Part Two: He’s Under House Arrest, and I’m the Warden
I never expected to find myself in law enforcement
When I arrive in Virginia, it’s freezing. It doesn’t matter what I put on, I can’t get warm. Rob and I have lived in Florida a little more than a year, and somehow I’ve already managed to forget how warm April in Virginia isn’t. I’ve packed utterly and completely incorrectly. Linen pants, shorts, open-toed flats, a few tee shirts and one pair of jeans which I live in and complement with a sweater I stole from my son.
Hey, if you don’t want your mom taking your things, don’t do stupid stuff. At least that’s my feeling.
I have a lot of feelings.
Anger, for one.
Anger at my son for getting himself into this situation. At God for my kid’s lifetime of abject loneliness that led to this situation. At the first attorney I hired for not doing more to get him a bond hearing in under two weeks. At myself for hoping against hope that my son would do well living on his own so that I could get on with the rest of my life.
Fear, for another.
Fear that my son will go to prison. Fear that I’ll go broke trying to keep him out of prison. Ten thousand to the first attorney. One hundred thousand to the new attorneys. Twenty-five thousand in taxes that had to be paid when I took the hundred grand out of my retirement account. A thousand plus bucks a month on the therapy he’s required to have weekly. To say nothing of what I’m spending on groceries.
Silly, right? To throw groceries into the equation? But it’s the truth. He has nothing else to do all day but sleep — and when he’s not sleeping, he’s eating. In fact, the other day my Truist app greeted me with, “Susan, you’ve spent more on groceries in the past 60 days than you have in your entire life!” If that thing ever greets me with what I’ve spent on wine, I’ll be off to Betty Ford.
Who am I kidding? I can’t go to Betty Ford. I can’t go anywhere. My son is under house arrest and I’m the warden.
As angry and frightened as I am, as much as I ache from missing Rob and have begun to think my life with him in the warmth and sunshine was just a dream, I couldn’t live with myself if I wasn’t here with my son. He’s my kid. He has autism. A psychiatric disorder. And he didn’t do what he’s accused of.
It’s all so very sad. I’ve cried myself to sleep most nights since I got here. And most nights I cry myself awake from nightmares. Sometimes my kid is gone, just gone. They’ve taken him. No one will tell me where he is. The horror of it is so real.
But you know what’s worse? The dreams in which I lose Rob. The dreams where he tells me he loves me but this situation, me here, him there, he just can’t do it. Those are the dreams that destroy me. The thought of losing Rob. His beautiful face, his brains, his genuine kindness, the way he loves his daughter, Jenna, the way he loves both my sons. The way he loves me. If our relationship were to end, I don’t know what I’d do. I feel physically sick just thinking about it.
But, there’s no reason to think like that. The man loves me. And he loves this kid of mine. Which is a damn good thing because, according to the new attorneys, I’ll most likely be here through the holidays.
Seeing as it’s only September, I’ve got time to find some warm clothes. I wonder what else my kid’s got in his closet?
Due to this situation, I’ve been unable to write. Over Labor Day weekend though, I felt the desire to start getting “it” — all the stuff, the pain, the frustration, the fear — out. If you’d like to follow along, you can read the first piece I wrote about it here.
I have no idea how this is going to end. But, five months after it began, I’m feeling the need to share it with you, my friends and readers. It’s a sad topic to be writing about, but it’s so good to be writing again.
Thank you for reading. xo