Why did they have to bring Nellie to court? She can barely speak!
“The court will come to order,” boomed the judge. My court session had begun.
Ugh… can’t they just stop talking? Nobody knows what they’re saying anyway. I bet Nellie is hungry, because I sure am. My lawyer motioned for me to go sit in the barred-in seat. I finally get to speak. About what really happened.
“Tell us your story Mr. Richard,” the other lawyer said.
“It’s really long. I don’t know where to start.” I spoke the truth.
“Well, it’s a story. Start from the beginning.”
Jane and I meet at a party. Not just any party, my first party. I was 3 hours out of college and I was valedictorian, so I thought I deserved to go. It seemed I had just gotten there when I saw her. She caught my eye because she was wearing sweat pants. I mean, sweat pants to a party! Anyway, the more I look at her, the more I thought she was beautiful. She had thick black hair and dark blue eyes. She had purple fingernails and a ring on her pinkie. Then I thought, If I’ve stared at her this long, I should at least know her name. It took me a full half hour to walk up to her. It’s not that she was scary, she was just… looming. Like I had thought her up from my mind.
“I’ll talk to you later Shelby.” Oh no. She saw that I had walked up to her. What was I going to say?
“Aren’t you the valedictorian?” she said first.
“Um… yes,” I stuttered out.
“I didn’t know nerds went to parties. I didn’t know nerds were as cute as you either.”
Wow, I thought, she’s so assertive. It made me mumble out more inconceivable things and then…
“And then what, Mr. Richard?” said the lawyer.
“Can I skip to the important stuff?”
“Might as well.”
We got married, and then Little Nellie came along. It was all fine, I thought my life was going pretty good and would stay that way. Apparently not.
For some reason, just a little bit after Nellie’s 3rd birthday, something changed inside Jane. I’m pretty certain a chemical got mixed up in her brain or something like that. She started to say nonsensical things, like how I came home from work either too late to not be cheating or too early and not making enough money. I came home at the exact same time every day. At first, she only said them at night when we were alone. Then, she started saying things in front of Nellie and people from my work. That’s not the worst part either. She started to hit me along with talking about me. They were just little slaps in the shoulder, something everybody does, right? Then, she started to punch me. She was stronger than I thought she was. I started getting bruises on me. I didn’t think anything of it. The people at my work always talked about their bruises. But there’s had better stories, like they fell off a ladder. They always asked me, but I never told. It was just too embarrassing to say, “Oh, you know Jane. She punches people in their ribcage because they dropped a light bulb.” Actually, I did say that. I said that to Jewel, this woman I worked with. Jewel was about 10 years older than me, and she was my best friend at work. She was very spiritual and she could make anyone laugh, even if it hurt to breath. One day we were all bragging about our kids. Jewel had two, both in college. I told her about my Nellie, and she said she would love to meet her. This was probably the stupidest thing I will have ever done.
So I drove Jewel to my house, talking only about babies. I had completely forgotten about Jane. I open the front door and we hear crying noises. Nellie was in her high chair, smashing peas and giggling. Jane was crying. We found her on the bathroom floor. I asked her what was wrong. What follows was a nightmare for me.
“Who is this, Dick? Your little girlfriend you hang out with instead of me?”
“My name is Jewel. I’m just a friend. You must be Jane. Your little girl out there is adorable.”
“Yes, Jane, she is just a friend. I invited her over to see Nellie.”
“You mean come to steal her away? Might as well, already stole you away!”
This went on for another hour or so. Jewel finally decided to go home, as she left she told me she would pray for me and Nellie. She left at the right time, because then Jane started to drink. Drink a lot.
The next day, as I was driving to work, something snapped inside of me. Both mentally and physical. While I was at the hospital being treated for a broken rib, nose, and finger, I decided what I was going to do. I will divorce her, I will win custody of Nellie and the house, and I will get my life back. I did accomplish the first three, but definitely not the last one.
A few months later, all is well. I wake up and I find a letter in the mailbox. My restraining order was granted. Jane had been sending letters and emails and phone calls so much I couldn’t do anything anymore. It was like she was still there. Maybe she’ll go away now. Not in the least.
I go to work like any normal day, dropping off Nellie at a daycare (which I just barely could afford). Everything is fine until I reached my desk. There is a note on it.
‘I will be coming to work today. –Jane’ What? Did she get a job here? She couldn’t have, I got a restraining order today. I threw it away and pretended that it didn’t exist.
But it did exist. She walked straight into my office.
“How did you get in here?” I tried not to yell too loud.
“Well, it’s not like I’m in jail or something.”
Then she punched me right in the eyeball. I don’t know why I didn’t see it coming. I called Security and they came and arrested her. But not after she touched me all over. I went to the hospital again, trying to be optimistic because now she’s in jail or something.
“Very intriguing Mr. Richard, but that’s all back story, isn’t it?”
“Yes sir and I’m not done yet.”
The day was August 20, and a toddler from daycare was having a birthday party. You know, one of those moms who invite everyone her kid comes in contact with probably because she was never invited. Anyway, I dropped Nellie off and went back home. It would actually be quiet for once, I was thinking about a nap. I change my mind, going home was the stupidest thing I’d ever done.
I walk through the front door. Nothing is different, but something feels different. I shook it off. I’m just so used to Nellie loudness is all. I think I’ll turn on the T.V. anyway. I lay back all the way in my recliner chair. Yep, just going to take a nap now. Or not. I got up and put on a pot of boiling water for herbal tea. Jewel really got me hooked on it; it relaxes you no matter what. Then, I heard the T.V. say something horrible, something that made my spine crawl.
‘This just in; three women escape from jail. Two women were murderers; the last one was a domestic violence case. This was days before the court was going to plead insanity and let her go.’
I didn’t know if I figured out it was Jane before or after I heard someone coming down the stairs.
“How did you get in my house?”
“You learn things in prison.”
Her voice had gotten coarser and more sinister than ever. She had gotten down to the living room now and I saw her for the first time in 10 months I think. She was wearing a prison uniform, bright orange, and her hair was longer and ratter. She wasn’t pretty to me anymore. She hadn’t been for a long time.
“Do you know what I’m going to do to you now?”
“Why are you so crazy, Jane? What made you this way?”
“How? I thought we had the perfect life.”
“I never wanted the perfect life! I wanted the bad life!”
“Then why did you ever marry me?”
“Because I thought you wanted the bad life too!”
“No. I’m not crazy like you.”
“Well, you sure did act crazy that first night…”
“Yes but I knew I had to grow up. That’s what normal, sane people do. They act crazy, then they get a family, then they live the rest of their life!”
“Would you like to take a break, Mr. Richard?”
“No, I’m almost done. Could you take my daughter out of the room?”
Then, I saw something I didn’t before. Jane was holding a knife. A really big knife, one you see in a movie. So, I did the most human reaction-al thing. I threw something at her. The closest thing. The boiling pot of water. It never hit her actually. She stabbed herself jumping away from it.
“The end, that’s my story.”
I waited, then I ate a big lunch, then I waited almost the entire day. Finally, I was called back in.
“We of the jury find Mr. Richard not guilty. He was a victim of self defense. You may go home now.”
I cheered and then I think I cried. My life was going to start over, and it was going to be normal now. I think I’m going to move to Hawaii.