Monday, March 28, 2011

Preparing For Flight (part 1)

Sarah, Katie, and I were cruising around town in my mom’s van getting high.  Sarah had left her little white Maxima at an on-campus parking lot and when she was ready to go home later that day, I dropped her off at her car.  As we pulled up, we saw Patrick’s car pulling out of the back entrance.  Sarah, wondering why he was in Tahlequah, told me to catch him and get him to pull over.  I caught up quickly.  When I flashed my lights and honked the horn, he wouldn’t stop.  Actually, he was trying to lose us.  I chased him for a few blocks until he eventually pulled into a parking lot with only one exit.  He had no choice except to stop.

            Sarah got out and talked to him for a few minutes and then he took off.  Sarah got back in the van and told Katie and I that Patrick said he came to town to visit a friend of his, but he couldn’t find the right building on the campus.  Sarah figured he was lying and had probably come to find her.  Even though their relationship had fallen apart, he was not ready to let go.

            Going back to where her car was parked, we found the real reason he had come to town and why he tried to avoid us so hard.  Two of the tires on the Maxima had been slashed.  Sarah was not surprised.  Later, I would learn Patrick had a history of harassment since Sarah had broken up with him.

            Later that week, Patrick called Sarah’s father on the phone and admitted he was the one who slashed the tires and made arrangements to bring four new ones to Sarah.  Her dad wisely decided it would be best if he brought them to him, and he would take them to Sarah while he and his wife spent the weekend at their cabin near Tahlequah.

            The day after we had our run in with Patrick, Sarah and I went to the courthouse to get a restraining order against him. Patrick was known to carry a gun and, with the latest incident, no one was sure what he might try next.  Entering into the court house, Sarah mentioned her dad might be in his office.  It didn’t register in my head what she meant by that.  Why would her dad have an office in a court house?  I thought to myself.

            I sat with her as she filled out the paperwork.  Then we went up to the floor where all the judges had their offices.  The sign on the door listed all the name’s of the judges and, when I saw one that matched Sarah’s last name, Edmondson, I almost had a heart attack.  What she had said earlier now made sense—her dad was a judge!  I was not ready to meet him, so I was glad when we found out he was not in that day.  Actually, I had been trying to put off meeting her dad for as long as possible.

            My own father had been a walking disaster and hadn’t left a good impression of what a male parent is supposed to be like.  While he had had great promise as a child, the bottle had destroyed every goal and dream he had ever had.  He was an alcoholic for as long as I could remember.  Although I never recall him hitting me, he would constantly argue with my mom each night he came home drunk and hit her hard enough to leave bruises at times.  Some of my earliest memories are of my parents screaming at each other for hours while I pretended to be asleep.  In January 1990, his drinking became so out of control that he finally committed suicide, ending his struggle with alcohol forever.  While it was tragic for us, it almost brought a sense of relief that it was finally over.

            I had feared and hated my dad while he was alive and I transferred those feelings to other people’s fathers.  I was always shy but never had trouble meeting girlfriend’s moms.  When it came to their dads, I never felt comfortable.  Sarah’s dad being a judge and my stereotypical view of what a judge is compounded the problem.  I was sick with anxiety.  I hoped there would be some way to avoid meeting her parents all together.

            We left the court house with a court date and a temporary restraining order.  If Patrick showed up on the campus again, he would be arrested.

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