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Taylor’s Time

She’s back! But before you get to her, you have to put up with me for a minute.

Today’s entry is an intensely personal look into Taylor’s past, a reflection on a memory, and I hope you enjoy it.

And if you want to SUPPORT Taylor, she’s started a WattPad account where she’ll be posting PAID CONTENT – so go over there and sign up!

For my brothers, who I love and adore more than anyone else in this world. Thank you for enriching my childhood.

Taylor sat on the couch, absentmindedly pulling out loose threads from a pillow as Gabriel made his way into the kitchen. “Shawn and The Dead” , a humorous play off of “Dawn Of The Dead”, was playing on the cracked television that sat against the bare wall. The film was scary, but silly, riddled with just enough comedy mixed in with the gore of the zombie apocalypse so, that it never gave Taylor nightmares like 2005’s “Boogeyman” did. Even now, years after she’d seen the movie, she still asked Devin or Anthony or whoever else was there to close her closest door before she went to sleep. “Shawn Of The Dead” made her laugh more than anything, her and Gabriel both.

She’d begged Devin to put it on, pulling at his arm earlier that morning, but he was too busy feeding the dogs and cleaning the backyard tohumor her That afternoon, she thought about asking Anthony and sought him out. When she saw him, sitting cross-legged on the stained orange carpet in their room, playing a very intense level of “GTA”, Taylor concluded that he was too invested in the game, as he so often was, to even think about pausing it. So, she sat beside him for the remainder of the day, talking with him and watching him play because they had only one controller for the Playstation they shared.

It was Gabriel who finally gave into Taylor’s wishes, closing the curtains and turning off the lamps before putting in the DVD andsitting beside her. Taylor loved this time of day. The little house was always cozy in the evenings.

There was a distant clatter of pots and bowls in the kitchen, evidence that Gabriel was preparing supper. Taylor heard the crinkling of a bag of her favorite meal, the only food her mother could afford – Ramen. She paused the movie and ventured quietly into the doorway of the kitchen. Her hands were clasped in front of her, her little fingers trembling as she spoke.

“C-can Devin make it?” she stammered.

Gabriel never yelled at her, nor did he ever strike her with his belt or mock her stutter the way her stepfather did. Devin and Anthony never did so either. Taylor’s fear of speaking, even to her brothers, was the result of the mistreatment, the beatings, the verbal and emotional abuseshe endured at the hands of her stepfather.

Gabriel turned from the sink, pot of water in hand and smiled. Like Taylor, he knew that Devin had the cooking skills needed to satisfy the picky little eater she was. He placed the pot on the stove, walked to his little cousin and ruffled her thick brown hair.

“Devman!” he called through the back screen door, using his brother’s nickname. “It’s your turn to cook supper!”

Sweaty and out of breath from decluttering the backyard, Devin walked inside, shutting the backdoor andsmiling triumphantly at his big brother. Taylor ran up and hugged Devin, loving the way she sank into his belly.

Devin wasn’t overweight, but he was… fluffy beneath his baggy black t-shirt and matching pants. He looked nothing like Gabriel, who wore thin muscle shirts and loose jeans which showed off his lean, muscular figure. And, Gabriel looked nothing like Anthony, who wore loose-fitting clothes and didn’t have a particularly strong build. The only things the brothers really had in common were their dark skin, hair and eyes.

“Let’s go finish the movie, Tay.” Gabriel said, gesturing for her to follow him.

Taylor gave Devin a final squeeze before following Gabriel back into the living room. Together, they sat on the couch, laughing as they watched the main characters throw pillows at the wall of zombies stumbling towards them, despite having a perfectly usable pistol and microwave as better weapons. Gabriel tickled her belly, making her laugh until she cried. They adored each other, Taylor and Gabriel. It wasn’t that they were each other’s “Favorite”. In fact, they spent more time apart than they did together, Gabriel often hanging with Devin outside and Taylor sitting with Anthony in their bedroom. They never treated each other any different than they treated Anthony or Devin. It’s just that they had more in common despite their age gap. Taylor shared Gabriel’s interest in dinosaurs as well as the undead. She sat in his lap as he played “Resident Evil” even when the game scared her half to death. They loved spending their limited quality time together. It made their bond more precious.

Within minutes, the Ramen was ready. As usual, Devin made it absolutely perfect. They ate on the couch, using their laps instead of the small coffee table in front of them.

“An-Dog!” Devin called, using Anthony’s nickname. “Supper time!”

Anthony came into the room in a flash. He never walked anywhere! He, and sat on the couch with his brothers and sister, bowl of noodles in his lap. Sandwiched between Gabriel and Anthony, her favorite movie playing, the house settling into its familiar quiet, made Taylor sigh, completely content with herself and the world. Her father and mother would be home late again, maybe even late enough for her to be asleep when they walked through the door, but Taylor didn’t care. She had the boys, her cousins, her brothers, and she couldn’t have asked for anything more.

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