I went to court today. I took all the papers that I had painstakingly filled out and then gone to the courthouse and filed myself with the help of my mother’s $238.00 and I sat in a miniature court room. Waiting. Waiting for someone to tell me that I was all through with it and there weren’t any more claims over me. I got there early, too early and sat in a silently contained panic. Hoping he hadn’t conned anyone into bringing him in for the official court date. He had after all, managed to get them to let him use the phone in someone’s office to make the series of phone calls it must have taken to track me down at my new job. The return addresses are torn off the envelopes of the incoming mail and he somehow had convinced one of the jailers to give him the address and then Google it for him so that he could lovingly tell me we were only separated by 17 miles. It’s what he does. He most certainly could have had them transport him the short distance to the courthouse if he tried hard enough.
I watched the lawyers and the clients and the people angrily glaring at each other from just a few feet apart as they filed in. It seemed as if they were trying to be as obviously visibly hostile as possible without saying anything. I just kept thinking, We get it. You don't like each other. Grow the fuck up.
Then the judge came and began to call the cases. She was a sweet looking lady with a fluffy blond grandma wig on and she seemed overly solicitous and sweet to everyone. The lawyers were droning on and on about mediation and custody and this one was pulled over for DUI and that one hasn’t seen her kids in 18 days and that one over there just wants her kids at her wedding. Awesome.
Relief begins flooding in at this point however because even though I know I’m last on the docket, I also know they would have had him there on time if he were coming. I stared down at the papers in my hand and knew it would soon be my turn up there all alone, no lawyer and no formidable foe. My eyes began to sting.
No, no, no, no. What the hell are you tearing up for???? Stop! Just stop! You are not sad. This is a good thing. This is the right thing. He is a bad, awful, evil man and you are going to be free. You are not abandoning him.
The pep talk in my head was making it worse. The sting spread to my nose and I knew I was about to break out in wracking heaving sobs . The last thing I need to do sitting here all alone was start to fucking cry. Then it happened.
I heard the judge getting louder and louder, her sweet grandma voice gaining a hard edge as she struggled to speak over a slight girl standing opposite her mother and her mother’s attorney. The girl was maybe in her 20’s, short, great haircut, decent clothes and teeny tiny but she was raising her voice every time the judge raised hers.
She said she didn’t like the orders they were bullying her into. It wasn’t lawful. Her mother had obtained information by illegal means and though she couldn’t afford a lawyer she was there to defend herself and defend herself she would. She was talking like that, like she was on Law and Order. The stinging stopped as I stared with my mouth hanging open. I have been raised and have lived as a doormat and would never ever ever dream of even making a peep after a judge in a court of law had told me to stop talking. And Judge Judy had definitely told her to stop talking.
Tiny Tina just kept on. “I WILL DEFEND MYSELF. THIS IS UNLAWFUL TO RAILROAD ME LIKE THIS!”
Judge Judy quietly said, “You need to step out into the hall young lady and calm down and we’ll revisit this in a moment.”
Tina slammed her papers down on the desk and shouted yet again, “THIS IS UNLAWFUL!!! SHE HAS OBTAINED INFORMATION BY ILLEGAL MEANS AND YOU CANNOT IGNORE ME!!! I WILL BE HEARD!”
The very large bailiff walked over and started to usher her out without touching her, sort of corralling her to the back and out the door and all the while she is shouting out like the cameras are hot and she’s about to have a guest spot next to Mariska.
Her parting shot as the giant bailiff pushed/herded her out, “I’LL HAVE YOU DISBARRED!!!!!”
I wasn’t at all teary anymore. I had a huge stupid grin on my face. It was thoroughly perfect. Judge Judy called my name next and bailiff Hulk came and stood next to me at the bar. I am 5’ 11” and was wearing 3 inch heels and I still had to look up at him to say, “I’ll be good, you can sit down.”
Judy and the Hulk both laughed and laughed and I was feeling more and more like I could handle it all and I would not be despondent or emotional. I felt like this was going to be a piece of cake.
And it was.