My stomach was in knots, the bile rising in my throat. We waited in the courtroom hallway with the other victims and stalkers, and then he appeared. My ex-lover strode in wearing a suit, his long hair shortened. From the corner of my eye I could see the anger etched in his face. I was suffocated by his self-righteousness, crowding the hall and filling the small wood-paneled courtroom.
This was my second sojourn to stalker court in as many months and it will not be my last.
I have not seen him since that night, but I am still undone. Sometimes I lay in bed at night and cringe when I hear a car drive by. I have not fully relaxed since the afternoon of November 3, save for when I left town.
Fortunately, my amazing neighbor Bill was with me to serve as my witness, so I was not waiting in solitude. I was first called in to meet the magistrate, and then Mr. Outdoorsy Tech (hereafter referred to as Stalker Ex) came in to join us. The judge was kind and efficient. She had a lot of cases, and in a case like mine, she explained, she’d recommend a “calming down” period of 4-5 months. I would get that much more of a protective order, and at the end he should still leave me alone or I could file harassment charges again and get a longer order if needed. The benefits of a “calming down period,” she intoned, is that we’d avoid a hearing which would take more time and either result in a longer protection order and police surveillance for Stalker Ex, or no order if she didn’t find grounds for one.
I hesitated and then agreed.
I just want to be done and rest. It sounded like a decent compromise.
Stalker Ex would not have it.
“I just want the truth to be heard,” he asserted.
“Well,” the judge replied, “you are going to be charged with separate trespassing charges in another court. You don’t have an attorney here, and you could incriminate yourself. I recommend the ‘calming down’ period. It’s a no harm, no foul for you.”
I inwardly rolled my eyes.
Here he is, basically getting a free pass, and he wants to be heard. What does he want to be heard, exactly?
He wants to be right. Even now. I’m not sure I’ve ever met a more arrogant, stubborn guy.
The judge took in his request, looking both amused and aghast. “That’s not the way this works. Maybe you need to hear it from her,” she looked over her glasses at me, where I sat, back straight, in a black leather chair, eyes trained to the front of the room. “Ma’am, is it your wish to have no further contact with him? Do you wish that you do not talk to him, or that he does not come to your home?”
“Yes,” I quietly answered, “that is my wish.”
“There you go,” the judge casually remarked, swiveling her head to his side of the room. “What’s your decision?”
And so, never one to let a simple solution be simple, my Stalker Ex asked for a break.
After the break, I was told we would be issued yet another continuance so that he can seek legal counsel.
This, at least, gives me another two months of a protection order.
And hopefully his lawyer will tell him to quit being an idiot and to take the compromise.