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Losing What She Loved.
Taylor woke up to the sound of movement in the kitchen. She got up from her bed and walked sleepily into the kitchen where her two younger brothers were eating their pitiful little breakfast. Obviously Mom was either still in bed or hadn’t even come home yet. Taylor didn’t know which was worse. “Hey Taylor.” Her youngest brother, Michael, said with a jelly-covered smile. “Hey sweetie.” She replied, smiling. She walked over and picked up a napkin and began cleaning his face. While she was doing that she turned to her other brother, Lucas, and asked, “Where’s Mom?” “She’s not home.” He answered from the sink, where he had just placed his used cereal bowl. “What?!” Taylor exclaimed, “Are you serious?!” “Yeah,” He told her sitting back down at the table. “I checked her room when I woke up and she wasn’t there so I looked in the garage and her car was gone. I’ll bet she stayed over and Richard’s again last night.” Richard was their mom’s crazy rock-and-roll boyfriend. He was almost 10 years younger than their mom and they didn’t like him at all. She went out with him almost every night and would either come home in the middle of the night or wouldn’t come home at all.
Taylor worried about the boys so much. She was reaching her senior year in high school and knew that after graduation she would not be going to Columbia like she had been planning since freshman year. She knew she couldn’t leave them all alone with their irresponsible mother and her stupid boy toy. She couldn’t understand why her mom was acting the way she was. Ever since Taylor’s father ran out on them just months after Michael was born to live in Bermuda with a younger woman her mom had been dating guys in their 20’s, dying her hair outrageous colors, wearing outrageous clothes, and acting like she was a teenager and not a mother. Taylor knew that she had been through a lot but so had they and their mom was supposed to be the rock, the strong one, but she was the weakest. She also knew that Richard had introduced her to drugs and alcohol. Before her dad left Taylor had never seen her mom drink more than one glass of wine at dinner, but now she could always smell the alcohol on her breath what little time she did she her. And she had found small bags of drugs in her mom’s pockets when she was doing laundry. She had disposed of them but that didn’t stop her from doing them.
Suddenly, they heard a loud noise in the garage then the door opened and their mom stumbled in almost falling on her face. She grabbed the counter to hold herself up. Taylor picked Michael up, placed him on the floor and said, “Boys, I want you to go get dressed. We’re going to the zoo today.” “Yay!” Michael exclaimed. “Aw, I don’t want to go to the zoo.” Lucas complained, but Taylor shot him a look and said, “Just go get dressed. We’re leaving in 15 minutes.” The boys left the room and Taylor began cleaning up. Her mom asked her in a slurred voice, “Why are you going to leave? I just got here.” Taylor turned to her with an angry look on her face. “Look Joanna!” She said, trying to be quiet so the boys wouldn’t hear. She hardly ever called her Mom anymore. “It is 6 o’clock in the morning. You should have been home eight hours ago but no, you had to stay with your delinquent boyfriend. If you wanted to see your kids you wouldn’t have just walked in the door. You need to grow up and get over the fact that Dad isn’t here anymore. Be a freaking mother!” Joanna just stood there staring at her with bewilderment. She opened her mouth to say something but Taylor jumped in and said, “Now if you’ll excuse me I have to get ready to take the boys to the zoo. Bye Joanna.” With that she walked down the hall and into her bedroom to get dressed.
“Taylor, is Richard going to be our new Daddy?” Michael asked her as they walked through the zoo. Taylor looked down at him and answered, “Of course not Mikey. Why would you think that?” “Well,” he began, “last week Mommy asked me how if I liked Richard and what I thought about him living with us and being our Daddy.” Taylor stopped walking and looked down at him. “She said that?” “Yeah,” Lucas responded, “She asked me that too.” Taylor couldn’t believe it, but she didn’t want to worry the boys so she said, “Richard is NOT going to be our Father. I promise. Now let’s just have some fun and look at the animals and then we’ll go to the arcade. Is that okay Luke?” “Yes! That’s awesome! Thanks Taylor!” Taylor smiled, took Michael’s hand and continued on through the zoo.
Taylor saw the lights before she even pulled onto the street. But she knew for sure what was going on when she pulled up to the house. There were two police cars parked outside her house and two uniformed policemen as well as a man and two women in suits with small leather briefcases. As she put the car in park she saw a female police officer walking her mother out of the house in handcuffs. They were being followed by a big guy in a uniform holding a handful of small zip lock bags. Taylor didn’t have to ask what was in it. “What’s going on Taylor?” Lucas asked her, looking worryingly at her from the passenger seat. “Don’t worry.” She replied, “Stay here. I’ll be right back. Do not get out of this car. Do you understand me?” “Yes Taylor.” They answered in unison. Taylor turned off the car, opened the door and stepped out. She walked up to the short policeman who was writing in a small notebook and asked, “What is going on here?” “Who are you?” the man returned with bewilderment. “I’m that woman’s daughter. Now tell me why you are arresting my mother.” Taylor continued to ask even though she knew exactly why her mom was being arrested. “We got a call from a man saying that your mother was involved in some illegal drugs so we issued a search warrant and when we searched the house we found several bags of crack cocaine and marijuana. We also looked up her record and she has an outstanding warrant for a traffic violation and an assault and battery charge.”
Taylor stared at the cop wide-eyed. She knew about the drugs but the other charges she knew nothing about. Who was this woman? Because she was definitely not her mother. “Wait a second.” She said, “What man? Do you know his name?” The policeman looked at his notebook. “It was a Mr. Richard Bryar.” He answered. Oh my gosh! Taylor thought, Richard turned her in to the police? What a jerk! All of a sudden she heard footsteps behind her and Michael popped up and said, “Taylor, where are they taking Mommy?” Then Lucas came running up to them saying, “Michael, she told us to wait in the car.” “I’m sorry.” The little boy replied, “I just want to know where these people are taking Mommy.” “Who are these boys?” The policemen asked. “They’re my little brothers.” “Ah, I see.” The man bent down to look at Michael. “Son, you’re Mommy has to go away for a little while. How old are you ma’am?” He asked straightening back up to look at Taylor. “I just turned 17 last month.” She answered silently wishing she was a year older, because she knew what that meant for them. “Okay little man, what’s your name?” He asked squatting down once again. “I’m Michael.” He answered with a smile, oblivious to what was going on. The officer stood up and turned to Lucas. “And what about you son? What’s your name?” He asked. “Lucas.” He replied. “Okay Michael,” the cop said, “I need you to go over to that pretty lady in the black dress okay?” “Why?” Michael asked. “Because she’s going to take you to where you’re going to be living for a while.” He answered. “What about Lucas and Taylor?” the boy asked, “Aren’t they coming with me?” “I’m afraid not son.” He responded. Michael ran to Taylor, wrapped his arms around her legs and began to cry. “I’m not going without them!” He screamed.
The officer pried him off of Taylor’s legs and carried him over to the Child Services agent and handed him to her. Taylor just stood there crying, partly because she was in such a state of shock and partly because she knew there was nothing she could do. She watched as the agent cradled her brother and tried to get him to stop crying but he just bawled even louder. The officer opened the door to black car that was parked on the curb. The agent placed Michael in the car, got in the driver’s seat, and drove away. Lucas ran after the car and two of the officers had to chase him down and carry him back. They took him to the male agent who was tall and skinny with no hair and dark black sunglasses. The men put him into the car and the man prepared to leave. But as he was starting to walk around to the driver’s side of the car Taylor shouted, “Wait!” They stopped and looked at her. She walked over and bent down to talk to Lucas through the open window of the car. “Don’t worry. We won’t be apart for long. It’s going to be okay.” She hugged him and stepped away. The tall man got into the car and left.
Taylor wiped the last few tears from her eyes and turned around. She noticed the patrol car that her mom was in still hadn’t left yet. She walked up to the car and told the female officer who had brought her out that she was her daughter and asked if she could talk to her. “Sure.” The woman said, rolling down the window and walking to the front of the car. “Hey baby.” Her mom said smiling. “Don’t call me that.” She snapped, “And how can you be smiling right now? You’re going to jail for probably years and now they’re splitting up me and the boys. Lucas and Michael are being sent to God knows where. They’ll be put in foster homes. Who knows what kind of people they’ll be put with. And all because of you.” She shook her head and sighed. “I don’t know what to say to you Mom. You disappoint me.” Joanna looked down at her lap and frowned. Then the window rolled up and the car rolled out of the driveway. Taylor sank to the ground and started to cry. She felt a hand on her shoulder. She looked up and saw the last female agent, obviously here for her. “Come on Taylor. It’s time to go.” She said. Taylor stood up and followed her to her car and got in. She looked back at the house as they drove away and started crying once again.
Taylor and the boys spent a whole year apart. She cried every night because she didn’t know what happened to her brothers. She had been put with a nice older couple who had raised nine children. They were really nice and talked to her when she cried about everything that had happened. One day, about three months after they were separated, she got a letter from Lucas. He told her that he had been put with a lawyer and his housewife. They were nice but he didn’t like them because they were kind of snobby. He said that they had a son about his age so he had someone to hang out with. He assured that he was okay and that she shouldn’t worry about him. Taylor smiled as she read the letter but still worried. She still wondered where Michael was. Her question was answered two weeks later.
Taylor got another letter. This time from Michael’s foster parents. They wrote that Michael was such a sweet boy and was very smart for a six year old. They said that they thoroughly enjoyed having him in their home but they were afraid that he didn’t like them or the family. He ate by himself and hardly ever talked to anyone. He woke up in the middle of the night screaming and crying. They always asked him what was wrong but he would never tell them, he’d just ask when he can go back home with his brother and sister. This letter made Taylor cry. She couldn’t believe all this was happening to her baby brother. She wished she could do something but she knew she couldn’t. All she could do was sit and wait. She wrote back to her brothers and told them not to worry that everything would be okay. She told them that she thought about them all the time and missed them dearly. She continued on about how they should make the best of their situation and try to get to know their temporary family because it wouldn’t be long until they were together again.
ONE YEAR LATER- “Taylor!!!” Michael shrieked as he ran into his sister’s waiting arms. She had finally turned 18 so she was now able to take care of her brothers. Lucas walked up to them and joined their hug. She held her brothers close as they all cried. Taylor stood up and wiped her eyes. She took her brothers hands and said, “Come on. Let’s go home.” And then they walked back into the house they had missed for a year.
Taylor never got to go to Columbia. Instead, she stayed home to raise her brothers. She went to the University of Boston and became an elementary school teacher. Five years later, their mom was released from prison. She came back to the house to see her children. She and Taylor sat down and talked. “Why are you here?” Taylor asked. “I’m out of jail and I want to come home.” She responded. “Why would I let you come back just to start doing drugs again?” Taylor snapped. “Because I got clean and I dumped Richard. I feel like I’ve grown up and I want to help you.” She replied crying. Smiling, Taylor took her mom’s hand and said, “Okay Mom. Welcome home.”