Chapter 11 (excerpt from Trapped)

“And maybe,” Brett continued, “You decided that children were not your priority. It happens. There are a lot of women who really don’t want the traditional family life. They want their careers and nothing else matters. Perhaps, that’s where you are.”

“And maybe,” Taryn croaked, her voice dry, “We should all just mind our own business. After all, who are we to tell anyone anything. We’re all here because we just as messed up as the next one.”

“Not all of us,” Lorena said sarcastically. “I don’t have any problems, other people think I do. But look, Paris—not everyone has to like motherhood, but you made ‘em, now suck it up and deal with it.”

“Wait a minute,” Brett said defiantly to Lorena. Just who do you think we are? You ain’t no better than the rest of us. You’re here ain’t you?” She turned to Paris. “Since I haven’t been in your shoes, it’s hard to say what I would do, but I do know this. I’d love to have a little one in my life that would love me back, just because. I know, I know—raising three kids is hard work, but look at it this way. One day, they won’t need so much of your time. And if you spend time with them now, shaping and molding them—the way your parents did you—they’ll be some terrific kids. And besides, you can always go back to work when they get older. No one can take your skills or your brains from you. They’re yours to keep.”

Evangeline stopped writing. She could hardly believe her ears. Brett, of all people, was becoming the counselor and was doing a great job of it. She looked at the women and noticed that they were nodding their heads in agreement and appeared more relaxed than she had ever seen any of them before in their private sessions. She wrote in the margin of her notebook, “group really works”. She cleared her throat before speaking.

“I’ve noticed that many were taking a lot of notes and some, not so many. Most of you have had something to say, but then some have had little to say. Let’s explore those reasons. Farrow, let’s start with you. How do you feel about this session?”

Farrow looked around the room before speaking, directly to Evangeline. “I don’t think I belong here. These people have problems I can’t even imagine. I mean, I haven’t been molested by my family, I don’t have any kids, and I don’t want to change my sex. I date when I can, but that’s not a priority in my life. I don’t see how listening to them is going to help me get a better job so I can pay my bills. I’m tired of sneaking around doing stuff that could land me in jail.”

Once again, Brett took that as a cue for her to take the reins. She sat up straight and looked at Farrow directly. “If you don’t want to go to jail, stop doing dumb stuff. That’s your choice. It’s also your choice as to when you’ll get a better paying job. Go to school and stop feeling sorry for yourself. There’s a whole lot of people going to school older than you. You ain’t got no excuse. You got no children getting in your way and no man beating you up trying to keep track of what you doing. Go to school—do something with your life. If you think somebody gonna knock on your door and offer you a better job when you don’t have no skills, you gonna be waiting a long time. I’m trying to finish college; I know how tough it can be, but I ain’t whining about it.”

“No,” Farrow replied hotly, “You sitting here whining about “family” and crying and then trying to tell everybody else what to do. Before you can give advice, you might want to take some, ‘physician heal thyself.’ I heard that somewhere. What makes you think you have all the answers for everybody else anyway?”