All I wanted was to get my children’s baseball bat from the courtyard of the apartment complex, but Cheryl, my former best friend couldn’t ignore the fact that I was still alive.
“Where are you kids?” she yelled at me.
“That’s none of your business!” I retorted as I felt my face glowing red.
“Bitch,” she said, “I’ll show you.” Turning to her nine year old son she yelled at him, “Watch out, Mama’s gonna swing.”
Her back was to me as she rudely shoved her son out of the way, I took the opportunity – leaping into the air, as to allow my 5’ 2” body to reach her I punched her in the back of the head.
Watching her fall to her knees did nothing for my anger, I ran to my apartment with phone and baseball bat still in hand. I could hear her cussing over the other commotions in the courtyard. As I retreated to the safety of my home I looked over my shoulder to see the once bustling courtyard void of everyone except Cheryl who was still picking herself up from the ground.
As I shut my front door I heard a voice emanating from the cordless phone still in my hand, “Holy crap!” Trish said, “I can’t believe you just did that, I can’t believe I just saw that!”
Breathless yet, and shaking with adrenaline coursing through my blood stream I too wondered what possessed me to get violent in the face of a threat rather than walking away as I was prone to do when I was married.
Before I could even gather the guts to respond to Trish I heard a knock at my door. Cautiously I peered through the window, with the realization that Cheryl has a concealed weapons permit and could be coming for me. Sure enough, a gun was there, but it was attached to a police officer’s belt.
Opening the door, “Hi, can I help you?”
The officer stood still for a moment, “May I come in, I think we need to speak about this situation,” he said as I saw him checking the apartment number on my door.
“Yeah, come on in,” I swung the door wide, allowing him entry.
“Can you tell me what happened?” he questioned, his little notebook and pen at the ready for notes.
I told him my side of the story, there was no doubt I was wrong to have done what I did, but as Trish had pointed out, Cheryl needed someone to beat her ass, and I was the closest thing to guts enough to do it.
“She’s a big girl,” the officer stated, “Why didn’t you just run away from her?”
“Sir, no one gave me a map to get around her,” I followed my words with a nervous giggle.
The officer maintained complete composure, “I don’t get it, she is three times your size, she had her back to you, and she was, at that point, no danger to you.”
“Yes, Sir, her back was to me, and all I saw was butt crack and they say, ‘crack kills’!”
“Ma’am,” the officer said as he rested his hand on his secured weapon, “I can take you to jail right now for assault, your children would have no one to care for them. I fail to see any humor in this situation. In fact, at this moment my partners are interviewing neighbors to get to the bottom of this. All we need is a third party to tell us a story that matches her version and you are going to jail.”
Interviewing neighbors? Witnesses? Everyone was in the courtyard, everyone saw me lose my temper, and everyone saw me ASSAULT her.
“Sir, I think I need to find care for my children then.”
“Well you work on that I’m going to speak with my partners, I will be right back.”
As I closed the door behind the officer I grabbed my address book. I can’t call my parents, although they would be here immediately it would require me admitting that at 25 years old, I have no handle on self-control, I would never hear the end of it. My siblings would be here as well, but then I would be the talk of the family. I continued to mindlessly leaf through the pages when a knock came again.
I answered the door, my eyes wide and unaccepting of the consequences of my bad choices. The officer stood there, citation book in hand, and I breathed relief when I realized his cuffs were still safely attached to his belt.
“All of your neighbors state they didn’t see what happened. You are being cited for disorderly conduct.”
“Okay,” I said, my voice shaking with uncontrolled fear. “What does that mean?”
“It means I’m writing you a ticket, you can fight it if you choose, in front of Judge Brown, or you can pay it and be done.” With a flourish he signed the document and handed me his tablet for my signature of receipt.
“Thank you, Sir,” I said, as tears, unchecked, landed on my shirt. “Thank you for not taking me to jail.”
“Oh, don’t thank me, thank your neighbors.”