*This is the third chapter of a story that left off here last week.
I got the police reports. And, they didn’t sit well with me.
My appointment, with the counselor — the one I was dreading — went okay. I didn’t come away with a ton of actionable guidance, but I did come away with a reassurance that I was doing the right thing. The things that were happening were legitimately wrong. Like, deeply abnormal. Buried well within the vortex of domestic violence, which is hard to swallow.
I mean, every woman sees the little flyers on the inside of bathroom stalls. Every woman has seen them. They ask if you feel safe. But, you’re peeing, so it’s kinda like, yeah. I feel safe. Whatever.
I totally get the intent. But, speaking from experience, the cycle starts to feel normal. It evolves. It’s not a light switch. So, you adjust. You ride it out. You wait for the smooth patch, and then pray you don’t step on a landmine that could blow it to smithereens. Because those little guys are hard to see.
So I came away from my appointment with a few things. I need counseling. I’m doing the right things for me and the kids. It’s not my fault. I deserve to live a happy, healthy life without fear. (<THAT WAS A BIG ONE). No matter what, I could be viewed as the bad guy. My marriage may not recover, and that might not be a bad thing. And, even if I never sought a protective order, there was a high likelihood that a judge would have instituted a “no contact” order based on the charges.
The charges I still didn’t even know about.
But the reports, which I picked up during my appointment, gave me some insight. And a good dose of pissed-off-ness, for sure.
He lied. Like over and over and over again. I requested two reports. One from an incident about a month ago that pretty much no one knew about. And, one from the most recent incident.
The charges were similar, and as it appears, no more serious than a misdemeanor. And, neither included any mention of him shoving a table into me, pinning me against a wall, and causing a massive bruise on my thigh. That was missing. But, in fairness, I didn’t file a report on that. But, I talked with officers about it. And, they photographed my injuries.
Basically, he is getting off easy in my opinion. No matter what happens.
That report from a month ago? Here’s what happened.
We were pretty deep in an episode. Fighting about the usual “you don’t care…you cheat on me…you hate me” kind of thing. It had been a marathon. He locked me outside, crying, in the middle of the night. He turned on the lights in our bedroom at about 4 or 5 a.m., then turned on the TV, then lit a cigar and smoked it standing over me. Then smoked it next to the shower curtain as I got ready for work. Just outright intimidation stuff.
He tried to talk with me in front of the kids, and I refused. I took it downstairs. He followed. And, I was honestly saying that maybe we just weren’t right for each other. I didn’t make him happy. I was never enough.
Maybe things were over.
He took a laptop sitting nearby and hurled it against the wall across the room. It took a chunk of stucco out of the wall, and ruined our flat screen TV, which we didn’t realize at the time. It killed the laptop, too. He walked upstairs, took my work backpack with my laptop, took my purse, took my phone, took my car keys, and a bunch of other random shit, and left.
He left me with no way to communicate with anyone. He took the power cord to our desktop computer. He hid the bagels I eat for breakfast. He hid the soda I drink for breakfast. He took my kindle and hid it. He hid my water bottle.
I was just dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. He left me stranded after breaking our property and the kids heard everything. And, saw everything. They knew I had no phone, no computer, no car keys, no purse. I had no ID. I had nothing.
I called the cops from my neighbor’s house. I called my office to let them know I wouldn’t be in. And, while talking to a woman I work with, I completely broke down and confessed to what had happened, which he would later hold against me.
The babysitter I had scheduled for that day came on time. I had no way to tell her I wouldn’t be going to work that day. I asked her if by chance the kids could go to her house and swim because I had some things to take care of. She agreed willingly.
I didn’t want the kids to see the cops come to the house. But, they needed to come. This was bullshit.
So, about an hour later they came. I called the non-emergency line. I didn’t need sirens and all that crap. I cleaned up, met with his mom, and told her they were coming. She couldn’t stay to see it, but said she understood what I was doing. And why.
I told the officer what had happened. He photographed the damage. And, according to the report, he had called him to get his perspective.
What was his perspective, exactly? That it never happened. None of it. That he never threw anything, that he never stole my belongings. That none of it happened. At all. That it was a normal little domestic spat.
What. The. Fuck. Seriously.
I couldn’t believe it. He flat out lied about doing any of it.
That same day I sought and received a protective order. I didn’t have it served, but I told him if he didn’t leave, I would serve it. So, he went to a hotel. For ONE night. I’m the biggest idiot on the planet.
I met with him the following day and consoled him as he lay in the hotel bed. After he lied about what had happened. I mean. I can’t even comprehend that shit. What was wrong with my brain?
When he was picked up the most recent time, arrested for disorderly conduct after shoving me into the wall, he made threats in transport to the the local jail, so they moved him downtown. Only, his mother posted bond for him. So, he avoided a desperately-needed evaluation.
The one I had asked for just two days prior to the kitchen-table-shoving incident. It’s true. The night before he came after me in the kitchen, I had called his mom and asked for her help to get him to a hospital for an evaluation. She agreed to help but he left the house, leaving the kids alone again, and didn’t come home until the middle of the night.
I can’t even. The evaluation was within grasp, and it slipped by. Because she bailed him out.
So, he’s facing two misdemeanors. And there’s no mention of the physical damage he inflicted, let alone the emotional damage. I’m not sure that can be quantified.
And sitting in this moment, I had no idea the additional charges that were to come. Or the level of terror that was on the horizon.