“It’s your fault; you always push me too far! It’s like you are asking for this, look at what you made me do. Why do you always have to push me too far? Do you like it when I hurt you?” That was his way of saying sorry after gruesomely ploughing my face with punches. It did not get any better than that, so I never expected more. During the day, we painted the town red, by the night he painted my shirts red by using his hands. He was a real artist; he was good at throwing punches. I always would blame myself for his abuse, cheating and disrespect. Wait! Let me start at the beginning.

Many a love story begins with a boy who meets a girl, but my story begins like this: girl met monster disguised as a boy. He was not just a boy, but he was a very handsome boy with a lot of money and with that money came pride, arrogance and lack of respect. At 17, I was not a good judge of character and always feared judging people, so I did not analyze people’s characters without getting to know them first. Instead of finding all the negative aspects in his character, I only saw the positive. I put him on a pedestal and I made him king in my heart.

The first time I saw him I said to myself: “I will marry that guy one day!” A few months later I was dating him, and it was love at first sight for him too. He was honest, God-fearing and kind. Even though it was a façade, I believed it to be genuine because I was trying to prove a point to myself. I wanted to see if someone would love me; I did not know that I had to love myself first. Love is a beautiful thing until it blinds you. I don’t know if it’s love that blinds us or if we just become too gullible. We allow people to get away with things in the name of love and they manipulate us into thinking that we cannot live without them.

When he first said hello, I swear I could’ve died right there and then because I had low self esteem and having someone like him say hello to me shocked me. That one hello lead to more hellos. Three days after we met he said “I love you”. I loved him too, with all of me. I

found nothing wrong with him. It did not matter what everyone around me said. All I cared about was him and what I felt for him. The first time he laid a hand on me he said it was a mistake. He begged me to forgive him and not to leave him. I should have left then, but I stayed. He was my dream guy and every girl in campus liked him.

He was every girl’s dream. Well, every girl who did not know him. He had an excuse for everything he did wrong. He would go partying with other girls and his answer would be: “you are not club material”. I should have left him then, but did I? I stuck around because he apologized and I accepted his apology because I did not value myself enough to walk away. I cannot count how many times he stabbed me in the back; he did every deed listed in the backstabber’s manual. The truth is I knew he was bad but I kept thinking about how good his heart was when I first met him. I thought that this was all a phase and it would pass. Nothing changed; he just got worse by the day.

As the cheating increased, so did the punches if I confronted him. There were less apologies and more guilt-tripping if I tried to leave. I believed that he was a good person because of how he was when we first met. I guess it’s true what they say: You cannot judge a book by its cover; you need to read what is written inside.