names have been omitted in this post
this post contains language
We sat in his dark blue king ranch pick up truck parked on the street. Cooling September temps were upon us and I couldn't believe another year was almost over. Time was flying and we had no pause button. We were in a semi residential neighborhood with small homes yet with tiny cafes and eateries nearby sprinkled in. Across the street was my attorney's office, an older brick crimson storied building that had been renovated inside. Seated inside the truck I sat with my hands clasped nervously in my lap in the passenger seat with him beside me... the man I had been recently dating and thought I had the potential for a serious relationship with.... unbeknownst to me at that time that wouldn't come to fruition. He sat beside me with his sandy hair dressed in a casual shirt, the sleeves rolled up and jeans. He draped his arm across the steering wheel like men do and sighed... "Baby, why don't you just let me help you with this... let me give you the money to fight him." He told me, referring to my ex. I was about to go in and meet with my attorney as my ex had just had me served in September in the attempts to gain more custody of our daughter.
"No... I'm not going to let you do that." I told him firmly.
He appeared frustrated. "Why? Why are you not letting me do this? I have the money...." He reassured me... "Look, it's not an issue. I have more than enough for you to fight him and win. However much... ten grand, thirty, fifty, a hundred, whatever you need. Money is no object here."
That last remark he made struck a nerve. I shook my head and smirked with irony "Oh really? I remember my ex telling me the same thing once upon a time."
He took my hands and gently cradled them. "Hun, you know what I mean... let me do this for you... let me give you whatever you need to fix this fucking mess. I want to help you." He told me, seeming so sincere.
I wanted to believe him. I wanted to. But past experiences told me to be cautious and not go there. Past experiences had taught me that as my ex used to say: "Men don't do anything just to be nice. You always owe." I wasn't about to owe any man anything. So I held my ground and told him no. I needed the money but unless I won the lottery I saw no other way than to struggle to pay it myself. The truth was... if the situation was different and I had been married to a kind and wealthy man who happily wrote a check to solve the problem that would have been different. But that wasn't my scenario. I had only recently begun dating this man and although he didn't have to work and was well off and had already begun talking the idea of marriage and rings I knew he was speeding things along much too fast and that in itself was a huge red flag for me no matter how much I liked him (which I did very much) ... and I had every intent to delay any engagement and wedding for at least a year if not two. I wasn't going to be pressured or bamboozled again. Luckily I was further warned by those that knew firsthand he would not be good for me and I immediately cut the relationship short. I knew better than to accept anything from a man... because one day payment would be due. And I wasn't having that.
some names have been omitted in this post
this post contains language
I had worked that evening.... an event I'd assisted with; a man had thrown a surprise birthday party for his wife. Now home and in the kitchen I tossed leftover bagged salad back into the refrigerator. "It was so nice... "I called out to my mother who sat in the nearby den. "She was so surprised," I told her, referring to the wife... "It was really the sweetest thing ever. What a thoughtful thing to do... I wish I had that... " I said wistfully. The television was playing Beachfront Bargains on HGTV low in the background. I had prepared a quick small salad for dinner and fresh from the shower my hair hung in wet waves... wearing a pair of terry shorts and a oversized top I took a sip from my glass of ice water and walked into the den with my plate, joining her on the couch.
"Wow, that's really nice." She commented and I sensed her quiet reflection... likely of how she wished she'd had that as well. I was happy for men and women who had their happily ever after's. It was wonderful seeing other people who were married actually show their love for their partner in thoughtful, meaningful and positive ways. I just think some of us wish there was more of that to go around... sometimes it feels like there is a deficit of it in this world.
"Did you send the judge's signed rendition to the therapist so she can start the reunification therapy for you and your son?" She asked me.
"Yeah..." I replied with a sigh... "My attorney sent it to me by email. I sent over the form for them to withdraw as my attorneys. I can't afford to keep them on retainer. I'm just glad it's behind me now." I muttered.
"You need to stop seeing your attorney for who you want him to be." She told me with a stern look.
Silence. Finally I spoke "Yeah..." I said wearily.
"I'm serious. I don't know what the heck happened but when you were up on the stand that second day and the amicus Susan Duesler started talking ugly to you, saying all those nasty untrue things that's when your attorneys should have stood up and intervened. They should have stopped it. Susan was being abusive in her interrogation. Then when they asked you if you'd be willing to have a photo taken with your ex and his new wife at all events for the kids and you told them no... your attorneys didn't state how you shouldn't have to do that and why. They didn't question your ex on the journals. All of those should have been pointed out when he was on the stand. Basically you had two attorneys and lost. And THEN they have the gall to send you another bill for ANOTHER five grand." She told me.
"I was screwed from the beginning... I have no doubt money exchanged hands somewhere... or promises must have been made. I think the outcome was pre-decided. I'm over people who think I should be more worried about kissing the courts ass than the job they do. The court wanted me to agree to a photo with my ex and his new wife... what the heck for? It's unnecessary. Then the judge admits she can't rule for me to do it anyway. Then she states in the unsigned rendition she won't include that recommendation in the final signed order but then she does anyway. Instead of my attorneys showing the court I've provided a stable and loving home for our daughter since 2012 and why it's not healthy for her to be around her brother and father by USING the journals I provided... instead they ask me if I'm willing to bend and have a photo op done... which as we all know really means bend over!" I sniped.
"That's what I'm saying. If it had been handled correctly it might have had a different outcome.... but I doubt it... " She shook her head with frustrated disgust.
"I agree... I just don't appreciate being told to bend to the point of being abused. I don't need that. Please lose my phone number." I replied then added with a grimace, "I want to know where God is in this mess."
"I don't know... but your attorney, she was hired to do a job and then he joined in to help and you'd think with two of them it'd be a slam dunk. But it wasn't. It was the biggest freaking mess and circus show ever in that courtroom. You were raked over the coals and demeaned for zero reason. They were allowed to attack you on every level... the fact you have ADHD, your job, your blog, your faith, everything they could attack they did." She said.
"I know it's not over. He's GOING to file something else." I said, referring to my ex, "Either because I'll be in contempt on the out of pocket medical expenses I can't afford and or to finish it off and pursue full custody of our daughter. Which might be possible considering how corrupt the court is. That Judge can't even do simple math shown by her ruling... I can't afford the expenses she's ruled for me to pay. This whole thing was a massacre. They don't seem to understand... I don't HAVE to stay in this three ring circus. I can move away and walk off any time." I told her, "People are only willing to put up with so much. But he'd love the satisfaction of being able to then say I 'abandoned' both kids... he uses that as deflection for what he's done."
"He won't stop... he won't ever stop. It will be some new sack of shit in a few months or year. I have no doubt." She pointed out.
"No, he won't. He's already demanding the money I owe this month. I don't have it. I haven't even paid my attorney yet. If I have to go to court again I'll go pro se and I'll have the court date posted to the public on the blog. I need witnesses. Next time I'll have Protective Parents of Texas there to be watchdogs and take notes."
"I'd do all that for sure... but it will all be for naught... right before they put you on the stand the court will kick them out." She replied. "They don't like witnesses to their abuse. That's why they kicked out those couple of people sitting in the courtroom at your trial right before they annihilated you on the stand."
We may want to give up... and admittedly maybe we need a break. But no matter what God is there for us... even if we have those doubts... He sees everything you are going through... and despite that mountain of mess He is for you and will help you through to the other side of light and freedom. Stay strong, lean on Him and keep praying... it's not for naught... He has not abandoned you.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV