Taylor should be at his middle school dance. That is what fourteen year-old young men are supposed to do. Instead he finds himself outside of a super market in an early November snowstorm. It figures, he thinks to himself, that global warming would take a break the year he is old enough to work a real job. He wants to be at the dance, but instead he is here, because that is what life has handed him.
He wants to be at the dance, but cannot be because momma’s two part time jobs do not pay enough and do not leave her enough time to go to DSS. He wants to be showing off on the basketball court with his friends, dancing with all the fine young ladies, but child protective services is OK with him working in this cold, but not with momma leaving them alone to work a third job. He wants to be sneaking behind the bleachers with one of those young ladies, but his brothers and sister need food in their belly so he has to sit in this cold.
The owners of the store, a franchise, provide them with cheap gloves and paper-thin jackets. Taylor has shoveled the walk twice and helped the two people who risked this storm on a Friday night with their groceries. He is out here alone now because Frank, the older guy he works with complained. Frank told Mr. Weicezck it was wrong to have a kid out in this weather. Frank was looking out for him, and Taylor just kept his head down, telling Mr. W it was alright, because he and momma have gotten sick of the way some of the volunteers at the soup kitchen look at them.
Momma hates this, he knows. She wishes she could get a good job. She is smart enough, but she never learned to drive and without the money for lessons, she never will. Not being able to drive means fewer people willing to hire her. It’s a vicious circle. So Taylor works instead of having fun, and he pulls good grades at school because he believes momma when she says that is his only ticket out of here. He can’t be like Frank, he can’t make noise, otherwise he will be in the cold forever, instead of the dance floor.
- I am a complete asshole…. (mediocremommy.com)
- Abandoned shopping carts costing businesses hundreds of thousands (king5.com)
- Ofsted: Child protection inadequate (bbc.co.uk)
- What you learn about humanity from living on the streets | Mary, homeless in New York (theguardian.com)