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Twelve Years Old
Photo: Adriaan de Man
“In order to become the winner that you will respect and admire . . . you must have control of the authorship of your own destiny . . . the pen that writes your life story must be held in your own hand.” – Irene C. Kassorda

They met at the local mall where they both enjoyed frequently hanging out with friends. She told him she was sixteen; he told her he was seventeen. There was a problem though. If the truth was told, she was only 12 and he was 24 years old.

And so that’s how their relationship started. Lying to each other in an attempt to get what they wanted from each other.

Tess’s mom was on welfare, and had several other children by several different fathers. Tess’s mom didn’t have time for Tess. Marco cared about her, she was certain. She wanted to please him, to maybe marry him someday. She couldn’t share any of this information with Marco of course. She didn’t want to scare him off, when he might be her way out of her situation.

Marco was from another country, he was currently working “under the table.” He saw Tess as a way to get a green card, to become legal, to become a citizen. He couldn’t tell Tess that of course. He didn’t want to scare her away, when she might be his way out of his situation.

Tragic consequences

A month later Tess noticed she missed her period. Two months later she was feeling nauseated in the morning. Three months later a doctor confirmed that she was pregnant. And she was only twelve.

Someone found out that Tess was only twelve and that Marco was twenty-four. The police came and Marco was arrested. The police told Child Protective Services and someone came to the hospital right after Tess had the baby, and they took the baby and put her in foster care. Tess cried. She loved her baby. The CPS worker told her she could live in foster care with her baby, but she didn’t want to. She still just wanted to be a kid and live at home with her own mom.

It never pays to lie. And sex--it’s not what you think it is . . . when you are only twelve.

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By Denise Taylor, pseudonym. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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