Union County Tales

by Lena Rushing

Character Intro

I know of a high school student

He is likely the last I would think to call prudent

Confident in his mental capacity, he enjoys talking about the thoughts in his head

Quite frankly I find he bases his decisions off the wrong head instead

His eyes are comparable to sunrise, his spirit charmingly impulsive

However I have always found his morals and thoughts to be rather repulsive

His love is simply too vast and wide to include a single girl

He was always sweet in the earlier years, appears his life has taken a whirl

Forgetting to cover up his tracks, you can only imagine his girlfriend to be vexed

When she unlocked his phone and came across a rather risque text

Always he was preaching about the importance of being loyal

How when in love you are honest, his own morals he seemed to foil

Now this young student has decided to become more blunt and obtuse

That’s how he words it, what he calls the emotional abuse

It is inflicted of his poor loving partner

These behaviors he swears to be normal, yet I find them to be quite darker

Commonly he is clad in at least one article of clothing from a past relationship

One that simply crumbled after becoming a dictatorship

It is much to his disliking if you ever catch a man’s eye

His insecurities quickly rise and he is likely to accuse you of infidelity until you almost cry

Much to his credit he hardly ever shows shame

Openly tells you how often his bed was shared and when the experience with you is not the same

Trinkets, coins, and little things seem to be his sentimental possessions

Good health is something he values, always willing to show off the body he tends

Perhaps the reason why he has more admirers than those he could call a friend

Or maybe it's because he often speaks with the intent to offend

His cold attitude, his bitter mind, his vindictiveness, all seem to repel others

Don’t be fooled however, he is a good child, simply ask his mother

Family appears to be his primary companion

He is someone that people often abandon

I give my honest testimony to things I’ve heard and seen

Though my words may be biased I think them not mean

For this is all very true about a student named Dean

The Tale Part 1

The harsh sun beat down across Union County

Bringing record heat in waves that seemed to put people in hysteria

Perhaps it was the weather that had put Dean in such a poor mindset

Maybe had it been another season, the blissful fall or chilling winter, he would have been wiser

Well what matters now is not hindsight, but still we shall recall the fault in Dean’s actions

Six months had it been since Dean entered a commitment

It was to a young, sweet girl, fragile in all aspect but so filled with kindness that she radiated it

Anna was she dubbed, though I feel the name never truly fit her

Her voice kind, smile genuine, happy eyes, awestruck Dean confessed love within two weeks

I’m sure that they were happy for a decent amount of time

They had to have been, it was clear from the fixation in both of their eyes

When they had first met the Anna had all her virtues and innocence quilted around her and clear to any beholder

Dean was rather quick to claim that all to himself, as he had before with another and another

Being naive to the point of folly, Anna too felt a love but it would soon bring on melancholy

Despite having no real reason or proof to show

Dean began making bold accusations towards his shy lover

He would raise his voice and shout obscenities

Showing the blind anger of a man inebriated

If he discovered she had any slight interaction towards another man

The most fitting thing he saw to do was call her a whore

Until she swore down that she wouldn’t do it anymore

“You should be grateful” he would say

“Grateful that I am giving you another chance, no one else would do that for you”

Becoming aware of his power, manipulation became a hobby of his

He found it favorable to be in someone else’s mind rather than his own

Honestly cannot blame him for that preference

So, as the tale goes, it had been six months that Dean and Anna had been together

It was at that point in time when he decided that he wanted something more

“I really do love Anna still, I just never feel alive with her, you make me feel alive”

He gave such flattering words to someone who was little more than a stranger

Unknown to Anna he had made it clear that he had all intention of being unfaithful

The stranger not so easily swayed, pointed out to Dean that he was breaking his own morals

It became apparent that the stranger felt more guilt than Dean himself

A thought occurred in his head;

If he could not justify himself, why not demonize Anna instead?

Without batting an eye he told the stranger Anna had originally been the unfaithful one

Words that were simply untrue, her loyalty and love was devoted to him alone

However, a lie showed through more than the truth

Feeling less guilt and blinded by a cunning charm, the stranger succumbed to his will

So began an affair, all the while Dean was able to act natural to Anna

He still erupted into tantrums that ended with tears running down her face

He continued on to take her kindness for granted, like an unwanted gift

The Tale Part 2

Poor, sweet, Anna found herself conflicted

She was sure of the love that she felt for Dean

She knew she did all in her power to express and show it to him

Yet could not figure out why he was so cruel

It was almost a month before she realized that she had been taken for a fool

It was almost too simple, almost too easy

Anna wasn’t even expecting to see anything when she went to take a picture on Dean’s phone

Yet she stumbled onto pictures, and messages

Incriminating evidence piling up until it was all too clear to her what was going on

Such a pure heart, such a kind soul, she truthfully was

However just as we are all human, we all have our breaking points

Without hesitation she confronted the man she had declared her love too

Dean knew at that point he could not even deny his actions

Anna held back her tears for as long as she could but her frustration and sorrow filled her eyes

The final straw had been broken, no longer could the gentle girl accept such mistreatment

Despite her aching heart, and much to her credit

She made it clear to Dean their relationship had ended in the nicest way she could word it.

Watching her leave, hearing her goodbye, Dean felt a need to hang on.

He chased her out the door and she refused to hear his apologies

It was now Dean who felt the heartbreak

Only in her leaving did he come to see how rare it was to find someone so generous as Anna

Having no other to turn to or shoulder to cry on, Dean returned to the stranger

He told her that now they could be in a real relationship, that she would be his focus

But knowing full and well how untrustworthy Dean was, the stranger turned down the offer

In fact the stranger left all together, not wishing to deal with the complications of Dean’s life

Now here we are, at the end of our tale

You may not think it to be one of excitement or adventure

But I find it to be rather revealing

It is so easy to be Dean, festering in his own hypocrisy

It is easy to be Anna, blinded by love that is not reciprocated

Or even the stranger who contributes to mess up people’s lives

In the end we all make fools of ourselves when it comes to desire

Rather that be the desire to feel loved

The desire to be in control

Or simply the desire to have something we don't.


I choose a promiscuous teen aged boy as my main character because it was a real life character trope that I seemed to repeatedly stumble upon over the past Summer, though the people I encountered were different individuals, they could be broken down to very similar personalities; condescending, manipulative, insecure and immature. I feel today that it is becoming more and more of a normality in young relationships for someone to be much too controlling and overbearing towards their partner. Not only that, but the clinginess is romanticized and passed off as love when it’s really just a desire to be in control of another human being, such behavior needs to be recognized as selfish and how it can be damaging to the other person in numerous ways. People are beginning to think it is completely okay to isolate their significant other from other relationships, that they should have to choose between dating or friends, I know very strongly that these are not healthy relationships at all, and this needs to be emphasized to counter the pop culture influence as well as the real life examples of the poor relationships.

Along with over controlling, I wanted to include the way that people are becoming more and more comfortable with being unfaithful in relationships. It does go hand and hand with this generation's far more open outlook on casual sex than those in the past, however to enjoy sex and to cheat are two completely different things. Though it’s not a topic that comes up much in the typical classroom, teenagers are definitely having sex, but now they are having it with several different partners at a time, and I find this to be a huge mark unique to our generation as well as the morals of today’s society. There are so many younger people in relationships in which they have acted unfaithful and yet they carry on with their partner as if nothing was ever wrong to begin with, it is as if they have no shame or fail to even see why cheating is wrong. People begin to value their own sexual pleasure over the emotions of the person that they are supposed to be kind to, not only is it not looked down upon as much as it should be but this act is sometimes glorified and presented as an achievement in the eyes of young peers, when it should be deemed disgusting.

These two things I included also fit together because I have come to notice that the very people who are unfaithful tend to be even more over controlling to their own partner because they become suspicious and paranoid that perhaps they are cheating as well. The problem with young love is that a vast majority of the time it is not love at all, simply lust and desire, lust for sex, desire for affection and not to be alone. People who become a part of this kind of “love” only actually care for themselves, they will twist their words to make you think they are actually being caring and protecting when in reality they are manipulative and wish to suck every possible benefit they can out of the relationship before it goes sour, because it without a doubt will. My character accurately reflects the social flaws I was trying to point out, though he had a caring and loving partner already, he made the conscious decision to deceive her trust and risk the entire relationship on something he lusted after, demeaning his faithful girlfriend and showing she isn’t actually worth much to him despite their history together and all that he had given him

That's not love

A recent campaign started to get people to recognize abusive relationships. Several of the lines spoken here sound like something that my character Dean would say. Meanwhile this ad also reflects how I want society to stop normalizing unhealthy relationships.
#ThatsNotLove campaign | Because I Love You - Delete | One Love Foundation