My mother once told me to love myself, because one day I will need that love more than ever before. I never really took what she mean into consideration, and I had never, ever thought that I would've needed that love so soon.

My mother is gone now. Not dead- just gone. A few years ago, when my father died, she had gone into depression, and it seemed as if all life had been sucked out of her. Nowadays she shuffles around the house, mumbling about nonsensical things like cats holding umbrellas and mice eating balloons. She doesn't have a job, and we barely have enough money to scrape by.

The only reason I haven't already ended my miserable life is because I need to take care of my adorable brother, Aiden, who is only 6. I couldn't bear to leave him to the care of my mother. That would be too cruel. He's the cutest little thing in the world, with his little blonde curls and big blue eyes. He was the lucky one in the gene pools.

Before my mother became what she is now, she was considered the epitome of beauty... Actually, she still is the epitome of beauty. Just more beaten and battered. Everytime we would go out in public, men and women alike would stop and stare at the beautiful blonde babe with the widest eyes that looked like sapphires.

I always loved to touch that soft, feathery hair the color of gold, wishing I could swap it with my ratty brown hair. Some people said she looked similar to Farah Fawcett, but I always thought she was much, much more prettier than that. Aiden just happened to inherit her blonde hair and blue eyes, while I got my father's dark brown hair and stormy gray eyes.

One night, I had asked my mother why I couldn't like her; why did I have to have hair the color of poop and eyes the color of rocks. She laughed, while shaking her head. "I would kill to look like you," she simply said, and hugged me tight. I never really understood that. Somtimes I wonder what would happen if I did look like her.

Life would be so much different. I could get a better job than what I have now; I work at a small diner a few blocks away from our 'home' right now. I would have a boyfriend that would send me roses on my birthday. I might even have a few friends that would let me borrow some clothes.

But enough about what will never, ever happen.

I go to a small, public high school right across from Aiden's school. I get pretty good grades, and that's good. Because grades=scholarships=college=job=money. And money is what makes the world go 'round.

We didn't always live this way. I had friends. I didn't worry about things like if I would get enough tips to pay our next heating bill, or if I would get fired because I forgot to clean the restaurant's disgusting toilets. My main thoughts back then were what I would wear the next day, or if Josh Jackson, the cutest and most popular boy in school, liked me. Josh Jackson is still the most popular boy in school, and also the most rich. No comment about his cuteness. Even if Josh Jackson did like me, I don't have time for a boyfriend. Sorry Josh.

When I was 13, my father died in a car accident. He left us little to nothing, which my mother used up pretty quickly trying to pay the bills. He had always manged the finances, and fixed anything that needed fixing. Now, if anything's broken, I somehow manage to keep it from falling apart by using duct tape and hoping for the best.

I haven't even told you my name have I? Well, it's Taylor. Taylor Sarah Johnson to be exact. I'm glad my name's Taylor.It's better than those frilly, old-fashioned names like Sue or Belinda. Or even worse, those peppy cheerleader names, like Tiffany or Brittany or something like that.

But why am I talking about my name? There are more important things at matter. My name is Taylor Johnson, and I need to tell you my story before it's too late.