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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Commitment (01/05/12)

TITLE: You don't know him like I do
By Folakemi Emem-Akpan


You donít know him like I do

Wait, wait, wait. Charlie is nothing like my dad, and you donít know him like I do. You canít judge him because youíre not the one in a relationship with him. Youíre not the one heís bared his soul too. You have never seen the artistic, sensitive part of him.

You canít see past the tattoos, past the Mohawk, past the ever tight lips.

Yes, he does seem terrifying, but what if I told you all that is an act? What if I told you that beneath that tough eighteen year old matured male exterior is a soft heart? What if I told you that the violence and turbulence of his parentsí marriage have left him scarred? And what if I told you that he understands me, knows what makes me tick?

Yes, he has a predisposition to anger, to rage. But tell me which kid from a broken home doesnít? And yes, when heís angry, he has a tendency to hit things, to hit me. But thatís just the way of hormone-charged boys.

And while we are at it, I should take care to tell you that the few times heís ever hit me, I was in the wrong. Yes, a lot of guys donít hit their girlfriends when they do wrong, but itís just that Charlie is a sensitive, emotional person. He feels slights more than the average person does.

The very first time he hit me, heíd caught me scrolling through his text messages. How on earth could I have suspected him of other affairs in a relationship that is supposed to be built exclusively on love?

The second time was also my fault. Heíd been trying to call me all day and I wasnít picking up. Is it not a sign of love to want to know where your beloved is at always?

And have I told you Charlie is nothing like my dad? When he hits me, it is because he has to. And even then, he is always sorry afterwards. My conclusion is, he does not like to hit me but he just canít help himself when I am naughty.

Let me tell you one other reason I know he loves me. Charlie cannot live without me. How about that? Do you know how many times he has told me he would kill himself if I ever leave him? And there was that time, that one time, that he said heíd make it a murder-suicide. Me first, then him. That way, weíd be in heaven together.

Are you asking if I was scared when he said that? Of course I was. That is, initially. Then I thought about the hidden meaning of that threat, the real meaning. Charlie cannot live without me. This makes me feel good inside, makes me feel worthwhile, makes me feel that thereís something I can actually do right in this life.

But see, thereís something I donít really feel good about, something I havenít quite forgiven Charlie for.

That thing is my stolen innocence.

See, weíd agreed very early in or relationship that we were going to stay pure until our wedding night. Yes, we kissed. Yes, we smooched. Yes, we tempted fate. But we were not ready to take it further. At least I wasnít.

But there was a night that Charlie forced me. Today, he says he didnít but in my heart of hearts, I know I was forced. When his hands snaked into my panties, I pushed, I struggled, I told him to stop. But he didnít. He didnít.

There was that horrible pain, there was that desire to scratch out his eyes, there was that urge to curl up and die.

A part of me hates Charlie for what he did, but thereís another part that has reasoned it out. We will be married, wonít we? So, heís only taking now what he would have taken later. Bad but not reprehensible.

What Iím asking you to do is not so terrible, not so hard. Try to see Charlie the way that I do. Why donít you try and see beyond his tough pose to the little, hurting boy inside of him?

He loves me and thatís all that matters. Isnít it?

***Each year approximately one in four adolescents reports verbal, physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Approximately one in five high school girls has been physically, emotionally or sexually abused by a dating partner.

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This article has been read 310 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sydney Avey01/12/12
I like the pleading tone. Very appropriate for a YA market. However, it goes on a little too long with no resolution. She is steadfastly defensive -- could this be taken somewhere we haven't been before?
C D Swanson 01/12/12
Wow- this was emotionally fused from the get go! Brilliantly written, nice job.

God Bless~
Judy Sauer 01/13/12
It is sad that we quickly judge people by their exterior appearances or for being quiet. There are valid times to defend someone because others don't know him in the same way the MC does.

But not this creep. This is a tragic story of a topic not new in society. It's been going on far too long; more than decades for sure.

This girl, like so many others used and abused by supposed "loved ones" don't see a way out. Any attention, even if abusive, is still attention.

At least in present times there are outreach programs to help raise awareness and safe houses. Sadly, those from decades long passed never had a voice or advocate.
Linda Goergen01/14/12
I hope and pray this was fiction. But, it was so realistic, I was literally sick to my stomach after reading it. The girlís self esteem so abused, first as this implies by her dad, and now by her boyfriend, that all she does is blame herself and make excuses for him. This shows commitment alright, but a very sick kind. And even if this fiction, in all too many cases it is not. Anger just wells up in me over men and boys that physically and mentally abuse like that. This poem is very powerful in its message. Hope this could get beyond FW and into the hands of girls and women to help them see.
Kristine Baker01/15/12
This is a relationship commitment we need to abolish. Well written as I could feel emotion from the MC and myself.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/20/12
I have tears streaming down my face. This is a horrible story but so wonderfully written. You explained the reasons for staying in such a clear way. I liked your twist on the topic- the one time someone should break their marriage commitment would be in a situation such as this. That was quite clever. Many people don't understand why someone would stay with a person who raped her. For me, my mind couldn't come to reconciliation with the fact that I'd had sex with someone I didn't love. The only answer my mind could find as a just cause was I must be in love with him. So I convinced my heart we were in love. Thankfully God pulled me out of that relationship without too many scars. Bless you for writing this difficult piece.
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