Wendy and the Monkey Bringer This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

August 3, 2011
I will never forget the pain I felt the day my brother was sent to jail. I try to block the year surrounding that incident out of my memory. No matter how hard I try, I can still recall the year as if it were yesterday. Maybe it’s better that I don’t forget.

The whole incident was like out of a horror flick. My brother was caught at the pier possessing cocaine with the intent to sell. I wasn’t there that night, but I can imagine how the scene unfolded. As Sean realized the cops had discovered him, he began to race down the railroad tracks that ran parallel to the river. He was chased by a vicious police dog, caught, arrested, and dragged to jail. My brother, the one who used to dress me as a child and play with me in the pool when no one else would, was arrested for dealing drugs or attempting to deal drugs. No matter how hard I tried, I cannot erase the nightmare.

We hear of slimy drug dealers getting busted every day in the streets of big cities. No one feels any compassion for drug dealers because they are the reason for thousands of drug-related deaths each year. These men deserve to die or be sent to jail for life! But this was not a drug dealer, or a big city. This was my town and my brother.

We think that the trash who get arrested every day on the streets have no families, no one to care about them. Sean has my mother, my father, and me. We all care about him. I love my brother more than myself sometimes. This only made the pain worse.

I can remember going to school every day as if nothing happened, and then coming home to an empty house and crying for an hour out of guilt for leading a normal life. When my parents arrived home from work, it was my turn to be the strong one. Both of my parents showed emotions in their own ways. My father was always the type that got angry instead of upset, while my mother was the exact opposite. She would sit in a chair and cry for hours.

I remember feeling so helpless, just watching them in pain, and there was nothing I could do. Before the arrest, the little family feuds could always be settled with an “I’m sorry,” even if I wasn’t. This was something different. Nothing said or done could change the past. It was all too much to comprehend. We all seemed to feel guilty for what had happened to Sean’s life. Even though the psychologist explained that it had absolutely nothing to do with any of us, not one of us could shake that guilt.

School was always an escape for me. Seventh grade was one of the best years I had spent in school. I had been elected Vice President of my class. All my energies were spent on my school work and friends. Everything was going fine until one particular social studies class. A fellow student of mine stood up at the end of class, in front of the whole class, and asked me, “How does your brother like his jail cell, Liz?”

Every eye in the room was centered on me. What was I to say? “He says it’s better than any hotel room in the Hilton!” I replied.

After that period, I couldn’t walk. I just sat down at my desk, paralyzed, and stared out the window. My world had been shattered, twice. School could no longer be an escape. I had lost all respect for myself. I felt an immeasurable amount of guilt every day, just because I was living in my own house, laughing with friends, actually smiling once in a while, while Sean was in a miserable jail.

It took time and thought, but I learned to gain that respect back. One should never feel guilt because one’s life is happy or successful. I grew to realize that my brother had made his own mistakes. There was little I could do for him, other than to keep assuring him that we all loved him, until he was ready to do something for himself. I love my brother and for the past five years he has made his life one that some people may envy. He is loved for himself and what he has made of himself. Sean has turned his own life around.

My brother has made the biggest impact in my life. I look up to him, not for his wrongdoings, but for the fact that he lived through that hell along with the rest of our family and is now beginning to make something of his life.

Recently, I went to a concert of his in our town park. He sang a song he wrote called “Wendy and the Monkey Bringer.” It is a song about a drug dealer named Charlie and a drug user named Wendy:

It’s Charlie and he’s brought some more.
But she’s got to pay
And it’s all he can say.
You’ve got to buy if you want to fly...

Sean sends his message to anyone who will listen:

So Wendy flies, she flies away.
If you’re looking for Wendy,
She’s not home today.
Now Wendy’s in heaven,
And it’s a long distance call,
And a long way to fall,
To go home.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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