Monday, August 26, 2019

One More Day

Things are finally moving forward.

On July 15 the judge allowed the defense attorney to subpoena my phone records in the case of California vs drunkladydriver. I wrote about how her attorney was on the hunt for something to make me responsible for the collision... like distracted driving. And when we left the courthouse, they looked quite satisfied that they won some kind of victory, and even though I knew they could find nothing in my mobile phone record to put the blame on me, I felt violated, assaulted, again. And I had to wait 9 days for another hearing; for the judge to hear back from the defendant. 9 days checking myself, second guessing myself, debating whether or not to attend the next hearing, or to spare myself. 9 days in suspense, anxious. Being innocent, the victim, didn't free me from worry, or give me relief from concern. They'd made accusatory suggestions, implied things, and I couldn't be sure they wouldn't fabricate a story, a reason to delay or prolong or muddy things further.

I stuck with my physical therapy, which I really needed. I stuck with mindful breathing, and exercises in rational thinking, reasoning, logic. A person can do a lot to help themselves, to guard themselves against anxiety, panic, torment, and I have been diligent and mindful to do all the healthiest, most helpful things. And I've also learned that anxiety and panic are not particular; they show up, unannounced, uninvited, when they damn well please. It was not an easy week. It became increasingly stressful, so I became increasingly tired, muddled, sad, and pained. I redoubled my efforts, and defenses... in the garden, most of all. I think I tried to ward off dark thoughts with soil, mulch, wood chips, starter packs, native plants, bold flowers, lifting, digging, planting. I built a real place, of make believe hopes, and ideals. I indulged every leafy whim and floral daydream...

Can I say something stupid? That's a rhetorical question, and even as I ask it, I realize that 1. Of course I can say something; it's my blog. 2. I shouldn't say it's "stupid." It's not stupid... it's just true, and maybe hard to understand, hard to live with. Here it is... I hate how my thoughts invariably go back to the collision, to her, to hearings and subpoenas, to a sheriff at our door, to thinking about what to wear to hearings, to feeling old and unsightly, to nightmares, stuttering, the headache, to the need of physical therapy, counseling, to the sheer terror of riding in a car. I hate how badly I write or speak, because it's hard to do. I hate that even good things feel like part of the bad thing, because they are such a deliberate effort and ward against feeling sad, hurting. I hate how much gets tainted, and it feels "stupid" to live in this loop.

Geoff says, "You want to go for a ride?" He adjusts my seat, sets up the battery. He added the side mirror, got rid of the brake squeak. He does everything he can think to do, to clear the path (literal and figurative) so I will go outside, and pedal. It's nothing I ask for or expect, and I whispered, in the dark, "You love me," and it was revelation to me... I saw it plainly, sweetly, as I've never understood before: He loves me. He follows me, and we ride and ride, and I tell him, "Sometimes I forget to be scared, and I feel the cold air on my face and it wakes me up. I feel free and hopeful. It's so new, and good." It's good enough to make me go again, and again, even when it scares me, even when I remember why it's easier to stay home. I can ride 12 miles just going back and forth on our street, but Geoff lures me, a bit further out. Little by little, and sometimes, when I forget being scared, it's wonderful. He came back from a ride with this picture of a rat painted on a storm drain... like a bread crumb. I followed him there.

He painted my fenders purple. I would follow him anywhere.

I decided to skip the hearing. The defendant would either present "evidence" against me, or not and then the judge would decide what should happen next. The D.A. said she would call me. I kept my physical therapy appointment instead... where, laying on the table, I started crying, which was awkward.

On July 24th, in the afternoon, I answered a call from the district attorney, and she said, "She pleaded guilty." She said more than that, and it's not over, yet, but! But, the relief! The mild shock, and strange, disorienting relief. It was, should have been, inevitable, but it took so long, was so hindered and protracted, that even the truth felt doubtful. That night I slept, a distinction from almost every other night since December 6th.

And the next day, I faced all the days that have lead to this day... one more day until the sentencing hearing. Tomorrow I go back, and address the court; a statement, my story. I spent 6 hours writing the written report for the judge... that was awful. But, I need to figure out what I will say tomorrow, too. One more day. That is, one more day of the criminal case... then comes the civil case. Okay... one thing at a time. I am scared, and drained, nervous, a bit nauseous. I feel exhausted from my brain rehearsing everything, imagining what could happen, wondering what should happen. I feel apologetic (That is stupid! Please, please, please, don't let me utter the words "I'm sorry," because I am so inclined to feel responsible for discomfort, for taking anyone's time, for doing anything wrong. Help.)

One more day.

Tomorrow is Maria's first day back to school, and I might not be able to pick her up, and...

Crying. Sorry.

Damn it.


Janece said...

It makes my heart happy knowing that you know how much Geoff loves you.

You have traveled this awful journey with so much grace. I hope all of us who love you can help soothe your road to healing and wholeness. We are ready and waiting... whenever you need.

Adaliza said...

Be strong, Natalie. Take your time to recover and enjoy the love and support of your family and especially your very special husband. I expect it's been hard for him too so you're both learning and supporting and regaining your strength. Take care - best wishes and love from Adaliza, Winchester, UK