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The Age of Exploration

My siblings and I never fought with each other, as that typical “sibling rivalry” would imply. As a matter of fact, we were closer to each other than we were to anyone else. We treated each other like best friends, rather than just a quiet little brother, or an older, “everyone must listen to me,” jerk. Life was so much fun when my siblings were around because when they were gone, I was just an extremely bored, only child. The days I spent with them were full of fun and adventure, but the times that they were gone were filled with loneliness and boredom.

I was their half brother; we all belonged to the same dad, but I had a different mother than them. I only got to see them every other weekend and for the whole month of July during summer break. Despite the small amount of time we had to see each other, we always made the most out of it. I remember those weekends as if they were a two-day long party, energized by constant fun and trouble.

The majority of the time we spent together was outside. We lived in a small community, Leisure Cove, made up of four houses, and a set of apartments. The four houses were close to the lake, two houses on each side of the ramp that lead in to the portion of the lake accessible from Leisure Cove. Our house was the only two story house in the neighborhood, and it was the closest to the water. The apartments were separated from the four houses by a big, green lot that bore only one tree. The apartments were fairly large, three bedrooms, and two bathrooms per apartment. Woods and Caddo Lake surrounded our small community. There was only one road that led to the highway, but there was another that led to a nearby fishing camp. We explored these woods frequently, finding new, exciting places each and every time. On several occasions we found clearings in the midst of the woods. We imagined these clearings being a sanctuary in the middle of an exotic jungle, (that somehow consisted of pine trees and thorny vines). We played in these clearings for hours, moving from one idea to the next fluidly and without ever discussing it. Once we had discovered everything about the woods that we could, we had decided to become a little more “creative” on how and where we played. We began turning our small little community into our very own playing field.

We began to open the windows of the empty apartments and climb in, imagining we were the owners of our very own house. On one particular occasion, we were caught doing this. The owner of the apartment complex, Mrs. Silvia, unlocked the door to show it to a potential renter, so as soon as we heard the footsteps, we turned out the lights, and we all assumed different hiding positions. JJ was the smartest and hid in one of the storage closets behind some junk that was in it. Deana chose the second best hiding place: inside of the lowest bathroom cabinet. I chose a very typical, childish spot, behind one of the open doors. I assumed that this would be a good spot because the open door was right next to the bathroom cabinets, so they could not make it to the side where I would be most visible. Unfortunately, Michael chose the worst spot. He hid in the bath tub, behind the shower curtain. Mrs. Silvia began showing her guest around the house. She passed JJ’s hiding spot without even the slightest glance. Then she entered the bathroom where Deana, Michael, and I were hiding. The look on her face was priceless when she pulled back the shower curtain to see a blond hair, blue eyed child standing there. She let out a very loud scream, which terrified her guest. He turned and ran out of the bathroom as Mrs. Silvia realized that it was one of the trouble making children from the two story house. JJ heard the scream, so he jumped out of his hiding spot, hitting the potential renter of the apartment with the closet door. This only frightened the poor man more as he ran into the closest bedroom and slammed the door shut. Deana and I jumped out of our hiding spots at the same moment too and scared Mrs. Silvia just enough for Michael to slip past her and out of the bathroom, with me and Deana trailing right behind him. We all leapt out of the window and ran around the side of the apartment, into the safety of the woods. We hid in the woods giggling and laughing about what had just happened for about an hour or two. Then we all returned home to get a nice snack along with a cold drink. Unfortunately, our parents were waiting for us. They had already prepared their long, riled speech about how, “We shouldn’t have been in there,” and we were asked things such as, “Do you want to have to move?” We had heard similar speeches on many occasions, so we sat idly, finding small, sly ways to keep ourselves entertained without our parents knowing that they did not have our attention. As we all know, good times can’t last forever, and it finally came the day that JJ, Michael, and Deana had to go home.

The long car ride to Louisiana was very boring and quiet as we all dreaded saying goodbye. We all got out of the car and hugged each other as the moment finally came for them to leave. I waved goodbye as they drove deeper into Louisiana, headed to Baton Rouge. The car ride back was even longer and more boring than the one headed there. I laid down in the seat, playing on my red Gameboy Advanced. This was only the beginning of the lonely, boringness that was to come. I spent the twenty days before school finding any and every way possible to keep myself entertained. I would play on the computer for a couple of hours and watch television for a couple more. This became a daily routine as I tried and tried to find ways to have as much as I did whenever they were there. Time seemed to drag by more slowly than it ever had before. Eventually, school started, not that it was much more exciting. Fortunately, it did pass time faster, and created a way for me to mark the weekends that JJ, Michael, and Deana got to come over. Fortunately, this only lasted a couple of years because once JJ turned twelve, he chose to live with me, and my parents.

I will never forget these crazy, wild weekends we had as children. They changed me forever and taught me the value of friendship and family. I learned to appreciate every moment I have with someone dear to me and not to expect something just because it is what usually happens. My siblings have never known this, and I doubt they ever will, but they have changed me more than perhaps anyone else I have ever met, and I thank God for putting them in my life, as more than just brothers and sisters, as dear friends.





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