The Cedarville Review 2021

No one ever told me love could make you sick, but the burn of vomit in my throat proved otherwise. I hadn’t been able to sleep all night and finally padded out of my bedroom in sweats and my comfiest oversized sweatshirt at three a.m. My sleepy-time tea hadn’t shut my brain down, and the overpriced foot massager my parents had given me for my birthday hadn’t removed any of my tension. My forehead throbbed with an approaching migraine, and my stomach was cramping like it did on my worst period days. My phone sat on the kitchen table in front of me. It lit up with another text from Eli. The time read 5:49 over our graduation caps. I had another seventeen hours to make the call before I’d be in contempt of the law requiring me to report this after twenty-four hours of knowledge. Not enough time. Too much time to sit and stare at the phone and ignore his texts and phone calls. His inevitable banging on my apartment door and demanding we talk. His telling me it was years ago, that it wasn’t happening anymore. That if I loved him, I’d stay out of it. He had never sworn in front of me before, yet he did last night. He once told me that there was a reason foul language existed, but he didn’t use it unless a situation truly called for it. He cussed me out last night. Called me every foul name in the book and more I hadn’t heard of. That’s when I dropped the phone on the tiled floor and fled to the bathroom. My iPhone now has a large crack straight through our clasped hands on graduation day. He’d thought we were sharing life last night. Finally trusting each other with our childhoods. I’d been sickened by his story, holding back my tears as I learned the true story behind the long scar slashed across his forehead and into his eyeLEGAL REPERCUSSIONS HANNAH SMITH