August 15, 2008
By Alexis Brown, Oakland, NJ

As I sat on my front yard, the glaring sun beat down my face, and the tears running down my cheek ran into the beads of sweat. Shaking, crying and scared, I held and pet my dog, Dolly, and listened to the three police officers talking. I tried to let my mind wander, and began to think about how old Dolly was, and how she didn’t have much time. But I couldn’t keep my mind off what was happening for long. Inside, I could hear the yelling and arguing, the threats, the pleading, the lies and the accusations. I tried to block it out. I had heard it all before, but this time it was different. This time was the last time, because in my house was a social worker, Yougeetah from the state that had come to remove me from my family.

It had been a few difficult weeks for my family, which turned into a few difficult months, and then into years. Although my family and I loved each other, there were just some things that couldn’t be overlooked. My parents couldn’t see any problems in the way our family functioned, so they refused help, and therefore, the state decided that I had to leave. So through her tears and heart pains and nauseating fear, my mom put some of my clothes in a plastic bag, and after some time, the Yougeetah walked out with my parents, four more police officers, two detectives and an attorney. On her way out the door, she placed her thin, cold hand on the top of my head and said, “Let’s go sweetie.” I kissed the top of my dogs head one last time and stood up, holding back the urge to vomit. Yougeetah put her arm on my back and began to guide me towards her car. I pulled away toward my parents, but the police officer on the other side of my body wouldn’t let me go. “I have to say goodbye” I screamed through blinded tears and a runny nose. I tried to pull away again, but I couldn’t. She helped me in the car, where I sat, breathless and in shock. I started pushing little holes in in my plastic garbage bag filled with clothing. As we pulled away, I saw my dad, large and strong, crying on the front yard, my mom kneeling over on the ground next to him, still surrounded by the police officers. If a broken heart could kill someone, I knew my parents would die right then. And as I watched them writhe in pain, all I could do was say my goodbyes through the back window of the car.

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