Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade April 2001

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Sacrifice, so many people sacrifice their lives, their loves, their future. However Tayla was different, Tayla didn't believe in sacrifice under any circumstances. She had been raised by her mother in a one-bedroom apartment in the center of New York City. For a 16 yr. old girl growing up in near poverty, sacrifice was not an option. Tayla took upon the duty to look after her mother. She would cook breakfast, clean the apartment and also get herself ready for school. Her mother, Judy, was extremely ill. After her father had died only two years before Tayla started high school, Judy was literally heartbroken. Her heart developed an irregular beat and she was diagnosed with a very serious heart problem and needed a heart transplant in order to survive.

Because of the death of her father, Tayla and Judy were living on a pension and could not afford to have private health insurance.

At school, Tayla was an ordinary teenager. She associated with a bunch of girls who gossiped and giggled. Tayla never told her friends about the trouble she experiencing at home, she was never one for sympathy. Annitta, Tayla's best friend, was the only one who knew about Judy's heart problem. Annitta was always there for Tayla whenever she found it too hard to cope. To escape what was constantly going through her mind, Tayla would walk up to a hill three blocks away from her home. On the very top of the hill, an oak tree, perfect for sitting in, looked over the city. The view from the tree was magnificent, especially at night. Tayla could see the lights of tinsel town flicker in her mind just like all the thoughts racing through her mind at the speed of light. Every night, usually around the same time, Tayla would sit in the oak tree and wrack her brain with thoughts of how to raise the money in order for her mother to have the operation.

As Tayla walked to school on Friday morning, Annitta jogged up beside her. "Hey Tay, how are ya today?" Tayla replied in her usual manner. "I'm coping" "Do you want to do something tonight? Maybe hang out, eat pizza, see a flick? " Very concerned Annitta tried to bring some excitement into Tayla's life. " Maybe Neet, I'll see how mum is feeling. I'll give you a call around six okay?" Promising herself that tonight, just for once, she would go out with Annitta, Tayla turned for home.

As she opened the door to their run down apartment she saw her mother lying on the old tartan lounge chair. Judy's face was pale and covered in cold sweat. As she attempted to sit up to greet Tayla, her face dropped when she realised that she didn't have the energy. "Hey mum, are you alright?" Tayla asked as she sat down next to Judy. " Tay, I am fine! Its Friday night.. How about you go out with Annitta or something? I am a big girl, I can look after myself" Judy, tried to convince Tayla she was fine but in reality she was not. Dr Hunter had called a little earlier to inform Judy that her blood was thinning out, her heart was becoming weaker and the operation was needed sooner than she thought. Of course Judy wasn't going to tell Tayla this, well at least not today.

So six o'clock arrived and Tayla called Annitta as promised. Annitta's voice was full of excitement, Tayla hadn't gone out with Annitta on the weekend for over eight months. They arranged to meet down at the pizza palace at eight, and go and see the newest Brad Pitt movie. After the movies, they decided to go to the arcade, where they met up with friends from school, all whom were bragging about how their parents were taking them away for the summer. Tayla's stomach turned. She, as any normal teenager in her position would feel, was longing for a normal life with a healthy mother. Annitta saw how Tayla was feeling and politely left the conversation. " Well Neet, thanks for tonight, I really needed it" Tayla felt more relaxed now they were on their way home. "Hey, what are friends for?" Annitta stated as she got off at her stop. Tayla waved good bye and a smile appeared on her face, something she hadn't felt for a while.

Judy had a hot chocolate waiting for Tayla when she walked in the door. Now she realised was the time to tell Tayla what Dr Hunter had said just hours ago. With the smile still glued to her face, Tayla's stomach dropped when she saw Judy's appearance as she opened the door. The smile soon faded. As Judy broke the news to Tayla, her head began to spin and tears fell and her heart sank. After a long talk, Tayla told her mother once again how much she loved her and promised she would fix everything. With tears running down her cheeks, she kissed her mother good bye and headed for the oak tree.

On the way to the tree, her heart was pounding. She carried her backpack on one shoulder and the lights were blurring under her tears. She picked up her mobile phone and dialed 911. Tayla told the police there was a body up on the oak tree off Paradise Parade. Just minutes later the sirens were screaming as they turned into the Parade. Judy did exactly what she thought she had to do.

"Time of death 11.57pm" The detective stated in to the tape recorder. On the body they found a note"¦ "Donate this heart to Judy Hart, love IS worth the sacrifice" The ultimate Sacrifice.