well, it sure isn’t that old anyway.


Dad walks in the door, all three of us look at him with a sad look on our face. He told Ethan and Cailey to go to the living room while I ran upstairs to my room. A few minutes later there was a knock on my door, I said, “Come in.”
It was Cailey, puffy eyed from crying.
“Come here, sunshine.”
She hugged me and continued crying on my shoulder.
I called Brittney and told her I couldn’t come because of what just happened. She came over and visited for a while. She gave me a hug trying to comfort me and make me feel a little bit better.
“Aaron, it’ll be okay.”
“I know, it’s just, I don’t know.”
“Smile, I hate seeing you like this.”
She was tickling me and I smiled.
“There we go, now I can see your dimples and your beautiful green eyes.”
We both laughed.
“I’m jealous of your dimples you know that?”
“I know.”
Britt stayed and made us dinner that night. We talked for hours, about everything, but she had to be home before midnight.

We held grandpa’s funeral at Green Acres Memorial Park. It was a sorrowful day for everybody. We all love him and he will be greatly missed.
Two weeks have passed since the funeral and it still feels awkward with out him but we’re starting get use to it. It’s difficult for all of us, but things are slowly getting back to normal, somehow. Hopefully it’ll get better.
I graduated not too long ago and now I’m working a part time job as a mechanic. Everything has been so much better than how it used to be. Dad met someone named Heather and they’re really serious about their relationship.
One night right after I got home from work dad pulled me aside to talk to me.
“Aaron, I need to talk to you about something.”
“Yeah, what is it?”
“Well, you know that Heather and I have been with each other for quite sometime now and I wanted you to know that we’re planning on getting married.”
“Really?”
“Yupp, I wanted to know what you think about Heather and if you we’re okay with having her as your mom.”
“Umm, wow, I think its wonderful that you two are getting married, but I’ll have to get use to her being my mom.”
“Take your time, well, you should go to bed it’s late.”
“Yeah, good night dad.”
I personally don’t have a problem with Heather, I think she’s great. She loves kids and enjoys taking care of my siblings. Were getting along fine and Cailey and Ethan seem to really like her too. It was kind of shocking but somehow we knew that it was coming, I’m really happy for them. I’m glad that Heather came along, now there’s going to be someone there to take care of Ethan and Cailey and I can finally go to college without worrying.

Four months ago, I received a letter from UCLA and I got accepted. It’s great but, I don’t know, things were just starting to get better here, if I leave it’ll be horrible, Ethan and Cailey will be devastated. I never told my family about it but I asked my friends opinion. They were all pressuring me to stay and wait for at least a year. I thought about it, and decided that I guess I’ll stay for a year. I called UCLA they said that they’ll put my application on hold.
One night, while we were eating dinner, Cailey brought up the subject of me going to college. She wanted to know what I was going to do or if I was leaving them or not. I guess its time for me to share my plans to them.
“Listen everybody, I have something important to say.”
“Look, I’ve decided to stay here with you guys for a year and then I’m going to head off to college.”
I was the look on Ethan and Cailey’s faces, they couldn’t look any happier.
“Really?!” Cailey shouted.
“Yeah, really.”
I smiled and gave them a big hug. I glanced at dad, he looked happy. I think he’s glad that I decided to stay for a while.
“Dad, its okay with you if I stayed for another year right?”
“Of course, son.”
“Thank you.”
Cailey and Ethan were very enthusiastic that I stayed, I haven’t seen them smile that big in so long. I think I made the right decision to stay and take care of my siblings. We spent a lot of time together. During the summer I took them to the beach and park to play and when school began, I helped them with their homework. It has been a wonderful spending a whole year with them watching them grow and learn. Sadly, a year has passed and the time has come for me to leave and head off to college.
It’s another beautiful day outside and I just finished packing my stuff and dragging my suitcases downstairs to the car. I said goodbye to everybody and gave them one last big hug. I’m going to miss those guys.
“Bye, Aaron,” said Cailey.
“See you Cailey, I’ll come and visit soon, okay?”
“Okay, I’ll see you soon.”
“Bye, everyone.”
I hop in the car and the bright sunshine is blinding my face that I can barely see the road. As I pull out of the driveway I look back and see my family standing on the side of the road, waving goodbye. I quickly wave back and continue driving to Los Angeles. I space out and think back on the memories I spent with them driving down memory lane.





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