Master manipulator

The last time I got my hair done by my Californian hairdresser, she told me a story that has rather stuck with me, and I found myself thinking about it again this morning. It is a story about her neighbor, a nice woman in her 40s living in Southern California, educated, nice-looking, stable. She met a man in his early 50s and they were instantly an item. They had set the day for their wedding, and were planning out the details, when he suddenly got a letter from the US military. He was a year out of the Reserves, and the military can call people back to active duty in situations like that. So this woman's fiance was sent to Iraq. He would call her via satellite phone, with video feed, every week or so. Then a week or two went by and she did not hear from him. And then it came. A telegram telling her he had been killed while on patrol. She called his grown children, and they all shared their grief, but the kids told her that they did not want a funeral. Since she was only his fiance, and not his wife, she accepts their wishes, and tries to deal with her grief on her own. Well, some months pass like this, until she sees a posting on Craig's List with his name on it. She checks the link to a facebook profile, and there she sees that indeed this is her fiance, and that he is now living in a different state, running a small business. My hairdresser told me this story with an edge to her voice, she was incredibly angry that this man had done this to her friend. Obviously. Of course. Anyone would feel the same way. How could this man? What was wrong with him? It was appalling.

Except, well, actually, I had a question I dared not ask my hairdresser, and I almost dare not say it here. But I still have the same question about this story. Why wasn't the woman happy to find out that the man she loved and wanted to marry was alive?


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