“Okay, class. Today’s writing assignment will be to write a one-page paper on what a healthy relationship looks like,” Miss Raymond said.
Kailey raised her hand.
“Are you talking about romantic relationships? Or relationships in general?”
“Good question. I’m talking about relationships in general,” Miss Raymond answered. “Guys, you’re all really bright teenagers, some of you more experienced in relationships than others. Even if you’ve never been in a romantic relationship, you’ve had relationships with family members, friends, teachers. Write about what has made your relationships healthy in the past. Think about unhealthy relationships. What have you learned from them? What could you have changed?
“I’m really excited to hear what you come up with. You will spend the next few days reading your essays to the class. Then we will all pick the best one.”
“What does the winner get?” Cody asked, glaring at Kailey.
“The winner’s essay will be showcased in the library for the spring open house. Good luck, everyone! Have fun with this!”
The bell rang. Cody shook his head at Kailey and walked to her seat in the back. She looked up at him, trying to hold back tears.
“Well…Somebody must have a lot to say about romantic relationships.”
“Cody, you know why we broke up.”
“No. I don’t, Kailey! Explain it to me, because I still don’t get it! I loved you!”
Kailey rolled her eyes and got out of her seat.
“You loved me? Really? Let’s think about this, Cody. I wanted to celebrate my dad’s birthday with my family, but ended up going with you to celebrate your mom’s instead. You didn’t even say thank you. I told you how important it was to get sleep before the ACT, but you kept calling my house to get me to come over, eventually threatening to break up with me. You bribed my little sister to let me go to your baseball game when you knew damn well that she wanted me at her soccer game. That’s not love, Cody. Love is showing support! You showed manipulation!”
With that, Kailey turned towards the door and ran out. Cody ran after her a few feet behind.
“Oh, you think you’re so smart!” he laughed. “Well, I guess you learned so much about ‘healthy’ relationships! I’m sure your essay will be a real winner! Can’t wait to hear it! Bitch!”
Kailey broke into a sprint. She didn’t have to take this. The definition of a healthy relationship was elusive. Almost all of Kailey’s romantic relationships were toxic. But she knew all about the signs of unhealthy relationships. Hopefully, with those lessons, writing this essay would be easy.