If Taylor thought the ride home from his aunt’s house three nights ago was sheer torture, he now knew it was nothing compared to this one. He spent the entire time imagining the absolute worst possible scenarios, then trying to cope with the sensations of panic those thoughts produced. And since each passing mile intensified the whole situation exponentially, by the time he finally arrived home he was barely able to breathe.
The most awful part, though, was that his parents wouldn’t even be home for a couple more hours, so he was going to have to suffer through this intense level of anticipatory anxiety for an unbearably long stretch of time. However, although his parent’s weren’t there to confront him when he walked in the door, Ike sure was. And right then and there, in front of all his many siblings, his older brother gave him an impressive, dad-caliber scolding. Ike had never assumed a parental role with his brothers but this time he’d had it. Taylor had stepped so far out of line he was beyond furious; especially because, as the one in charge, he had once again put Ike in a very bad position. Much to everyone’s surprise, including Ike, Taylor just stood there with his head hanging and took it. In fact, he even began to cry quietly, tears just running down his face. Everyone was stunned.
When Ike was finished with his brother’s tongue lashing, he really astonished everyone – even himself. He actually sent Taylor to his room. And, even more shocking, Taylor obediently complied. It was certainly obvious to every person present that not only did Taylor know just how bad his behavior had been, but that he also knew he was going to get a very serious spanking when his parents got home.
Taylor spent the next interminable stretch of time in his bedroom trying to do homework to distract his nerves and keep his mind off his impending punishment. It didn’t really work but at least he got some assignments done, which helped his conscience a bit. A while later he heard his parents come home, then he heard Ike follow them into their room to give them a recount of the day’s events. His heart, which had calmed some, once again took off on a race.
A few minutes later the phone rang. Taylor automatically grabbed for it thinking it might be his aunt calling to inform on him. Somewhere in his confused, overactive mind he thought he might still be able to intercept her and plead for mercy. But when he put the receiver to his ear his father had already said “hello.”
Taylor’s racing heart exploded in his chest when he heard his aunt’s voice. But he stayed to listen knowing his father didn’t know he was on the extension; he’d done that a couple times before and not gotten caught. He was shocked, however, to discover that his aunt apparently had no intention of turning him in. She had only called to see if she’d left her sweater there the other day. Walker said she had and invited her to come right over. He added that he had found out some disturbing information about Taylor’s behavior that day, and that since she had been the one wronged originally, she should be there for his punishment. This news sent shock waves through Taylor, nearly causing him to drop the phone. Oh god, he thought, as if his punishment wasn’t going to be bad enough already, now his aunt was going to be an eye witness. Aunt Jane simply said, “I’m glad Taylor confessed.” Taylor clamped his hand over his mouth to keep from gasping. Now he was completely done for.
Walker was more than surprised by his sister’s response. He hadn’t realized she knew anything about the situation. So far Ike - and only after being pressed - had simply said Taylor had gone out when he shouldn’t have. That alone had been enough for Walker to be furious. That there was more was unconscionable.
“Confessed?” Walker asked stunned.
“Yeah. Didn’t Taylor tell you?” Jane asked confused.
“No. We haven’t spoken to him yet. Ike only told us that he had left the house today when he wasn’t supposed to. That’s all we know,” Walker stated.
“I see,” Jane said. “Well I think you better talk with that son of yours then. I think he should be the one to tell you what he did.” Taylor was trembling uncontrollably now.
“How soon can you be here?” Walker asked.
“I’m five minutes away.”
“Good, we’ll just wait till you get here then and let him tell us the whole story in front of us all.”
Taylor put the phone down. He’d been leaning against the wall and he just slid down it till he was crouched in a fetal position cradling his face in his hands. He stayed in that position shivering and moaning for several minutes. When he heard his aunt arrive he froze in panic. A few minutes later Ike opened their bedroom door and said soberly, “Tay, Mom and Dad want to see you.”
Taylor looked up from his crouched position and asked pitifully, “I’m gonna get spanked really hard for this, aren’t I?” Ike could only nod.
Taylor pulled himself together and managed to get himself to his parent’s bedroom door somehow. He felt like a dead man walking. He knocked tentatively and waited for the response, his heart pounding in his chest. “Come in!” his father’s voice boomed.
Taylor wanted to turn and run as fast as he could – like the cowardly lion in the “Wizard of Oz,” he thought pathetically. But instead, he opened the door and stepped inside. His parents were on the sofa in the sitting area of their room, and Aunt Jane was in an easy chair on the other side of them. Taylor forced himself to walk over there.
“Apparently there’s something you need to tell us, young man,” Walker said, obviously using a lot of effort to restrain his anger.
To be continued…