Jessica Pliego
Jessica Pliego, NIU

Jessica Pliego graduated from Cristo Rey Jesuit High School where she participated in numerous organizations, served as the president of Social Action Club, and played soccer for four years. Jessica’s major of sociology will prepare her for realizing her goals of attending graduate school before opening a women’s center in her neighborhood. Jessica wrote “Hurtful Love” to show what many female teenagers have endured and to encourage coping.

It was love at first sight. I felt butterflies in my stomach like I never felt before. My heart’s speed increased as soon as I saw his face. His eyes sparkled like two small bright stars. His scent was of a winter waterfall, refreshing and minty. I could tell he only had eyes for me. He was different from the rest of the guys. He had perfect grades and was not into gangs and violence. To me, he was a dream come true. The day I first met him is a day I will never forget. He was dropping off his younger sister, Annie, into my reading-tutoring center at the Boys and Girls Club. While she stayed there with me, he would go to the gym and play basketball with his teammates. He was the captain, which I also admired.

He smiled and said, “This is my little sister; take good care of her.”

I responded by saying, “I sure will. By the end of this session, she will read like a college graduate.”

We both laughed. This was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. We started dating three weeks after meeting. On our first date, we decided to go out for a dinner and a movie. It was a fascinating day. When he took me back home, he walked me to the front steps of my door, and from the back of his truck, he took out a bouquet of beautifully scented yellow roses. He knew they were my favorite. A couple more romantic dates followed, and I knew that this was going to be the greatest relationship I had ever had; at least, that’s what I wanted to believe.

A year and a half passed by.

I arrived home from school. No one was home: my sisters were not out of school yet and my parents were working, so there was silence all around and also the fresh scent of cinnamon apple pie that I had baked the night before. I went inside my room and sat on my pink uncomfortable bed, and waited for a text from my boyfriend, Alex, a tall, light-skinned, big-nosed guy. He always wore an extra-large white T-shirt with baggy blue jeans that reached the floor, which I never understood because he was a scrawny guy. I could always tell that he was uncomfortable because he would walk with his legs spread apart. I looked around and noticed that my room was cleaner than it had ever been. My pictures were up, my bed was made, and nothing was falling apart. It was perfect. I received the text:

“Why haven’t you texted me? Did you find a new guy?”

I texted him back and said, “No, I thought you were going to text me. Plus, I just got home from school.”

My hands started shaking and sweating, and my heart started pounding even faster than before. I could now hear my heart beat and I was biting my nails nervously.

Alex texted, “Why the hell are you lying to me? I bet you are cheating on me with another guy, right?”

I replied, “No, no! Why do you always say that? You know I would never do such thing to you.” I started biting my chapped lips harder until my lips turned red as an apple.

He didn’t text back.

I fell asleep for twenty minutes. When I woke up, I checked my phone and saw that I had five new calls and ten new messages. They were from Alex. I was terrified.

I called him back, and before I could speak, he said, “Where the hell have you been? I’m coming over and you better open the fucking door!”

I didn’t respond and just hung up. I panicked and wanted to run out of the house as soon as I could. By the time I got my book bag ready and opened the door to run out, he was standing right outside the door, waiting to come in without my permission.

Alex roared, “I figured you would run away.”

He then pushed my tiny, fragile body onto the hard, unpolished wooden floor. I weakly stood up and started running around my living room screaming for someone to help me. In my way, I knocked down the living room table, a vase filled with beautiful roses that had thorns all around them, and my little sister’s desk. Inside my perfectly cleaned bedroom, he finally caught me by my arm. He had a strong grip around my arm and I could see the blood in my veins struggling to circulate. I could taste the salty tears running down my cheekbones. He was so extremely close to me that I was able to smell the cigar he had before he rampaged his way into my house.

I said to Alex, “Stop, stop! Don’t you dare put a hand on me ever again!” But to my surprise, he didn’t listen. I could see my own father’s evil eyes in Alex’s eyes because that was the way my dad had treated my mother for years. My mother would tell my dad to stay away, and he never did. He, just like Alex, wanted everything his own way. I saw myself as my mother, which frightened me the most because I could feel her dreadful pain. Alex did what he supposedly had to do, which was leaving me marked with pain and hatred.

I said to him in a shaky voice, “I told you not to hurt me again! I thought you loved me!”

Alex replied, “I do love you. That’s why I did what I had to do. It shows how much I care about you and how much I want you for myself.”

That was a lie.

I was confused. I wasn’t sure if that was the way love worked. I always used to hear people say that love hurts, but was it this kind of hurt?

I said to him, “I don’t think you are supposed to hurt the person you love.”

And he yelled, “Well, that’s how much I love you, and that’s final.”

He left my house looking like a big tough guy that had just won a battle. His mission was accomplished, so he walked away with his head held up high and determined that he had done the right thing.

I looked at myself in the mirror and noticed that my eyes were extremely red and puffed up. My hair was a mess and half of it covered my face. I said to myself, “Jessica, you deserve someone better, someone who will treat you with respect and love.” I was no longer confused nor blinded by love. I had to take drastic measurements.

I figured that my mother was not happy for the past years with my father because she was always treated like a disobedient animal that needed to be taught a lesson. I realized that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life living that way. I looked around my room and noticed that it wasn’t clean anymore. It looked the same as the days before when Alex would stop by with his jealousy. My bed was falling apart, my pictures were facing down and nothing seemed perfect. I knew that things had to change. I knew that I deserved someone better and that I could obtain it. From the moment I fixed my room to perfection, it never again looked like a tornado had attacked my bedroom. The hurtful love was finally over and I was ready to restart my life with actual love. My parents never imagined that this happened to me, and they still don’t know. Although I have not found actual love, I am sure that it is somewhere out there waiting for me.

Published by Aaron Geiger

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