From Medium: Chapter 12, Standing When The Ground Shakes

*This is the 12 chapter in a story that ended off here last week

I remembered another nightmare today. I had it a couple nights ago.

I was laying on my stomach. And I don’t know why. Probably because it was a position that’s not easy to get up from. It’s not an offensive position.

And he was sitting in a chair, staring at me. With that glare. Just looking at me, deadpan.

He said something to me about his first wife. A lie. He said some lie about the way she felt or the things she did.

“That’s not true,” I said back to him.

He insisted it was. And he stared at me. Hard. Quiet.

And I began to slowly get up to my feet, bringing my knees, one by one, to my chest underneath me, using my arms to prop me up, preparing my body to flee.

“I know it’s not true, because she told me,” I said.

And he stared at me, more. Harder. Longer. More deeply.

And, I ran. As fast as I could.

I remember the feeling though. I can feel it now while typing. And I can see his face. It’s the same face he had given me for years. It’s the same face he gives me every time I see him in court. It’s the same face he gave the camera in his mugshot.

It’s a horrible feeling. That fear. That anxiety. It’s horrible to know that someone has so deeply affected your being that they can literally haunt your emotional state while you’re sleeping.

That’s a powerful thing. I have to find a way to take that power back. He doesn’t deserve it.

 — -

I was in court this week more than O.J. Simpson. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. Except, he’s like just in jail now. So. He doesn’t do court that much anymore.

Anyway, I was in court back to back days with him this week and the best way for me to describe the feeling is that it was a nauseating 48 hours. Or maybe it was like 24, but I’m horrible at math, so.

Our first engagement was a hearing in family court. We had asked for an emergency hearing to request a suspension or at least court-supervised visitation for him after he decided to shatter my window. For whatever reason, the judge wouldn’t allow us to present evidence and then set a hearing for about three weeks away.

He huffed at that. And his attorney offered this little whiny gem.

“Your honor, my client hasn’t seen his children since….since….since he was arrested.”

Great argument. Well done. Oh, he hasn’t seen them since he was arrested? Oh, sure. He should take them then, for like two weeks, uninterrupted. Dipshit.

Without us asking, the judge told him he could call them once a day. He huffed again. His mother gasped. The drama is just too much.

So that was settled or pushed back at least, and as we walked out of the courtroom into the lobby, they decided to go one way and we were going to leave.

I called my advocate at the police station to let her know what had happened, and she said an officer was supposed to be there to arrest him on a bench warrant. Oh. Yeah. A judge the day before issued a bench warrant for his arrest when charges came in for his email death threats. That was GLORIOUS.

I told the advocate I didn’t see an officer and the hearing was over, so it would have to happen another….

And then I saw him. I’m not even joking, the air lifted out of my voice and I told the advocate on the phone, mid-sentence, that the officer had arrived.

“He’s here. He’s here. He just walked in,” I told her, breathlessly.

My attorney directed the officer to where he was, and I went outside with my friend. Of all the times he has been arrested in the past few months, I haven’t witnessed any of them. Not one.

We sat and watched from my car, windows up. We were about 100 yards, maybe more, away from the police cruiser he was going to be put in. And we waited. And waited. And waited.

It took about 20 minutes for his attorney to come running out of the courthouse. Running. And then he came out, hands behind his back, his mom and girlfriend in front of him. And, there was a second officer escorting him, which indicates to me that he may have not been real willing to go with the officer.

And out came the obscenities. They flew out, every colorful word and phrase that would make your grandmother blush. Every last word. And hands, they were waving and pointing and there might have been a little spit involved.

And it was me. I was yelling all of them. And throwing my hands. And, yes, spit might have come out of my mouth. All of the words just hit the window, going no further.

“That was, like, primal,” I said to my friend in the passenger seat.

I had never seen him cuffed. And it just made me vomit foul, foul things.

Once he got to jail, an additional set of charges was added to his roster and he stayed overnight in jail. In his ugly suit and tie.

The following morning, I went to the arraignment with my two neighbors, my ya-yas, and experienced another ridiculously surreal moment. He walked in, cuffs on his hands in front of him, with a host of degenerates, and sat in a group with them.

He looked over at his girlfriend and mother and divorce attorney and smiled. Nodded his head. Then sent a wink to his girlfriend and mouthed something. He winked at her. I can’t. It’s just sick. She would be in and out of the courtroom because she was arranging his bond. Again.

He was just in his element, though. It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. He was the only inmate with an attorney present, so he needed to be dealt with first. And his case is so extensive, we were in there for more than an hour. And the whole time the entire courtroom was fussing over him.

I mean I was there with two people and an advocate. His entourage was there. The attorneys were busy. The clerk was working on his paperwork. The bailiff kept visiting him. And all the while he had a massive smile and squeezed in a belly laugh any time he could.

In between, he would look at his girlfriend and they would talk. Like silently. They looked like those stupid teenagers who are like, “You hang up first. No you. No. You hang up first.”

That whole dance? That was them. In court. In handcuffs. It’s just so sick.

When I left, they were arranging bond. And setting a date for his next hearing. They vacated the trial we were supposed to have in two weeks and they are combining everything. He is looking at about 60 days in jail right now. And I have no idea what he plans to do.

I know him. I know he fights. I know his first instinct, with his ego, is to fight everything. But our cases are strong. And it’s a major risk for him.

After court, I was on the way home and decided to stop into the storage unit where I put all of his belongings. He had taken all his stuff out, his attorney said, but never notified me and now I’m stuck with a bill because he never transferred ownership. Classic.

I walked in and talked to the manager on site. He remembered me right away. And he knew him.

“I know what you’re dealing with,” he said, explaining a phone call he had with him.

It was abusive, instantly belligerent and cocky, the guy said.

“I told him to man up,” the storage guy said. “If you want your stuff, then pay. If not, we’ll keep it.”

And the storage guy is my new hero. Honestly. Of course he called and tried to argue about his belongings. Of course he did.

So the storage guy took me to the unit, and cut the lock off of it so we could confirm that it was empty. But it wasn’t.

The damn bed was still in there. The bed, the bed he told my daughter over and over and over that he wanted. The very item that triggered my need to get all of his stuff out of the house. It was in there.

And a few other things, like his pots and pans and a few photo frames. I thumbed through the photo frames quick and left them. Then my friend called me back, insisting I take a few of the photos because one was with me and my dad’s mom, who passed away quite some time ago.

And we both gasped. The rest of the photos had holes in them. He had taken every photo with him in it and ripped out his head. Even photos where I wasn’t in them with him. He ripped his head out of every photo. Carefully.

Not the “I hate you” tear the photo down the middle and throw away your ex thing. No. It was with careful precision that he ripped his own head out of the photos.

“That is so Dateline NBC,” I said to my friend.

And the storage guy was dumbfounded. He couldn’t believe it.

 — -

I leave today for the adventure of a lifetime. That’s how it feels anyway. I knew I was excited, but I didn’t realize the gravity of my excitement until I walked into the outdoors shop to pick up my backpack rental.

I was giddy. I held my breath. I got butterflies. It was perfect. And I couldn’t stop smiling.

I’m trying to pack now and have no idea what the hell I’m doing. I hope it all fits, and I always underpack. But, I’m packing meals and band-aids and a journal and a head lamp.

Yeah. I had to buy a head lamp. I’m going down into the Grand Canyon, to the bottom. And sleeping there for three nights. And by day? I’m exploring these waterfalls that will absolutely take my breath away.

I know they will. And, I can’t wait.