Monday, August 16, 2010

Nice Girls Get Restraining Orders, Too

This post has been a long time coming. It is for my dear friend, J. Who is not naïve and certainly not a fool.  We do not think like them because we are not like them. And we do not want to be like them.

Eleven years ago last month. It was a Sunday night. I had been at Andy’s house but decided to sleep at home that night rather than having to run home early the next morning to shower and dress for work. My apartment was four, adorable rooms on the first floor of a two-family, that I had painstakingly decorated myself. My sanctuary. It was in a college area and within easy walking-distance of nearly everything. An elderly woman was my landlady and my next door neighbors were my sister’s in-laws.

That night, I entered my apartment and - just like in every cheesy detective novel - the house simply “felt funny”. I walked through the living room to the double doors of my bedroom and peered inside, seeing nothing. I retraced my steps and walked through the kitchen, to my bedroom’s other door, flipping on lights as I went. Again, I saw nothing. I stood in front of my closet door and reached for the knob. As I did so, the door opened. In front of me stood my old boyfriend.

His name is S and we had spent several angry, hurtful years together a long time ago. It had ended with me moving out of the apartment we had shared for less than a year, back in with my mother, and within a few months, into my sanctuary. He had been to this apartment before. During the “we can still be friends” foolishness as I tried to take the high road. Eventually, after many fights and threats, and even a call to my father to have him removed, we fizzled out.

So five years later, I stood face to face with him again. He was six years older than me, making him 36 at the time. He looked ages older.; The mileage was taking its toll. I didn’t scream. I simply gasped and backed up through the door and into the kitchen with my hand to my heart. I grabbed the wall phone. He only said, “please don’t”. And for a second, I didn’t. My old, co-dependent self was telling me if he simply went away, it would be enough. I didn’t want to create a scene, or make things bad for him. Then I said “no.” Maybe it was out loud. Maybe it was only to myself. But I dialed 911.

He took off, I think through the dining room window. The police told me to go to a neighbor’s. I had my cell phone and called Andy as I ran next door. My sister’s mother-in-law answered her door immediately. “S was in my closet!” I yelled simultaneously into my cell and to her. She pulled me inside and locked the door. Andy’s previously-sleepy hello turned instantly awake and he told me to stay where I was, he was leaving right away.

The police were there in moments. Andy’s car came bombing down the wrong way of my one-way street what seemed like seconds later. Of course they didn’t find him. I sat with the officer and answered his questions and told my story. It was the first time Andy had heard much of it. My brother, having been notified via my sister, who had received a call from her mother-in-law, also showed up. He conducted his own search and I think it made him feel better to do so. When I talked to my mother, she used words I didn’t even know were in her vocabulary.

Everyone wanted me to sleep at their houses that night. I didn’t want to. This was my home and I wasn’t going anywhere. Of course, Andy stayed the night with me. We didn’t fall asleep for a long, long time. As I was dozing off, I remembered that feeling from when we were young. Of not wanting your arm or leg to hang off of the edge.  Because the monsters under the bed might get you.

The next day, I went to my district court and filed my very first restraining order.


Jennifer said...

Terrifying. My heart's in my throat. I'm so glad you dialed that phone, and that you followed through. I hope the restraining order did what it was supposed to do.

sitting on the mood swing at the playground said...

I've read this three times and each time I get goosebumps and feel scared for you. So glad you called 911...and got a restraining order.

I'm sure your sanctuary never quite felt the same after that. What a post...

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

What a terrifying story.

I'm so glad it ended this way. Did he ever violate the restraining order?

nmaha said...

Scary. How did you not scream? I would have run screaming all the way to my sil's house. Trying to wake as many people as possible on the way.

Mama Goose said...

Oh my! You were so brave. I wonder how I would have reacted in a situation like that... I hope you've never had to file another restraining order. Thanks for posting this.

Ash said...

Holy schnikies!!

Good for you for grabbing that phone. Good for you for the restraining order. I hope this guy got some help, because seriously, what the hell?

I'm so very sorry you had to experience this terrifying event.

Vicky said...

Good lord. That could have gone down sooo differently. So glad you listened to your head and called 911.

rachel... said...

Have you shared this story before? I'm sure I've heard you tell this, but I don't know how... What ever became of S? I hope he got some help and is not still out there terrorizing women. I'm so happy to know that you called 911 and followed through with the restraining order. It's so much easier to just keep believing that he will change... I hope your friend J is okay.

Sue @ Laundry for Six said...

Gah! I was waiting for this story, but I had no idea how scary it was! There is a part 2, right?

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Terrifying. Did you write something about this before? I feel like I know this story of yours... Thank god you got rid of him so quickly. But still - that someone could lie in wait for you in your home... Again - terrifying.


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