When I was 16, my high school boyfriend backhanded me across the face, with a beer bottle in his hand. We were in his baby blue car, on our way to his house, and his father was the first to look up from watching golf on TV and notice my newly forming bruise, the swelling next to my eye. His father lost it. My boyfriend cowered and slunk down to the basement; his dad, apologetic about his son, drove me home.
It was never mentioned again.
But we dated for another year. Because, of course, I “loved” him, and I figured my sassy mouth provoked him. That’s what I was taught.
One of my biggest regrets is something I said to my mother right before she died.
She was in severe pain and respiratory distress, shaking and sweating, a good hour from her next painkiller. She said, “I wish you…
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