There was a missed call and a message on my phone when I got on the bus after work. They were from Emma and she had news about her father. Could I please call her back? I looked up as the bus stopped and Emma got on board; I don’t usually run into her on the bus so that was a surprise.
She sat beside me then said with a wide grin, “Guess what? Dad got arrested!”
I thought I’d misheard her at first but after a moment I managed to ask what for. Had he tried to sell his old pain medication? Was he caught buying pot? Her answer wasn’t one I’d come up with and yet it wasn’t a surprise. He’d assaulted his ex-girlfriend, the same woman he’s been stalking and harassing for several months now. He doesn’t like it when women break up with him before he’s ready. I know that from personal experience.
My first comment was inane. “I need to apologize to our mediator.”
Emma gave me a blank look.
“She worried about me,” I explained. “She thought your Dad was going to try to hurt me and I told her not to worry. I guess I should apologize except…”
Except it had been so long, I couldn’t even remember her name. Besides, there was no way she’d remember me.
Emma went on to say that her Dad had been released but had to go back to get fingerprinted. She and Mark were trying to figure out how he’d miss his appointment. Maybe he’d just sleep in or they figured he might to the hospital the night before with chest pains. Then she wondered how he’d react in court. Would he get angry and lash out like he does often? Maybe he’d get probation or put under house arrest.
And then she was gone, hurrying off the bus with Mark’s younger brother, who’d coincidentally gotten on the bus a stop after Emma. She’s coming over for dinner tomorrow night.
I quickly called Jeremy to see how zie felt about the news. Zie sounded more resigned than anything else. “It’s not like it’s a surprise,” zie muttered. And zie’s right. Their Dad gets more callous and self-centered with each passing year.
Jeremy says zie’s fine with what happened. Zie almost never sees zir father and just as rarely hears from him. But zie’s been on edge all evening, snapping and wanting to rant about anything and everything. The latest was a rant on how the government (I have no idea which one) is too lazy to restrict model airplanes to lower air space. Ironically zie doesn’t actually want those restrictions because the best videos come from the highest planes. This quickly segued into how gamers are being discriminated against because of inflated statistics that claim all video gamers are violent. Or maybe it was just 98%. Or maybe zie’d pulled that figure out of zir ass… but zie’d read it a while ago. I think I whimpered around then. Jeremy’s thankfully back watching videos and hopefully relaxing.
I’ve told people before that observing my ex is like watching a very slow train wreck. Everyone knows it’s going to end badly; the only questions are when and how bad. It’s a ride I’m glad we’re no longer on.
Edited to add Emma’s view of the situation.