A few months ago my husband went to a bar after work for some beers with the guys. At the bar some jerk was pushing and being a general rabblerouser, and pushed Paul. Paul defended himself and they got into a fight. Paul backed off and left, then a bunch of people jumped the guy with broken beer bottles and left him unconscious in the street. Paul was arrested at his car, and charged with Assault with a Deadly Weapon, even though he had only gotten into a fist fight not of his own making, and had absolutely nothing to do with the man being jumped! He spent two days in jail, partly because I waited to bail him out. I was so angry, disappointed and scared. I felt betrayed. Here I am doing my part in our marriage, and he is off drinking and getting in bar fights. Finally I realized it was just a "man thing," and if he didn't get out before Monday he would lose his job. When he came walking up the road from the jail in a white jumpsuit I have never felt so relieved and terrified at the same time. I ran and jumped on him, he was probably completely shocked, expecting me to be infuriated. At the moment all I could do was hold him tight, and wonder how long until he may be taken from me and locked up?
Today, 3 months, a lot of fighting and tears later, is Paul's arraignment. The charge has been dropped down to Assault with Intent to Great Bodily Harm. He left early this morning without a kiss goodbye, all that will happen is he will appear before the judge and say Not Guilty. He will meet his public defender, and hopefully his PD is able to get the case thrown out. I really don't even understand why they are pressing charges. In my mind's eye all I can see is the DA pressing forward with the charges, and the judge sentencing my best friend to 2 years in prison. The other man in the fight told the police he initiated the confrontation, and did not want to press charges. So many good men get in bar fights, I have several memories of my own Dad with a black eye and a secret smile behind my Mom's back. As long as everyone keeps it clean, I honestly think people involved in a simple bar fight should get a ticket for a misdemeanor. Instead Paul is facing actual jail time, and if that really happens I cannot begin to imagine what that will do to our family. I am praying they put him on house arrest, if only so that I can make fun of his ankle bracelet. Paul seems completely detached from the situation and does not act worried at all. He is convinced he will be offered a deal, and will be able to negotiate so that he does not spend a single day in jail. I don't understand how he can sleep so deeply and chuckle so ruefully at my frightened tears. The fines and court fees alone could crush us.
It is so confusing being horrified at the idea of Paul being taken from me, and so ridiculously angry at the same time. It's not possible to maintain that level of emotion for 3 months, so somehow we have found a balance, and are living each day as normally as possible. Paul completely unaffected, while I walk around feeling like an anvil is about to crash into my world. I can only hope Paul comes home in a few hours and says the charges were dropped, but if not, we have a long and complicated road ahead of us.