Trigger Warning * Violence * Language
Out of spite, when I left the restaurant, I took the long way to the babysitter’s, and then the even longer way home from there. The detectives followed me in hopes of leading them to Nate, so I just kept driving.
When I finally pulled into my driveway, they hung back, waiting. A few moments after Scott and I got inside and settled, they knocked at the door.
“Sheriff’s Department,” they announced, as if I might be surprised. I sent Scott to his room and answered the door.
“He’s not here. I told you I don’t know where he is.”
“We have a warrant to search the place,” they said. I stepped back and let them in. I had nothing to hide.
They fired question after question at me all over again. I answered as calmly as I could, not wanting to scare Scott.
Soon, they just stopped asking questions about Nate and started grabbing things, insisting they matched the descriptions of stolen goods. I grew angrier by the moment, knowing I had personally purchased most of the things they were claiming were stolen.
“What about that?” one of the detectives asked.
“That file cabinet. Is that where you keep all the records for your little business?”
I had no idea what they were talking about, but they went on to tell me Nate was considered the mastermind behind a huge theft ring in the area. I could barely breathe.
“I’m a writer,” I explained. “Feel free to go through it, but it’s full of my writing and research. If Nate has done something wrong, I don’t know about it.” Not everything about it, anyway. Not enough to have files on it.
I held my breath, hopeful they’d leave it alone, afraid they’d destroy all my writing credits and works-in-progress. The female detective looked through it but left it untouched. I relaxed only a little, knowing I was no longer in control of anything.
When they finally left, promising to return, I put Scott to bed and went to my own. I crawled under the covers, crying. Every time I turned around, it was something new. If only I had paid better attention. If only I had made a run for it before Nate got out of prison. This time I was definitely going to be in trouble. This time, no one was looking at me as an innocent bystander.
I decided I would tell them he was in Florida and then I’d be done with him once and for all, but by morning, that seemed like the worst idea ever, and instead, I called Mom. After some gloating about how right she was again, that he would never change, she drove up and brought my youngest brother to help me out.
The detectives came back and, seeing I had help with Scott, felt it was the perfect time for me to come to the station for official questioning.
They fingerprinted me, played good cop, bad cop, and finally let me go when I just couldn’t give them the answers they wanted. I only had one real answer anyway, and that was where Nate was. But I decided I wasn’t nearly as scared of them as I was of Nate if they told him I was the one who ratted him out.
When I got back home, my landlord was waiting for me to collect the rent. I paid her in cash, she counted it in front of me, gave me a receipt, and then left. An hour later, she called to tell me I shorted her $100, and besides that, she didn’t want thieves living in her place. She gave me 30 days to get out.
With no way to contact Nate, no job, and nowhere to go, I was lost all over again. I just couldn’t get a break. Nothing ever stayed good for long.
Eventually Nate was caught in Florida and would be extradited back to Georgia to face charges. The story was front-page news, and yet again, I was shocked by the accusations. There was so much, so many things stolen, so many crimes. For a while, I held onto a small glimmer of hope that the police were simply trying to pin unsolved crimes on someone with a history. I wanted more than anything to believe he really hadn’t done anything wrong this time.
My brother helped me pack and store all of our belongings, and soon I was able to produce receipts for most of the items the police had taken, proving they really were mine, but I had nowhere to go. I didn’t want to go home to Mom again, back to Williston yet again. Especially being pregnant again, too. Mom was a little too happy about being right about Nate, and I couldn’t deal with her right now.
For the next several months, Scott and I lived out of my car, staying here and there with family but never for long. We drove between Florida and Georgia, at other times renting places only for Nate to get moved to yet another jail, and he’d insist we follow. I don’t know why we did, other than I just didn’t know what else to do.
My aunt finally helped me come to a decision and sent me back to live in my grandmother’s house in Williston. As much as I didn’t want to return where everyone would once again see all the mistakes I had made, we needed a place to stay. Most of all, Scott needed stability. He wasn’t a baby anymore; he was old enough to know none of this was normal. I could no longer so easily explain his dad’s absence.
We moved back in during the middle of a scorching Florida summer, not a stitch of furniture to our name. I applied for welfare again and put out the word that I was in need of…pretty much everything. Someone gave Scott a twin bed, and so we slept together in his room.
Meanwhile, my belly grew bigger and bigger with my second baby, and despite the hardships of the past several months, I was excited. I barely had anything for this new baby, but I was sure something would happen to bring everything together one way or another. I couldn’t afford to have anything but positive thoughts.
When the day came that I went into labor, after several long weeks of bedrest and a very long, hard pregnancy, Scott and I were still mostly alone. We had one friend, my mother, and brother, but we still felt the gaping hole left by Nate. By this time, he was in a boot camp prison program, meant to rehabilitate him, but I doubted it would help.
In the middle of my joy, I was angry and sad. It was never supposed to be like this.
About Angela Giles Klocke – I’m a Colorado-based speaker, writer, advocate, and princess! I am also a survivor of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, and more. I would love to speak to your group, school, or organization. Catch my TEDx Colorado Springs Talk on abuse, violence, and talking about uncomfortable topics, coming soon. Contact me!