I am not violent.
Once upon a time a while back I was in a courtroom. West Whiteland Township in the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I arrived by 8:15 am to meet with the lawyer who would represent me for the preliminary hearing on the docket that day.
With all that I knew from my history with the Philadelphia Police Department, my processing and law enforcement history, my years of watching law and order on NBC…..I somehow never knew that I could be summoned to appear for a preliminary hearing without being arrested.
Backtracking about four weeks, one Thursday night at around 9:30 pm my cell phone rang. The man on the other side of the phone identified himself as Officer So&So from the West Whiteland PD.
I looked at the time, I looked at my phone.
Seemed awfully late in the administrative day for this type of phone call but I didn’t hang up. Officer So&So name dropped someone who was a person of interest to me.
I listened as the voice on the other end explained that I was stalking and harassing person of interest. At the conclusion of the phone call, or at least Officer So&So’s portion I said whatever and hung up. I didn’t believe a word of what the other voice said. I simply knew that I was no longer being ignored and it felt like I was close to the resolution I wanted desperately.
I just wanted to hear words that explained what happened. I cannot say I would believe those words but I felt entitled to those words. I suffered immensely and words seemed to be a small compensation for my pain. I didn’t necessarily have an end game in mind, I just wanted answers.
I kept doing what I was doing.
Mind you, there was never the threat of physical violence. I never crossed a physical boundary, nor did I deface or otherwise damage personal property. I am not violent.
Persistent but not violent.
I kept doing what I was doing.
Then in the mail a summons to appear for my preliminary hearing appeared. Misdemeanor 3 was the highest charge. Historically I’ve faced felony charges which resulted in a not guilty verdict, but they were totally different. TOTALLY.
A misdemeanor with the top penalty of a fine? Okay. Let’s dance.
After all, what I wanted was resolution. Going to court would present that in my head. Who goes to court and lies? Plus I had phone messages and emails and this really was a misunderstanding that could be fixed with one conversation. Just one.
I brought Clyde with me to court. I didn’t want to include him in this process, but it was a court out of Philadelphia county. They would likely start on time. If I were later things could go badly.
There I was in my demur Black suit and modest heels. Clyde was in his school clothes, we were gonna drop him off at school when this was over and go on with our lives.
It took sitting with my lawyer to realize shit could get real.
If for some reason the judge determined there was enough evidence to go to trial – yep trial – I would be arrested. Say what now? This was silly. I asked if we could bring in person of interest and just have the conversation. They would see my intentions. No. No talking to person of interest, it might make things worse.
Did I have bail money? Hunh?
I could be arrested. Did I have $300-$800 ready to post bail?
Say what now?
In Philly I faced two felonies and walked out of holding ROR. They want bail for a bullshit misdemeanor? You aren’t in Philly lawyer said. Apparently.
Its back to the lobby to wait to be called. Person of interest walks in to check in.
Thankfully the hearing want then because if looks could kill…..
I went from just wanting to talk to person of interest weeks prior to being angry. This was taking things too far. Now I had to worry about arrest. Now I had to worry about bail. Now I had to worry about coming back out to the county for a trial. A trial? Really?
We were going to trial to get my boyfriend to explain to me why he lied to me?
Funny thing though, I still didn’t think of him as a liar….not yet anyhow. Before lunch I would, but not in that moment. Ironic.
The hearing started and my lawyer asked the judge if my son could remain in court. I had to explain Clyde’s Autism, how he wouldn’t sit still outside the courtroom. I held my child on my lap through the hearing because it was the only way to keep him still and quiet.
Witness number one was a no show, it was Officer So&So. He wasn’t there. He had a different conflicting court appearance in a different location that took priority. The judge wasn’t willing to wait. Witness two was person of interest.
I sat in disbelief as person of interest committed perjury. I could prove that what he said wasn’t true if this process continued, yet I was still stunned that he lied. In the years we were together even though there were multiple cases of omissions, outright lies? Not one. If asked I would’ve said prior to that moment he was the most forthright person I knew. My lawyer asked a few questions. More lies.
I cannot tell you what I felt in that moment other than fear.
Fear is what happened in those minutes and is the stand out emotion of the many I experienced.
Thankfully we never had to mount a defense. The prosecution had one witness, person of interest. It was clear to the judge person of interest was lying. The case was dismissed with prejudice. We left. Case and relationship closed.
Except for those answers ……
They weren’t coming and in that moment I no longer wanted them.
Over the past three days on Facebook the running joke is about my peaceful and passive life. Old friends men and women who’ve known me for 20 years or more all came to the same conclusion: I have thug tendencies and I might just punch a motherfucker in the mouth.
It began with this video, I hope the link works, if it doesn’t leave me a comment and let me know:
Now one of my oldest people tagged me in this video and said this reminded her of me.
I’ve spent the past two days saying I would do no such thing. Except, I would even though I’m not violent.
Every instance they shared where I’ve needed to throw hands came in defense of someone I love, them included.
The time I ripped dreadlocks from Valerie’s head? Defending Bonnie.
The time it took four people to restrain me after G bit me? Defending C.
The time I was physically carried out our local watering hole? Defending Butta.
Everytime I’ve been taken out of character and knuckled up? I was defending someone. Except for that time time August in rehab. He just called me a nigger.
I think the lesson here is I do not attack without provocation.
Which brings me back to person of interest.
Even after watching him commit perjury, after almost being arrested on some bullshit, after the humiliation and pain…..I haven’t attacked.
A portion of me thinks I could find justification. I’ve never done it though. I doubt I ever will. Even though I’ve set into motion some things, hoping to finally have that conversation, my hope for those answers, attack still hasn’t been on the table for me.
Am I capable? I guess. People are capable of anything really.
Except my default with person of interest has been the opposite of violent. Always. Even when in court. Even now finding out what I now know.
Am I petty? Sure. Violent though? No.
If my opportunity for resolution ever comes, violence isn’t what should be feared.
Leah seeing the person you’ve been for 20 years and not liking it? Yes. That could be a legitimate fear. Her deciding she doesn’t want to marry a person who did the things you did to me? Could happen. A punch to the mouth from me or me attacking her? Nah.
I lash out physically in defense not offense.
What should also be apparent is that I am unable to defend myself from you. I took you back after all that I wrote up there (plus all that came before which isn’t written). If I am so incapable of protecting myself from being right here right now? Violence is to be feared.
Pity perhaps for woman you created, but not a fear of violence.