Read Part I here.
I tried to fall asleep, but I kept replaying the events of that morning in my head over and over again. I cried quietly in my old bedroom, fell asleep briefly, woke up, replayed the events, and repeated until Monday morning when I drove to the Clerk of Court’s office to file a protective order. I had no reason to be ashamed, but it was embarassing to ask for directions to the right office for protective orders. It was embarassing to request the forms from the clerk, and sit in the open hallway as I completed several pages of information. The clerk and I went over the information on the forms, and she directed me to a judge to get my temporary restraining order approved.
I sat outside the courtroom on a hard bench in a long hallway, waiting for the judge to finish a trial so that I could get my TRO approved. The hallway was stuffy from having so many people inside, and not enough air vents blowing cool air. There was a man seated next to me who had so much nervous energy that he kept shaking his legs, causing the bench to vibrate. Another woman on the opposite side of me sat motionless with her head down. Suddenly the doors of the courtroom opened, and Charles’ niece (the daughter of Marcel, whose dick I had allegedly been scoping) and cousin exited. IS THIS REAL LIFE?! The niece smiled and asked if I was there for traffic court. I told her no and laughed nervously. They both smiled, accepted my answer, and went about their lives without further questioning my reasons for being there. Certainly, they were going to snitch.
I entered the courtroom, handed my TRO to the judge’s assistant, and took a seat on one of the last benches. I watched as he read my statement of the events thoroughly, and signed his approval. I was ordered to return to court in two weeks for a hearing. I left the courthouse and went directly to the sheriff’s office to hand-deliver the TRO because I wanted Charles to be served immediately. The officer took my TRO and said he was leaving at that very moment to make the delivery to Charles at work. I appreciated the urgency of everyone involved in this process.
I feared going home. I looked through my rearview mirror constantly as I drove, and I parked around the corner instead of directly in front of my apartment. I walked nervously to my apartment, and back into the mess from Saturday night. Ripped things that he cut with a knife were spewed all over my bed. The knife sat on the dresser. The juice that he threatened to spill all over my carpet sat on the kitchen counter. I photographed everything, and began the process of moving on.
I feared retaliation. When it started to get dark outside, I turned off all the lights and the television because I didn’t want anyone to think I was home. I sat there in silence until it was time to go to bed. I made a makeshift barricade on all three of my doors in case someone tried to break in, even though I have an alarm system. I slept with a baseball bat. In the mornings before I left for work, I looked outside my window for anything suspicious at least five times while getting ready and before I walked out the door. This went on for a week, until I gradually found the comfort returning to normalcy.
I spoke to my father about getting a gun, and he confirmed that he would teach me how to load, shoot, and clean a weapon. Daddy has eight daughters, and he said I was one he never worried about until then. Sure, my mouth was slick sometimes, but I was wise enough to avoid any potential trouble. Daddy had a friend of the family do a full background check on Charles, which showed nothing. The man was clean as a whistle.
During those two weeks between the incident and my hearing, I went back and forth with my decision to actually attend the hearing. I did not know if I had the strength to revisit the incident. I did not want to see him. I did not want to hear what he had to say. It all just seemed like a money making scheme to get someone to pay court costs for a piece of paper that would not really protect me. It took my father to convince me that it was something I had to do.
The Friday before my court appearance, Charles’ mom showed up unannounced to my office. Although she had always been very nice and encouraging to me, I knew her loyalties lied with her seed. I literally froze in fear when glanced up and I saw her standing in the hallway – not knowing what her son told her about the incident, and what her intentions were. I had a plan of action in place in case Charles ever came to my office seeking retaliation, but I literally could not move.
She came to my office to request that I not go to court, and assured me her son would leave me alone. According to her, he was not in his right mind that night. The reason he had gone crazy, as she worded it, was because of his “sugar.” Now I don’t know much about diabetes (and he never revealed to me that he was dealing with the disease), but I refuse to believe that it can make someone make false accusations, pull out a knife, cut up gifts, threaten me, and spit on me like I’m a dirty New York City sidewalk. No, that’s not diabetes. That’s fuck boy behavior.
Charles’ mom also revealed that he developed an enormous abscess on his leg immediately after the incident, and had been in the hospital undergoing three surgeries. There he was sitting in a hospital with a 17-inch wound in his leg that was certain to get infected, and at high risk of having his leg cut off. I could only stomach a quick glance at the photos of the wound that his mom tried to show me from her phone. He would need daily long-term home health care. Chances were he would lose his job, the benefits that came along with it, and the ability to provide for his only daughter. I don’t know if that was a result of diabetes, the wrath of God, or both.
“Touch not mine anointed ones.”
It is interesting how the body and the mind works. In my mind, I was okay and coping well. My body told my mind that I was a nervous wreck. There is a tell-tale sign that my body has given my mind since youth. It happens whenever I’m a nervous wreck. It’s guaranteed to happen on the first day of school, job interviews, first dates, and the day of a big speech. For the first time in life, however, it hadn’t only happened on the day of the event. I had it everyday since the incident, and leading up to my hearing date.
On the date of my hearing to obtain a permanent order, I was back to sitting in the long hallway. This time, I was alone. 8:30 AM came and I was allowed into the courtroom. The defendant did not show up, of course, since he was in the hospital. The judge said it was his fault for not contacting the court or showing up, and said that we would proceed without him. I nervously reiterated the story of what happened that night, and the judge asked a few questions for clarity. He granted me an 18-month protective order, and warned me that the piece of paper was only as powerful as I allowed it be – meaning I needed to contact the police the moment he contacted me. Another peaceful result of the restraining order was Charles was not allowed to purchase a firearm during the 18-month period, and was responsible for all court costs.
Thankfully, I haven’t seen or heard from Charles since the night of that incident. I keep copies of my protective order in my work office, car, and home. I do run into his mother occasionally, and she smiles and chats with me as if we are friends. She doesn’t speak of her son, and I don’t mention it either. I’m sure she tells him whenever she sees me.
Lesson: Avoid all insecure men.
Tune in next month for more dating chronicles.
*Names changed for privacy.