This is the next chapter of my story. To read the previous chapter or to start at the beginning, click HERE.
Approaching the window that called my name, I was handed a bag of my belongings and something to sign. There was a piece of paper I took with me that had a date and directions to appear in court. I took my bag and sat on a locker room style bench to dress in my own clothes. Instructed to leave through a door to my right after I was dressed, I looked at it. My family was on the other side. This will all be over soon.
As I walked through the door I saw my anxious husband waiting there for me. He put his arm around me and led me to our truck in the parking lot. We didn’t talk until we got inside. He asked if I was ok and I responded yes but I was hungry. He told me our boys were with my Aunt and my step-daughter was at home with Grandma probably doing her homework. We had to go get the boys but I wanted to stop and eat first, try to gather my wits and unwind. We drove to a fast food burger place and sat down to eat. My husband related his end of the day.
After I’d been taken, the officer told him that he could post bail at the city jail and gave him the address. He called my Aunt and Uncle, the closest relatives we had at the time in both physical and emotional proximity. They take the boys for the day often and we spend a lot of time at their house swimming and visiting. They’d be the best to look after them while my husband did what he needed to do. He said it was the oddest feeling in the world to relay what had just happened over the phone. They were shocked and told him to bring the boys over right away and they’d help figure out what to do next. My mother-in-law was still dropping my step-daughter off at school 45 minutes away and wouldn’t be back for a while and then she’d need to drive down again in the afternoon to pick her up.
My husband dropped the boys at their house, explained a few more details about the morning, and then left to come to the city jail to see about posting bail. My uncle went with him. None of us has ever been anywhere near any kind of incident like this. He knew my husband would need support.
At the city jail, my husband checked in at the desk and told him why he was there. He was instructed how to post bail and given a list of bail bond places nearby. He asked if there was any way to get a message to me so that I would know that he was working on it. The officer said no. After looking into bonds, he found that if he bought a $50,000 bond and posted bail with that, I’d be out immediately but the cost of the bond would be $5000 that we wouldn’t get back. That is a lot of money for us to lose. Knowing that we weren’t going to skip court, that I hadn’t done anything wrong, and thinking this would all be over in a few days, it didn’t seem worth the cost if he could find the cash instead of the bond. Talking with my uncle, they went to get the cash. Finding that it was going to take a few hours, he attempted to relay that message to me through the police so that I wouldn’t worry. They finally got all the cash together, posted bail, and an hour later here we were.
We sat across the table from each other in awe of what had happened. Never in a million years would we have guessed this could happen to us. We went over each other’s versions of the morning. My husband said that the detective interviewing us all at the house told him that he didn’t really know me, that I had a boyfriend and another apartment nearby and that I was robbing people and cheating on him. I probably had a drug problem that he didn’t know about. He told my husband that it happens all the time. We think we know people but really don’t. My husband just sat there thinking that he had to be on some hidden camera show. Did this man really think this? Was the detective trying to put doubt in his mind so that he’d give up information that would strengthen the case against me? My husband only repeated the same things that I and his mother had said. We are a close family with few internal problems. I’m home most of the time because we have small children. I work outside our home one or two nights a week at most for about four hours nearby. I’m a girl scout leader and I attend church on most Sunday’s and bible study on Wednesday nights. The detective only reiterated what he had concocted about me and told my husband to think about it. Was I really out at a bible study? Could I prove that? My husband was amazed that someone would try so hard to convince him his wife that he knew so well was hiding something like this. How could anyone hide something like this completely?
We finished eating and went to pick up our boys. When we pulled up in front of the house and walked up to the front door, my boys came running out and threw themselves at my legs. They were excited to tell me all about their day. They had hot dogs and went swimming. My aunt hugged me tightly. I’m sure we all couldn’t think of anything to say. My Mom called while we were there and I filled her in on what was going on. My aunt had called the whole family throughout the day to explain what had happened but there was little to tell. My Mom told me that she had called a couple of her friends to help and that she’d call me the next day with a phone number for a lawyer. We all sat and talked for a few more minutes, but I was exhausted and really wanted to go straight to bed. We loaded the boys up into the truck and headed home. On the way, my older son piped up from the backseat, “Did you get the bad guys, Mom?” I looked at my husband. “You left with the police after they had searched the house for bad guys,” he explained. “Yes, we did. And they are very sorry now. The police fixed it up.” That was enough for them. Kids. They were very excited that I got to “help the police” and now that it was all over, all they wanted to know was what was for dinner.
At home, my mother-in-law and step-daughter were watching tv and eating some fast food they had gotten together. My step-daughter had few questions about the incident. I was starting to doubt that she even remembered that anything had happened. Autism is strange. The information is in there, it just isn’t communicated in verbal ways. I still wonder what she thought about it, if she ever thinks about it now. At the time, I was just too tired and worried to delve into it with her. Our relationship was always strained and no discussion was better than the battling we did over homework and getting the laundry to the hamper. I did worry what she might say to her mother when she returned in the middle of the week. What if her mother got the wrong idea and made life even more difficult for my husband to spend time with his daughter?
I spent a few minutes talking with my mother-in-law about her version of the day and going over some of my end of it again. I was so tired and just wanted to go to bed. I’m afraid I was rather short with everyone that evening. My husband fed the boys some dinner while I laid on the couch. He told me not to worry, that we’d figure out what to do tomorrow. We headed up to bed together after dinner and we started our bedtime routine. The boys got their books, I got my journal and my bible. My step-daughter finished using the bathroom and headed to her bedroom. The boys got a bath, brushed their teeth, used the bathroom. We read “Where the Wild Things Are” and listened to “Puff the Magic Dragon”. I tucked them into their beds and sat in my rocking chair while they went to sleep, a ritual we continued for years afterward and rarely a very peaceful ending of our day.
That’s when the “what-if’s” began. What if they boys had run to the door with their toy guns? What if my husband believed the detective’s story? What if I don’t find a lawyer? What if no one believes me? What if I go to jail for this? I looked at my journal and began to write. “I won’t go into the details about what happened today because I doubt I’ll ever forget it.” Hand writing things always seems to help me sort my thoughts. Looking back at them, it doesn’t look that way but it helps as I’m writing. Sometimes reading my old journals makes me cringe. I wrote a page then closed it and read my bible for awhile. The boys finally fell asleep and I got in bed with my husband. He was already asleep and I collapsed into unconsciousness.