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Love IS Respect - Part 1.1
Ty and I were goofing off in the cafeteria. We were throwing gummy bears at each other, hands held behind our backs, as we tried to catch them in our mouths. The score was tied 10-10 and I had the last gummy bear to throw. The game and bragging rights were mine if Ty missed.
“Get ready to lose Taylin Edwards,” Ty boasted as he grinned at me.
“In your dreams Tyler Jones,” I taunted back, taking aim with my gummy bear.
I tossed it sharply to his right, as if I were shooting a penalty kick in soccer. But for some reason Ty took his eye off the gummy bear, so it sailed right past him.
“Yes,” I exclaimed, excitedly, and then teasingly chanted, “I won! I won! I won! And you-uu lost.”
There was absolutely no reaction from Ty whatsoever. In fact, he wasn’t even looking at me. I turned around to see what he was frowning about.
“Oh,” I exclaimed, nearly jumping right out of my skin, startled as I as by the sudden appearance of my boyfriend, Brandon, who stood right behind me, even though he doesn’t have this lunch period. “Jeez, you scared me,” I explained, as my hand covered my heart.
“Sorry,” he said, absentmindedly. Then he sat down next to me and kissed me rather passionately. When he finally pulled back, I laughed, the kind of laugh where you’re really embarrassed and don’t know what else to do. And I was really embarrassed by Brandon’s overwhelming and rather intense display of affection, especially in front of Ty.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Ty get to his feet; his stance was rigid; his jaw clenched; his brow furrowed and eyes narrowed almost to slits as he glared at Brandon. Ty’s complete 180 degree turn in attitude confused me and I wondered what had set him off. He turned and stiffly walked away, not even saying good-bye.
“Why didn’t you answer your phone Taylin,” Brandon demanded as soon as Ty was gone, frowning even more fiercely than Ty had been.
“What,” I asked, taken aback by his intensity.
“When I call you, I expect you to answer the phone. You’re my girlfriend. Do you want me to think you don’t care?”
“No, of course I don’t. I’m sorry, but I didn’t hear my phone because Ty and I were playing a game.”
“You ignored me to play some stupid game with another guy, with him?” Brandon’s face was flushed in anger as he twisted that particular pronoun into a derogatory term.
“No, no,” I shook my head to emphasize my point. “Ty’s my best friend. We---”
“I don’t want you to hang out with him anymore. Can’t you see he’s trying to break us up?”
“Ty,” I asked, my jaw dropping open in shock. “Ty wouldn’t do that Brandon.”
Ty had been my best friend since the sixth grade when our English teacher paired us up for an assignment. I hadn’t spoken a single word to anyone in over a year, but what made me like him was that he didn’t seem to care and he didn’t try to force me to speak. One time he was gone for a week and I found myself missing our one-sided conversations. When he came back to school, he told me his dad had died just as we got out of English and were forced to go in the opposite directions to our classes. I stared after him as he walked away and I remember having felt this strange heaviness in my heart. After school that day, I saw him sitting on the curb waiting for his ride.
*** Please read:
This is a work of fiction. I was inspired by the Lifetime Original Movie, Reviving Ophelia, which is about an abusive teenage relationship. I was also inspired by another story that I read on Teen Ink by HLFelix called Stick ~ check it out, it’s really good~ http://teenink.com/fiction/romance/article/256850/Stick/?page=1
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please tell a parent, a teacher, a guidance counselor, or an adult you trust. Don’t try to “handle” it yourself; this type of situation is above your expertise. Abuse is about manipulation and is not restricted to physical violence. Verbal and Emotional abuse is just a damaging and hurtful. Even if you’re ashamed or promised not to tell, this is a serious issue that needs to be told immediately. And don’t be the person who knew and didn’t say or do anything. It could be a matter of life and death or serious injury. I repeat, this is a work of fiction, but for some it’s real life. Please visit www.loveisrespect.org for more information.***