A Frightening Memory This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   "Jes, what's wrong?" Karen whispered. "You look upset."

"Nothing, " I mumbled.

"Jes, tell me what is wrong, please. Did I say something?" Karen persisted.

"No, I just don't feel well," I uttered.

"I know something is wrong. I won't tell anyone," Karen coaxed.

"It's just that you guys are talking about the first person you kissed and it's bringing back memories of Jerome," I finally confessed.

I don't like speaking about Jerome. People act differently around me or feel depressed. It aroused a frightening memory.

Jerome was a 31-year-old, muscular, white male, Air Force officer who was about five-feet, three-inches tall. He had broad shoulders and muscular legs, like a runner. He had hazel, squinty, evil-looking eyes. The pointy nose and the wart in the middle of his forehead were the ultimate. His skinny lips were covered by a long mustache with crumbs stuck in it. He also had coarse, thick, dirty-blond hair cut in a spike. Overall, he was ugly.

One day, while babysitting me, he took me to the mall. He had a small, red Bug with bucket seats. It smelled like cigarette smoke. He made me sit in the front because that were tools in the back.

I was sitting quietly listening to the heavy metal music playing on the radio, when he reached over and touched my face lightly. I was uncomfortable and pulled away.

Sensing my tension, he promised, "I won't hurt you. Don't worry." As he started to stroke and run his fingers through my hair, I uttered, "Please stop, Jerome." He ignored my request and continued stroking my hair. Then louder and with more confidence, I ordered "Stop now, Jerome!" Yet he kept caressing my body.

"But Jesi, I love you," he said convincingly.

To me - an eight-year-old - he seemed like a monster. He was so large and strong, and I was unable to stop him. Although I was crying, I gave up struggling.

His hand was now lower on my body, moving up my leg. He then pulled into the mall and parked. I didn't know what was happening or if he'd hurt me anymore.

Then, what I knew he was going to do happened. He pulled me up tight to his body and kissed me. He stuck his ugly, dirty tongue into my mouth. I felt violated, like trash.

"Don't tell anyone. They would be jealous that I love you," Jerome warned.

He then brought me into the mall and bought me lunch, a stuffed monster, and a Pogo ball. "These are to show my love," he rationalized.

The rest of the time I spent with him that day, I cried. I will never be able to trust anyone, I thought.

"Jes, do you want a soda?" Karen asked.

"What?" I stuttered with tears in my eyes, abandoning the memory.

"Want a soda?" she repeated.

"Sure," I managed to agree. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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