Last time I wrote anything from start to completion was months back, when the weather was still colder and snow could still be seen. Like it goes, he came back in like bull in a china factory. Nothing left undamaged and shards of that destruction to be felt for the foreseeable future.
He was pushing his own personal best for acquiring felony arrests and I asked for help cutting my own personal thread to his chaos.
I broke my arm skiing with my family and he was busy breaking the law in two states. That was March. Now it’s almost July. So much has shifted since the last bits of snow melted away and turned to spring, which turned to summer. Everything is so much simpler now, even though his chaos is still holding its prominent space in my life. It holds it very very differently.
He has pending felony charges here in PA, those are directly related to acts committed by him to my family and our home. Not to be mistaken from the drug/hypodermic needle charges in New Jersey, or the felony arrest of car theft. It can be taxing keeping track of what state and what felony was committed where….MD, PA, NJ..MA?? Oh gosh golly, that charge was changed…I’ve lost track.
There is nothing I look forward to more than middle of the night calls from Kleo letting me know I’m safe until ‘X’ and that he’s ‘self-medicating’ to treat his long list of issues with “crack and heroin”. How nice, that explains so much. You should be so proud.
Whatever will happen in the other states, I don’t care. I care about the one felony he’s dragged me and my kids into. That’s it. I’ve been a ‘state witness’ before, I’ve had victim advocacy and the Lancaster County judicial forces that be, fail and fail in a way that leaves victims well past a level of defeated. I watched the last case get handed off to the next person/court and fall through the glaringly obvious cracks.
I’ve been the one the system dropped the fucking ball to protect and failed. This is a very real problem and it happens more than it doesn’t and I wasn’t cowering in the corner without means and drive to advocate for myself.
I’ve learned your voice means shit in a bogged down system. I’ve also learned it takes only one person in power to ‘hear’ you and when/if they do – absolutely everything is different. One person in power to advocate for you. One person in power to make sure you don’t fall through the cracks and that is how one goes from being another victim to being empowered and not a defeated statistic.
My one person in power was/is not much different this time around than last. I do have strong opinions on how the “big” court fucked up copious times but on the local front…The police did their job, the MDJ did his job and it was done with compassion. They did their job and handed it to the next in the assembly line of ‘justice’, assuming with the expectation that the next in line would do their job too. The man who I believe could have and would have killed me that day, walked away without so much as a $1.00 fine. I’ve had more “meter violations” and fines parking to go into the court that let him walk without any consequence – dealing with his shit, I’ve paid more parking tickets than any accountability he had. Word to the wise, pay those fucking meter tickets or the city of Lancaster will put a warrant out for your ass and I’d bet money, the consequence will be more than what Kleo got.
March brought another round and the same police department responded. This time I didn’t have that inner battle of fear of him and for him. I’ve come into my own and I wear my ‘domestic victim’ title differently now than I did before. I watched felony charges and arrest unfold and I didn’t feel dropped by the system who passed me along as a docket number and not a person.
One Officer cared above what I had learned to accept as their duty. One who called to answer a question I had or concerns I shared on his days off. One went above what I thought was public duty to serve and protect both me and my kids. One who followed up, who talked to the kids schools to let them know what was going on. One who talked with my children and not at them. One who seemed to genuinely care a subpoena took my 16yo son away from a track invitational he earned a spot to go to but instead spent a day waiting in court for Kleo to not show up because he got himself arrested in NJ. One who saw me walking down the street with my son the other week and stopped to see how we are doing and let us know Kleo had been arraigned that day for an ICC charge.
It’s not the time to write about this one felony charge, it’s more likely than not, going to go to trial. There is nothing I want to say or do to jeopardize a trial outcome. I suspect the state will hold firm on a conviction and not plea this out, let alone drop it and let him out again, more angry and more violent. That hasn’t been said but it looks as though that is the course this will take.
For the time being I am safe. Kleo is sitting in jail with a $350,000 bail. It was raised when he violated just about all his bail conditions, had bail revoked and a bench warrant placed. I was in court when he lied about why he didn’t show up at the prelim hearing. He was trying to play the mental health card again… Too fucking bad it was confirmed by NJ he was in custody when he didn’t show up to the prelim that day. Drug charge…”getting help”, not synonymous. He tried though. He tried again for a bail reduction, the state opposed. The court denied.
Here we are, the first few days of summer. I’m no longer in the perpetual state of unheard victim. That started just around all of this, I asked a friend to help me do something I was paralyzed to do for myself. I trusted she would and would not scorn me for my failure and self-admonishment for not doing it sooner. She didn’t.
I’ve been living and living with pockets of honest happiness. At times I’ve pushed outside of my own little corner of isolation. My new found love of backpacking the AT is strong. I worry more about ounces and what my hammock weighs far more than I worry about a life I had that probably wasn’t even ever real. Just collateral damage of an abusive narcissist – no, I’m not throwing that term out there as a blanket to justify his shittyness. I believe this to be clinically accurate.
This spring I even managed to make a real vacation happen, I took my kids to Puerto Rico for a week. The darkness of the life I’ve been consumed by was non-existent that week and our memories took on the trajectory of more good than bad. I felt a level of safeness I haven’t had in a long time. I shouldn’t have to live with safeness only found on an island he doesn’t know I’m at.
I want that every day, I hunger for that every day.
It’s a good hunger and the more I get, the more of it I want. I get it playing ball, my team undefeated 6-0 as we near the half way point in the season. A softball tournament lost to an Amish team, played in suspenders and dresses. Afternoon catch with my son as I regain motion and strength in the arm broke on the slope of a mountain months back. I get it on overnight backpacking with my daughters, sister and nieces carrying a pack that leaves red marks on your shoulders and muscles that ache well after an ascent of rocky terrain the Appalachian Trail offers us in PA.
And in the quieter and routine moments of everyday life. The moments of watching my children grow as they pass through their own rites of passage. My family, all of them no matter where in the continuum of life they entered.
My youngest being “clapped out” with the other 6th graders as the lower grades and parents lined the hallways, younger classes cheering them on, parents on the sly wiping tears away as their kid made their own final pass through the halls that in that moment became the school of their elementary years, not their school anymore, they passed the half way point.
My sophomore now turned junior at his end of season track banquet, he stood as tall, often taller than the seniors who one, by one spoke their speech recounting days of being underclassman, speaking to the rising class who now would fill their ranks. Listen to your parents and the coaches, not empty words but words they spoke because they had finally become true for them. He now would be one of the athletes looked up to and not the one looking up.
My senior finishing up her high school days only to board a bus with kids who were her classmates and her teacher a few days before on her way to Germany for her GAPP exchange. The class of 2018 passed, all the years for the very last day of school came and went. She is half a world away soaking up every moment, totally unaware I’m at home envisioning her as my little baby girl who just yesterday I had sent off to her first day of school and now I look at her in awe of the woman she is becoming…
Stay hungry kids…