Rachael Shiver, age 19

Ann Arbor, Michigan

“Not One of Ten Others”

Even though we had more good times than we did bad times, I can still only see the hateful and hurtful words when I look into his hazel eyes or when a smile starts to creep across his face. Even though we laughed and held hands at restaurants and movies more than we shouted and cursed over the phone, when asked about him, it is only the negative things that race through my mind. We watched sunsets, drove around the city, went to football games, and got ice cream, but yet when hearing his name, the memories of when we were happy together are lost, instead, my tunnel vision is directed to his laugh when saying “we don’t need protection,” just to later hear him say “you’re getting an abortion.”

I hear his laugh now, the same laugh that used to give me goosebumps all over, and I feel myself turning red with the hate of him being happy. Though somehow, after the manipulation and hatred, I still cave when my phone brightens with a text from him. I sit and listen to the words he creates about other girls he has been with and pretend that I’m happy for him, yet I still allow myself to sit there with a mask over my real emotion. I continually struggle to understand who I hate more, him for trying to stay in my life, or me for letting him stay. Time and time again I lied for him, protected him, and comforted him, even though he offers nothing in return. I wish with every bone in my body that this story could be in past tense, but as of five minutes ago he opened my snapchat and didn’t care to respond. The thoughts begin to swirl through my head of the idea that is isn’t hatred for him, but pain because of him. It is an endless cycle of degrading words and then apologizing, trying to ruin his life, then getting ready to go to his parties. It is a rollercoaster in which he has the control panel for; I go up and down with no way off until he decides to press the red button to let me free.

Though, adjusting to this ride I am on by myself, convincing myself that he is sorry for treating me this way has become a critical part of my daily routine. Skipping this step would be realizing that he never changed, he still uses me because he has nothing, and the attention he gives me is shared with ten other girls.