The Free Press, Mankato, MN

No Direction Home

December 22, 2013

No Direction Home, Day 3: She once feared for her life; now she's starting over

Sometimes, the suspicion came in the form of questions.

“Who just called you?”

“Why was you looking at that guy?”

Other times, it was more subtle.

“He’d just come up to me and start smelling me, thinking I’m cheating,” said Talitha Taylor, recently on her feet and living in St. Peter. “If I looked at another guy, I knew I was getting a butt beating when we got home.”

Or, perhaps, something worse.

Taylor recalls the night she left him like it was yesterday. Because that’s the day she feared for her life most of all.

Her husband owned a revolver. One morning while she was asleep he came into their room and woke her up.

“He said, ‘You know what? Since you want to play all these games with me, and you don't want to abide by these rules, let's play Russian Roulette,’” Taylor said, her gaze drifting out the window as if she’s looking all the way back to the south side of Chicago. “He had the gun out. I saw it in his hand.”

If you’re unfamiliar with Russian Roulette, it works like this: You put one bullet in a revolver chamber, spin the cylinder fast and then slap it into place so you can’t see if the bullet is lined up with the barrel. Then you put the gun to your temple and pull the trigger. If the bullet is in the right spot, you lose.

“He said, ‘You take one bullet, I’ll take two,” Taylor recalled.

She begged and pleaded for him to calm down, to not make them go through with such an insane act.

For several awful minutes it seemed like this game was about to be played.

Eventually, he backed off. And Taylor decided that night to take her son and leave forever.

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