I hope you all know that just because T-Bird and I are fussing that life doesn’t go on as usual. Meaning, I still went to her nephew’s birthday party on Saturday and hung out by the pool with her mom and the kids, and this morning, when I was on my way for my morning coffee and a pack of cigarettes, she called, hysterical, and I flipped my car around asking for details.
Its one of those long stories with unhappy endings which lead to this situation. To keep it novella length… T-Bird, at some point and time, has babysat practically every child within a 20 mile radius. One child in particular, is now old enough to have a child of her own. Nette is 21, her daughter is three, and Nette grew up without a mother of her own, brought up by her hell-raisin’ Daddy, who is now doing life in the State Pen for first degree murder.
I know her Daddy. Charismatic but bad-tempered. Violently bad-tempered, which is why he killed his girlfriend and dumped her body out by the river. That’s always a pretty sight. Nette was 16, maybe 17, years old. Then she gets pregnant and has her own daughter, by herself. At one point T-Bird took them in because Nette was homeless. I guess T-Bird is as close to a mother as Nette has ever had, even though her Dad was married for a long while, it was still T-Bird who took care of her because, frankly, no one else could handle her.
Anyway, I just asked, “What’s wrong? Tell me, what’s wrong.” Nette’s ex-fiance decided he was going to toss her around a bit and then hold her hostage in her apartment. One problem… we don’t know where the apartment is exactly and she wouldn’t or couldn’t answer the phone when T-Bird called her back. It seems as though Nette had called T-Bird to help evict the ex when he started whaling on her and broke the phone. All I know is what the apartments are supposedly called and their in the Highlands, not to be confused with the Lowlands where I live.
T-Bird, in the meanwhile, has called 911 and is trying to get Nette some help, then calls me, then calls her sister to find out where these apartments are, which aren’t even the name we were given, but that’s what everyone calls them… fat lot of good that does me. T-Bird calls me with directions, I hit the right street (damn, even not knowing where I was going I was within two blocks at one point), and I gunned up the street. I didn’t know which apartment, just it could be 18 or 118 or something with a 1 and an 8, which is all T-Bird got before he started in on Nette.
I pulled into a parking space, knowing now it couldn’t be 118, because there aren’t 118 apartments up there. I heard a knocking noise and looked up. Nette was at the window on the 2nd floor right in front of where I parked. I told T-Bird, “I see her. She’s okay.” T-Bird lost it, again, and just sobbed. I hung up and called 911 myself so I could tell them that I was there and exactly how to get there and no, he wasn’t letting her out of the apartment because when I motioned for her to come down, she mouthed, “He won’t let me out.”
Once the 911 operator said, “They’re on their way. We have two deputies in route,” I walked back to my car to wait and watch the window. I wanted to go upstairs and just take care of it myself. In other words, drag that piece of shit out of the apartment and beat his ass all over the hill. But, that’s why I didn’t stop and get T-Bird, because that’s what she would have done and it would have been a violent, bloody mess, which is what I was trying to avoid.
Three minutes later two deputies pulled into the parking lot. I directed them to the window where I had seen her. They pulled on their black gloves and entered the building. They brought him out first, Nette a minute later. I went over to her and asked if she was okay. Now, you might think she would be really, really upset and crying, upset, or just relieved… but she was cold stone poker cool. I hugged her and asked her where her daughter was, with her grandmother (this is good).
Her ex is, well, an idiot. Nette isn’t 90 pounds soaking wet and he’s complaining to the cops about how she fought him to get out of the apartment. The cop just layed into him, telling him she wasn’t his child and he had no right to tell her whether or not she could leave, and no right to lay his hands on her and destroy her property. He bought himself a ticket to the clink. And it was satisfying to hear the sound of the handcuffs click.
Of course, by this time, T-Bird has shown up with Ang, who I had passed while she sat on her porch wondering what the heck I was doing in her neck of the woods. Yeah, she found out. The police asked if she knew about filing a domestic violence petition (a DVP) and Trina turned and pointed at me and said, “She does!” Okay, like I do this everyday. I was just on my way to Go-Mart for coffee and cigarettes people! The deputies outlined everything and said that if we could get there fast enough, they could still serve the petition while he was in jail.
Amazingly, Nette turned to me and asked, “You want to ride with me to the Courthouse?” And I say “amazingly” because, although Nette and have known one another for the same amount of time I’ve known T-Bird, about 13 years, I don’t KNOW Nette. We have often passed like ships in the night, sporadically running into each other at T-Bird’s over the years, but definitely haven’t had a close, bonding relationship.
I said, “Of course I will, but I need coffee and cigarettes.” I joked with her that had the cops not shown up when they did that I was going to show her ex-fiance exactly how grouchy I am without my morning coffee. She said, “I was kinda worried, but then I looked outside and saw you. I knew… ” Her voice trailed off and I said, “That the calvary was here?” She didn’t say anything, she just sort of nodded.
We talked on the way to the Courthouse about her dad, their relationship, and her own relationship troubles. She’s self-aware enough to know she has relationship troubles because of her own relationship with her dad. She knows its not healthy and is trying to break that cycle, which she’s in counseling for. She’s a very complex young woman, reminds me of someone I knew back in the day, someone I look at in the mirror.
So, we missed the magistrate by about 15 minutes and Court didn’t reopen until 8 p.m., which meant, ha, he didn’t get a chance to make bail until he was arraigned at Night Court. We went to pick up her daughter and as Nette walked up into the apartment, her slim shoulders seemed to have the weight of the world on them. She’s tough, very tough, her daddy raised her that way, but I can tell its getting old already, and no amount of vibrato will hide that from someone who has been there.
I went in and checked her apartment and I asked her if she wanted me to go back to Night Court with her and she said, “Yeah, if you don’t mind.” Don’t mind at all. So after finally getting my coffee, cigarettes, a trip to the Courthouse, and finally back to the store to pick up some cat food, I made it back home and layed in the sun, hung out with Beanie, and then went back to the Courthouse at 9. Bob, T-Bird’s ex-but-still-hubby, went with us. He’s known her dad for close to 30 years and he’s about the closest thing she has to a dad outside of prison.
The rather matronly deputy in charge of Night Court has been there forever. I told Nette she was there when Jesus was crucified. It only took an hour or so for us to wind our way through the Halls of Justice and I had barely been home for 15 minutes when Nette called me, a little panicked because she realized that her ex didn’t have his keys with him, they were in the apartment, and what was she going to do about his vehicle, etc. I gave her the standard, “DON’T TALK TO HIM, DON’T LET HIM COME UP THERE! speech” and then got real and told her how to go about doing all of that without having contact with him. And stressed the importance of following through with the DVP and the court hearing on the Domestic Battery charge.
I also impressed the importance of giving ALL of his shit back and not giving him a reason to keep harassing her. Nette, she’s got a little mean ass wild streak in her… she comes by it honest, no doubt about it.
Just pray for this young woman. Pray that she has the strength and the will to allow those who care about her to help ease her burden and that leaning on others is not a sign of weakness, but simply a sign of being human. Just pray for her. Many of you know exactly what she needs, send it to her.