My name is Jakob and I'm nothing out of the ordinary. But, things have changed a bit, I guess you could say; in fact, a lot has changed in a rather short period of I was growing up, I had a little brother. His name was Marcel. There has never been a time that him and I weren't close. We had to be. Our father had abandoned my family when I was at just the tender age of five, and my brother was a few months old. Mother once told me that I was the reason for him leaving and never since then have I doubted it. Maybe I had been a rowdy child, possibly even a little obnoxious but never once did I think that it would lead his departure.

Anyway, I guess if we were making a timeline, now would be the start of change. My mother slowly began to delve into the ways of alcoholism, claiming it was her only heaven in her self-made hell. Most times when Mama was really drunk, my Auntie Richelle would come get us and take her to her house. That was the only positive side of my mother's drunken ways. My brother and I liked to go to Auntie Richelle's because she had a pool in her backyard. Marcel and I were always in the pool, we loved diving into that freezing water, as if it were the remedy to all our problems. And problems we had.

Never, by any standards did we have a lot of money. In fact, no one in our family did. Home was a small two-bedroom house, which was falling to pieces. Literally. We had a hole about the size of a basketball in our roof in the corner of my brother's and my room; the walls were peeling and had countless holes in them, each a mark of mother's rage. The outside didn't look much better. The lawn was at least up to my waist, overrun with more weeds than grass. Even the siding of the house lay in strips, creating more of a wall about the building than the actual walls themselves.

Even Aunt Richelle didn't have a lot of money. Her pool consisted of just hose water and plucked grass floating across the top, sometimes accompanied by a struggling insect. Despite our lack of money, we somehow found a way to eat. Most days.

At the age of 12, some guy came and took our house away. For a little while we lived with Aunt Richelle, but Mama got too bad and she kicked all of us out onto the street. Luckily now and then Aunt Richelle would let Marcel and I come over to swim in her pool. When she didn't want us there, we waited until she left before splashing into it, using it not only to bathe, but to remember the old days, when things were better.

By the time I was legally old enough to drive, I was more than acquainted with my mother's tangents. There was no escaping them. Once she got on a roll, there was no stopping her until the storm passed. The only difference between her and a real storm was she was more violent. Most days I found myself taking a stance before Marcel as she spat and cursed at him, blaming him for everything gone wrong. Most days, I ended up bleeding. Most days, I ended up with countless bruises. Everyday, Marcel was hurt less. Well, at least physically. That is until one day, there was no stopping the storm, and it's a day that I will never forget.