I guess you could say it was all my brother's fault. He was a happy kid, and was two years younger than me. The day before, he had visited my grandparents in Ohio. The day he got back, he told me more about Grandpa than I myself knew.
Grampa was 83 years old at the time, and had a strong body. He had been a blue-collar worker before he retired, and he worked in the local plant, lifting and moving metals and wood. I never knew exactly what he did there, but I knew it involved a lot of physical labor, and that it didn't require much education.
The day my brother came home, he seemed different. He had always been a prankster with a great sense of humor, and when he returned from his trip, he wasn't as talkative as usual. I immediately knew something was wrong. It was in his eyes.
"Jay, what is it?" I simply asked. I knew he would tell me if there was something actually wrong. He trusted me, and I trusted him.
"I don't even know," he responded.
I didn't know what to say, but I shivered as I saw a single tear run down his face. Without another word, I grabbed his hand and pulled him towards the front yard.
He knew where I was leading him. In the park on the street beside ours, there was a hideout, heavily shrouded by bushes. As kids, we always went there to play, do our homework, or just talk. It was our place, where information could be shared without fear of anyone else hearing. If Jay was going to tell me what was wrong, he would do it here.
We finally reached the group of bushes that evoked so many memories from childhood. I let go of his hand and pulled myself under the biggest bush, and I reached the small clearing that we called ours. As a kid, I could fit easily between the bushes, but by now it was getting difficult.
Jay followed me through the bushes, still remaining silent.
"Come on, Jay. Tell me what happened."
"It's Grandpa," Jay said, hesitating.
I shivered once again. Had something happened? Was Grandpa okay? A weight began to swell in the pit of my stomach. I suddenly didn't want to hear the rest of what Jay had to say. I bit my lip and said nothing.
"What about Grandpa?" I whispered.
"The factory," Jay began. "You remember the factory that Grandpa worked in his whole life?"
"Yeah, I know the one," I murmured.
"Grandpa never told us what exactly he did in there."
"Yeah," I replied, motioning for Jay to continue.
"There's a reason Grandpa didn't tell us what he did in there," Jay said, lowering his voice.
I filled with a suspenseful fear. "Why not?"
"Because he was a hobo that never had a job," my brother said.
"Oh," I said.