The nude photo I saw got stuck in my head. She was a thin girl around my age. Pale skin. She was on her knees. She smoothed her blond hair back. You can see her rib cage. Her small breasts pointed upwards. I wanted to throw my boyfriend Brandon’s phone across the classroom floor. I had tears in my eyes. My fingers scrolled through the messages. More pictures I found. My stomach felt uneasy. I wanted to throw up, but nothing came out. The high school classroom became very cramped. I was sitting behind my friend Ruby. My palms were sweaty. When the school bell rang, I just grabbed my backpack and left the classroom. I didn’t want Ruby to see me cry. Ruby caught up to me and asked me what was wrong. Her manicured hand held my shoulder firmly. Her hand would be comfort for me, but I saw her hand as claws trying to stop me from moving.
I couldn’t respond. All I could feel was rage. I wouldn’t listen. There was a silent ringing in my ears. My entire face was warm and covered in sweat. My feet moved on their own. I scanned the hallway and found Brandon by the study hall entrance. The floor was a disgusting pale color of green and hues of blue. The brown doors to the study hall entrance were open. There were blue lockers on the opposite side. My heart raced in my chest. I couldn’t hear Ruby’s calm voice. I wanted answers from Brandon. But I was afraid to hear the answer. My hand was clenched on his phone. It brought the images of the photos. I walked right past him. I couldn’t talk to him. He called my name and I stopped. I felt betrayed and used.
Brandon asked me what was wrong. His faced showed worry. I hated it. I wanted to smack his face. I showed him the phone screen. I asked him why he had these photos on his phone. My voice was venomous. His thick eyebrows raised and squinted at the phone screen. He told me it was not what it seemed. His voice was calm and reasonable. I hated his voice. I wanted him to act like an asshole. I needed him to so I could fuel my hate. He said that his cousins used his phone sometimes and wasn’t aware of these group chats. It sounded so farfetched. I didn’t believe a word of it. It made no sense that he wasn’t aware of what his cousins were supposedly doing. It was his phone for crying out loud. It didn’t add up at all. But I forgave him.