Tuesday, February 16, 2016

My Ex Showed Up For Court


I’m not sure how many of you remember but in July I paid Mr. Attorney Man (in single dollar bills, in a duffle bag, in a parking lot, because WHY NOT?) to take my ex back to court due to his continued nonpayment of child support.

I was coming off the heel of yet another failed attempt to get him to pay; a failed attempt that included me agreeing — in the hallway of the courthouse — to a ridiculous deal that would let my ex pay me what he owed, over the course of the next 5 years; a deal made in an attempt to keep him out of jail so that he wouldn’t lose his job, and take with it any chance of me ever getting paid.

I had left court that day upset that I had agreed to allow him to finance his children, and upset that once again he would face no real consequence from the years of his repeated failure to be responsible for his children. As the months wore on and he did not keep up his end of the deal, I got angry (and rightfully so). But the funny thing was, I was less angry at him, and more angry with myself. I was angry because by continuously making deals with him, I was not handling the situation in a way that I would look back and feel proud of.

From my post in October when I was talking about going back to court, I had said:

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What matters to me is standing up to my ex.

What matters to me is not even proving anything to him, because I don't care about him, but proving to myself that I will not be pushed around anymore.

What matters to me is being able to tell my children "I tried." It matters when they ask me why they can't have what the other kids have, or even have enough of what they need, that I will at least be able to tell them "I'm trying."

What matters to me is showing my daughter that you don't let a man walk on you and be expected to accept it.

What matters to me is not allowing the only lesson that my son ever learns from his father to be that you can throw your responsibilities away without any consequences.

What matters to me is that I don't want to forever be the woman who watched her husband walk away, but rather I'd like to become the woman that waved good-bye as she steps over him on her way out the door.

What matters to me is finding my voice after so many years of silence.

What matters to me is finally knowing that I'm not a victim of my silence anymore.

I don't care if I win my court case, I care that I tried.

I'm at least going to try.

I don't plan to spend the rest of my life chasing down a man that is choosing not to be a part of our family (and shouldn't be), but as a parent I need at least one time where I stood up to the man who abused and abandoned all three of us, and know that I didn't let him weasel his way out of the consequences. I need at least one time where I can tell my kids, "mommy tried." My kids already have a lot of questions as to why their dad isn't here and as they get older, they are bound to start asking about my role in how everything played out. As a mother who is trying to help her children through a situation that they don't understand, I want to be able to tell them that daddy may have left, but mommy didn't let him forget what he left behind.

The only thing that my children will ever truly know their father for, is being walked out on by him.

I want them to know that I not only stayed, but that I also fought for them.

They deserve that much.

They deserve to know that I fought for the recognition of their existence.

So I'm going back to court and this time, we are doing things my way.

I may not win, but at least I'll know I tried.


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And so two weeks ago, I went back to court, but this time, I was determined not to take a deal, because this was not about the money for me. I mean yes, money is great, I like money, and if he wants to give me money I will gladly take it, but this really wasn’t about the money. This was, as I said, more about being able to prove to myself that I was done letting my ex walk all over me, and in turn being able to show my children (when they get older and can better understand) that there are consequences for your actions. And lastly, I want to be able to tell my children that I fought for them. That yes, I chose the wrong man to marry, but that I did my best to make things right when he walked away. 

I really want that.

I made my intentions abundantly clear to Mr. Attorney Man, and then I didn’t worry about it anymore. I wasn’t even sure where my ex was living, so the chances of him even finding out that we had a court date seemed pretty slim (although he was served at every previously known address). Because of that, I resigned myself to the fact that I would probably walk in with my case and walk out with a warrant for his arrest…. and then I would wait. Wait for the system to find him, wait for him to randomly be pulled over for speeding, or wait for whatever else the world might have in store that would cause the police to arrest him. Either way, I was prepared for nothing more than the tiniest step in the legal process, but in the bigger picture (and the one that was more important to me), I would walk out of court with the knowledge that I had stood up for myself, and the right to be honest with my children in the future that “yes, I did try everything.”

So when the court date was set, I didn’t think about it much. It didn’t seem like anything monumental was going to happen, and I was determined not to let my PTSD brain steal any more of time worrying about it. But the morning of court, when my alarm clock went off, I freaked out. 

Here I am that morning, texting with the guy that I'm dating. (I'm the yellow blurb)





Suddenly I just knew that he my ex going to show up and I did not think that I could handle seeing him. 

When I saw him walk through the courtroom door and take a seat several chairs down from me, my fears were confirmed and my stomach threatened to give me a second showing of my breakfast. 

Mr. Attorney Man took my ex into the hallway to talk to him, my ex nearly punched Mr. Attorney Man (nope, not kidding), and then we waited for our case to be called. Hours you guys, my ex and I waited several hours together in that courtroom; awkwardly exchanging glances at each other that neither of us meant for the other one to see.

And then it was our turn.

My ex started to (fake) tear up and plead his case to the judge. He claimed that he had tried to pay me, but the child support system didn’t work. Then when the judge asked him why he hadn’t sent a check to my house, or gone down to the child support office, or even let my attorney and I know what the situation was, he changed his story to how his car was going to get towed and he really needed the money, and then started to whine that he didn’t actually have any money, and as he went on and on, I grew increasingly frustrated that I had to even waste my time listening to anymore of his lies.

So did the judge.

He gave my ex a list of paperwork that he wants that will either verify his story or discredit it, and continued the case to the first week of March.

Now I wait.

And although I wasn’t nervous while waiting before, I’m nervous as hell now. Not because I’m still scared of him, or because I’m afraid I might lose the case, but because for the first time in the 4 years that I’ve been going through this process, I’m scared for a different reason.

After four years of hurting, crying, healing, reminiscing, and chatting with you guys, I really am amazed at how far I’ve come. And I was confronted with exactly how far that really is, when I realized that seeing him now brings up a totally different feeling in me.

Now, I am not scared that he will attack me in court, but rather that I might actually lose my fucking mind and punch my ex in his stupid lying face, in front of the judge.

It wasn’t seeing his glare that reminded me of all the times that I looked into his eyes and thought that I might actually die, that got me riled up. Or seeing him clench his fists and remembering how much they hurt. It wasn’t seeing the arms that held me down while he raped me, or even seeing the lips that used to say the most horrific things to me; things coming from the mouth of the one who should have loved me most. 

It was seeing him stand there and try to excuse away everything that he has done (or not done) that brought forth emotions in me that I wasn’t sure how to immediately deal with. 


Scared of him?

Nah, not anymore. Unsettled, yes. Traumatized, for sure. But scared of him in the courtroom? Not a bit.

Now, I just want to punch him in the face. Which I know, as a DV survivor and someone who now works in the DV community, I probably shouldn’t even be saying that, but this is a place of honesty, so I’m going to be honest.

I’d really like the opportunity to punch him in the face.

But I won’t… hopefully.

Because that would be wrong. I guess.

When I first started the divorce process, I was so hurt and angry that my ex had not only broken me, but then also left me, that I used to constantly repeat the motto “handle yourself with dignity and grace” anytime I felt like I was going to flip out. I’d seen couples in the courthouse hallway screaming at each other, and I’d seen friends tear their former spouse to shreds in front of our other friends, and while it may been pretty justified if I had chosen to do the same, I realized that the only control that I had in a situation that was totally out of my control, was how I was going to handle myself.

So dignity and grace is what I chose, and I’m pleased to say that even though he probably deserved whatever I would have liked to throw at him, I didn’t throw anything at all; literal or otherwise. In fact, a post popped up on my Facebook TimeHop feature the other day that alerted me to a status update I had posted three and a half years ago. It said “a lot of you are asking me about my ex and what is going on. I know that this is a situation that naturally brings about a lot of curiosity, but it is not one that I’m choosing to broadcast at the moment. I will tell you that my ex has chosen to leave our family, and that I am getting a divorce. I do not know where he is, but I do ask that despite whatever it is that he is doing, or wherever he may be, that you keep him in your prayers as much as you are already keeping me in them. I can’t imagine why he did what he did, so please take the opportunity to pray for someone who is clearly struggling.”

And that is how I have continued to live. I ask others to have grace for him, not because he deserves it, but because I do not want to surround myself with people who feel anger for me. I do not want my kids growing up surrounded by adults who feel angry around us. There has been so much anger already, that I don’t want to breed anymore.

So while I would like justice to be served and am pursuing it in the court system, anger is not what I want to feel towards him. Not because he deserves my grace, but because I realize that this is not about him, it’s about me.

And so this court date? It’s about me, and my kids, and how I’m choosing to handle things, and I hope (and pray) that when I see my ex the first week of March, that I can remember all the work I’ve done in the last 4 years to not become the crazy screaming ex.

Because between you and me? I kinda want to punch him in his stupid lying face.

Wish me luck, and please pray for grace.

Lord knows I’m going to need a helping hand for that one.

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Interested In Reading More About My Experiences In Court? Then Check Out These Posts!





50 comments:

  1. I'm tearing up thinking of you going through this, while I'm admiring the raw honesty ... and giggling at "That would be wrong . . . I guess." Write a book? Book nothing. How about a set of Encyclopedias? -Kim

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    1. Haha! Glad you got the giggle that I was going for ;)

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  2. My case was similar in so many ways it breaks my heart to read your story. My youngest will be 26 in a few weeks and my ex will be paying me for about another 10 years due to all the back support owed. He is still trying to get the support stopped as the kids are now "of age" as he puts it and he tells everyone how horrible I am for making him continue to pay. I will not stop till he has paid every penny. My prayers are with you and all that you are going through.

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    1. I always get sad knowing that other people are going through this too. I mean logically I know that I'm not alone, but it hurts knowing that other people are going through things that I know, hurt.

      *hugs*

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  3. Best of luck :)

    I know, after reading much of your blog, that although the butterflies are still there, when the chips are down you'll handle yourself wonderfully.

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    1. Thank you so much :) I'm so lucky to have all of you!

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  4. I don’t know if there are any words that can comfort your dilemma, In retrospect, I have personally known a lot of mothers in the same state of affairs to include my own mother when my father left, but she was not as strong as you because eventually she had a breakdown and left 3 children behind in a NYC apartment to fend for themselves at ages 9, 10, 14, how we survive, is a story on its own. I am a strong “Man” it takes a lot to be consider such a title, with that, I am deeply hurt to see a strong beautiful women like you bear through this, and the fact this worthless male creature disowned your beautiful children. I cannot speak the relationship as husband and wife however, for the kids, there are no excuses in this world to be left alone in despair. No matter how many despicable individuals send you messages of discomfort, remember that as a child being left to survive, and starve, I bless you and I love your courage for being there for those kids and never leaving them. Today I am an infantry solder and people like you make my fight an honorable one and I will gladly repeat to represent you. If the kids ever need words of guidance to assist you, I am not far for support.

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    1. Oh my gosh. I can't even imagine :( I'm so sorry you had to endure that!!!

      You sound like you turned out to be amazing, and with an upbringing like that, I can most certainly give YOU all the credit. Well done my friend, well done. :)

      *hugs*

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  5. I'm glad to hear that the judge saw right through his BS. The fact your ex showed up at least shows he's sufficiently in touch with reality not to want to go to jail.

    Stay strong and see it through.

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    1. It will definitely be interesting to see how this plays out!

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  6. What a smug look on the S O B's face :-/
    I have it on my calendar to go with you to court. You won't have to face him alone.....and I can keep you from punching him in the face tehehe

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  7. I think you need to get one of those blow up clown toys that you can punch and it bounces back at you...not a person, just a silly toy. YOU are a woman of grace and your children should be very very proud of you (and one day will understand) that the strongest are those that rise above. You DID it!! :)

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    1. HAHAHA!! I so need that!!! HAHAHA. Where on earth do I find one of those?

      I must own this.

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  8. Just wanted to say good for you, for going through with this. I know how difficult it must have been, but you did it!

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  9. So....Why can't you finally be angry at him? Isn't that one of the stages of grief? Be angry as hell! You deserve to be angry, and to allow yourself to feel that! Fantasize, over and over, in great detail, how awesome it would be to punch him in his stupid, lying, smirking, asshole face. SMASH! Because then, you won't need to actually do it. You'll have gotten all the satisfaction you need out of the situation. You have every right to want to punch him (and do other things). I don't advocate violence in most situations, but the fantasy of violence? F*#@$ yes!!! It doesn't make you a bad person, it makes you a human being, with thoughts and feelings and hopes and emotions and fears and all the rest. And, finally, you're able to feel the exact thing that he tried REALLY hard to beat out of you. So fuck that guy. You've been winning since he left, and this is yet another victory. Go Eden!! *HUGS*

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    1. You are always the best at giving me perspectives that I have not yet seen. Thank you for that. And for the dick shaped candy that you mailed to the PO Box. That was the best laugh I've had in a REALLY long time.

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    2. You know me! I'm always good for perspective and dicks. :D

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  10. You may see him again in 2020. Maybe he's like leap year or the presidential election.

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  11. I have no idea how you managed to not jump him and start beating on him like Ralphie in A Christmas Story. He certainly deserves it. However, your Facebook post from back then proves the kind of person you are. You should be proud of yourself. Your kids are in good hands.

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    1. Probably because I was wearing heels and a dress and I wasn't totally confident I wouldn't fall over and flash the judge.

      LOL.

      Thank you :)

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  12. IF you need a ghost to visit him let me know..... I would make him take a long long long walk on a very very short plank....... hehehehehe

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  13. I wonder where he got the nerve?

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  14. Please don't hit him. That will drag you down to his craptastically low level. Show him, the judge, the court, and most importantly, yourself, that you are so much better than him. He was right about dignity and grace. It's too bad he didn't practice what he preached.

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  15. Love and light heading your way.
    And please be mindful of how to hold your hand (if you do punch him, please don't break your hand/wrist...not that I've ever done that).
    And giving him one good slug isn't going to lessen your grace-just do it with a serene smile and then return to business as usual. [Preferably not in front of a law person.]

    Whatever you decide, we are here to encourage you and be impressed by your grace and courage under pressure. (And potentially your right hook.)

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    1. HAHA! I will definitely keep that in mind!!!

      Thank you so much :) I hope I impress you guys for all the right reasons in the end :) And if not, I hope that I can count on some of you for bail money! Hehe

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  16. It just shows how much you've grown more than anything. That slimeball has no power over you anymore.

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  17. I know the pain you are going through. My thoughts are with you. Continue to be strong for your kids. My case was similar. In the UK the child support agency did not even make any effort to investigate his income. Rather they awarded £5 every two weeks for the care of 3 kids. Yet he does not even pay it. Even when I gave details of all his companies to them. They did not lift a finger
    Your kids will turn out good and you will be rewarded for all your efforts.

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    1. That is so frustrating :( Did it ever get worked out?

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  18. I can relate to your story. I went through the same thing almost 30 years ago & apparently not much has changed with the system in all that time.I went to court in 1986 to get legal custody of my 2 year old and soon to be born second baby and to set child support payments. Standing 9 months pregnant before the judge (with my lawyer) the judge told me that first of all I should have kept my legs shut and I wouldn't be in this predicament & second he set the child support for 25 per month when ex husband is working.I kid you not. It was documented by the clerk who was so mad at the judge. Ex didn't even show up for court and that's what I got. I never ever saw 1 cent from my ex. And except for many death threats I never heard from him for the next 10 years. I thanked the judge very sarcastically, told my lawyer to f off and ripped up the court document in front of them both and never looked back. I still had to pay my lawyer $1200.00 to get that for me in court. I paid him 10 per month until it was paid. Thankfully the excuse for a human being (the ex) died 10 years later. I was elated!! And it was a slow painful one. Did anyone cry for him. No. He even had the nerve to ask me to bring my 2 boys to see him before he died so he could talk to them. We all had a good laugh over that one. Some say I was cruel to do that to a dying man but he hadn't spoke 1 word to my children in 10 years now just because hes dying he gets to speak. Nope. He can talk to his maker for eternity about what a despicable human being he was and maybe he'll get some sympathy there. My boys, who are married now with families of their own, turned out to be wonderful human beings raised by a pretty good mom who did her best for what she was dealt. Good luck with your court date in March. You will do well. PS punching out the blow up clown works well!

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    1. Oh my gosh, I want to punch that judge for you!!

      I honestly wonder how long my ex will live. There's only so many years you can survive on drugs and cigarettes.

      I'm happy to hear that your boys turned out well. Good job momma!!!

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  19. Please be very careful, this type of psycho can decide to "get even" for the money by demanding his "rights" and being granted visitation with the children and using that time to poison them (they have no value to him) and if you object you could find yourself losing custody to him and your children seriously damaged. I know, I have been there.

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    1. You are very right about men using this as a chance to get visitation. Thankfully we have an order of protection that is barring him from having any (that and he told the judge he didn't want it anyway), but it is always something to keep in mind!

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    2. Wait....poison the kids? Where the heck did that come from? That's a really paranoid statement. And ANY man paying for his children should have a right to see them...in this case I'd imagine it should be under court supervision but it's completely unreasonable to ask someone for money then bar them from their children. That's ludacris. If you're so scared of him then don't take his money; haven't seen my ex in ten years and couldn't imagine asking him for money considering there's a restraining order keeping him from us. If I take his money then it's me being weak and him winning and honestly it all ended a decade ago so by dwell on it. In my case anyway. To each her own.

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    3. That is so far from even remotely responsible that I don't even know how to respond. In no way, shape, or form, should someone be able to buy contact with their children. If you brought them into this world, then it's your responsibility to care for them, and in many cases that means financially. But if you are a loser of a human being and you are going to cause them more harm than good, then you should not automatically be able to be around them.

      Taking his money does not make you weak, and it definitely does not mean that he wins. You do not lose because you want the other 50% of your children's DNA to contribute to their care taking. It makes you a mother caring for her children in whatever means necessary. Protecting your kids and caring for them are very different things. My kids deserve to be financially cared for, but they also deserve to be protected. I'm doing both.

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  20. In his pic-he looks like trouble. Eden you are a lovely person, you deserve better. I hope your new man treats you good.

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    1. Lo how does someone look like trouble?

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  21. Way late here, and I'm going to comment on your next few entries in rapid succession because I'm way behind and feel the need to get back into your blog. And I realize that probably sounds a little creepy, sorry. ;)

    Ugh. The court system. I hate the court system. My father and my mother's ex (second husband at the time, during divorce proceedings) both violated the protection from abuse orders against them and the judges (different ones as this happened about 10 years apart) said something along the lines of "Well, he only showed up at your house, he didn't do anything, so we're not going to arrest/fine/talk to him. Get over it." Have I mentioned that I hate the court system? Because I freaking hate the court system.

    At least he showed up for court I guess. But still. It's ridiculous that you're still getting dragged through all this BS. I am so sorry. Hopefully things get better soon.

    Also, don't punch him. You might hurt yourself. ;)

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    1. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!!!???

      The court system sucks.

      Enough said.

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    2. Eh, I've been a little stuck in my own head. More or less hiding in my bed and only coming out to go to work and occasionally eat something. Playing around with the anti-anxiety meds (per doctor's suggestions, not my own) seems to be helping though. :)

      Seriously though. The court system is horrible.

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    3. Aw :( Well I hope that you are feeling better now!!

      *hugs*

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  22. I'm curious as to what drew you to him in the first place- it's plain as day that he is trash. he's not one of those normal looking suit and tie handsome men who go home and beat their wives - he's actually the epitome of gross looking , wife beating, ugly stoner. You talk a LOT in EVERYTHING you write about how cute you are- so what gives??

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    1. Um... whose blog are you reading because I've certainly never talked about myself like that. I think in one post where I was talking about the topic of self-esteem, I referred to myself as feeling cute enough to date but not unapproachably beautiful. But judging by the fact that you have posted several comments in a row, on multiple entries, all with little digs and jabs at me, I can tell that your questions are less than sincere and more or less, just overall annoyed.

      But whatever. If being annoyed by my writing is somehow adding to your day, then I'll play. This picture was taken some 8 years into our relationship, and anyone who knew him will attest to the fact that his looks DRASTICALLY changed over the course of our relationship. Drugs will do that to a person!

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    2. Agreed. It is amazing how much a person can change over the course of time, especially when drugs are involved. I look at pictures of my father with me and my siblings as kids, and I look at him now. He's barely recognizable.

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    3. That's really harsh and I'm not event he biggest fan of this blog!! To say that someone can predict how someone is going to behave based on their appearance is ridiculous. There's like one photo posted of him and you can't ascertain anything about him from that single photo. And YES she's made it clear that she has really high self-esteem but again what does that have to do with HIS looks? Attaction isn't based solely on looks. You sound really ignorant.

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