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It's strange, the things we learn as we grow older.

Recently I found some old friends on Facebook that I've not seen since I was barely 18 years old. Through them, I was able to see photos of a man I was once engaged to at that same age. I thought the sun rose and set with him. Little did I know...

I'll never let a man strike me. This particular fellow had a bit of a temper when he drank - and he seemed to drink every weekend - and sometimes almost every night. He frightened me on occasion, and on the weekends we would escape the heat of Phoneix to our home in Prescott, I would often find myself hiding in the top of the old barn by the house. There were a pile of old TV Guides from the 60's in there I enjoyed thumbing through, but my favorite find was a collection of short stories published by Alfred Hitchcock.

One afternoon he had a few too many drinks. He was young, only 21 years old, and rather immature at times. He got angry at me on the way to a store. I don't even remember the store. He pulled off to the side of the road, screaming at me. I got out of the car and started to walk. I didn't know where I was going or how I was getting there, but at the time anything was better than where I was. He got worse, screaming and yelling at me. Finally he talked me into getting back in the car. We continued on our way, my nose practically glued to the passenger window, crying my eyes out. He didn't let up.

"This was supposed to be a fun day," he screamed at me. I don't even remember what it was I had done. "You ruined it. Why do you always have to ruin things for me?"

He pulled the car over once more, looking more angry than he ever had before. He looked like he wanted to hurt me. He balled up his fist, screamed in outrage, and opened his hand. Finally he slapped me on the leg. It wasn't just a light slap - for him. It left a large bruise on my leg in the shape of his hand.

It was a matter of days later when I collected my stashed money from the fake plant at the grocery store and hit the road. He had struck me once. I wasn't going to wait around to see if it happened again, and perhaps waiting for a black eye or broken arm. I promised myself long ago that I would never stay with a man that struck me. I held true to that promise I made to myself. I walked out with nothing but what I had in my pockets.

Later on I nearly starved to death with this move. I survived on merely 5 saltine crackers a day at each meal, but that's another story entirely.

I found this guy on Facebook. It's amazing - he still has the same dark, mysterious eyes... but he's not who I remember him being. He's a happy person. He's got children. I imagine his house is devoid of holes in the wall now, and he's probably lost that wild temper. I'm proud of him.

He also told me long ago that I would hit my peak of physical attraction at 30 years old. Well, here I am at 30 and I've thought about him while that age snuck up on me. Though I won't be sending him a friend request anytime soon, it's good to see he's happy and well.

Honestly, the one thing anyone should take from this bit of writing is the fact that I never hold any ill will towards anyone. It's just not in my nature. The past is the past. I cared about him once, and I care about him as a person now. I wish him and his family all the best.

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