The next thing I know he's at my door. He tries to talk me into coming out to his car to grab the dogs. Again I refuse. He tries to get me to come out to his car to get a bag of dog food. I tell him to keep it - I have my own bag.
When it's clear I won't come out to his vehicle he walks out and stands beside it for five to seven minutes. I just want him to leave. I just want a hot shower and my bed, I have to work in the morning. All I have on is my bathrobe and I feel vulnerable. I figure the fastest way to get rid of him is to see what he's doing.
On my front porch I see him grab a long, black plastic case with a center handle from his car. He says, "I told you I bought Chef a guitar right?" I think to myself, "well that's the weirdest guitar case I've ever seen, it's so narrow. I'm sure he bought some piece of shit toy thing that won't work and I'll get to fix it when she's disappointed."
I turn around and walk into my house, he follows immediately behind me. I don't notice him locking the door as well as the deadbolt. I sit on the couch, my back to him. I fiddle with my cell phone that I put into the pocket of my robe. I remember thinking, "maybe someone will call and I'll have an excuse to get him out of my house." I hear him behind me fiddling with the case and I assume he's pulling out this weird guitar to show me.
In a moment he says to me, dead calm, kind of a low, slow tone. "So we really aren't getting back together are we?"
"no... we are never getting back together"
"Well this won't take long" and like a slow motion dream I hear the familiar sound of a gun being cocked opened. Not that I have any experience with firearms at all, but I've seen enough movies. I've heard that sound a thousand times over on the big screen. I look over my shoulder and I see him removing shells from his pocket and loading them into the chamber of the rifle. It's pointed directly at my head.
I slowly stand up, backing towards the door I dial 911 on the cell phone in my pocket. When I hear the operator's voice I life the phone to my ear and say, "my ex husband is in my house with a gun I need the police NOW."
She asks me if I can get out of the house. I tell her I don't know. She tells me to run, just run and don't stop until I get someplace safe. I'm pulling on the doorknob and I can't figure out why it won't open. I see the deadbolt and I flip it open. I pull again... it still won't open. I'm starting to get frantic, I feel trapped. I'm sweating and my blood is pounding in my ears. It occurs to me that the door is locked, and I flip it open.
Suddenly it's a rush of cold night air and I'm running. I hear him behind me on the patio yelling "YOU DON'T WANT TO DO THAT!" I keep running down the driveway. It is near total darkness, no street lights and only a few lights from local houses. I head to one of those lights in the neighbors house.
A sudden explosion of pain in my right foot sends me to the ground. I land on my right shoulder feeling it shoved out of its socket. Another explosion of pain makes my vision blur. I don't feel like I can take a deep breath as I crawl on my hands and knees to my neighbor's door. I pound furiously. I can still hear him screaming in the distance.
My neighbor answers the door. I tell him what happened. I'm still on the phone with the police. I must have given them my address by this point. They tell me that help is on the way. My neighbor hides me in the closet of a back bedroom with his teenage daughter and his wife. He's also on the phone to the police. I keep apologizing over and over for bleeding on their floor. My foot looks like raw hamburger and my arm is hanging limp, useless, and at an unnatural angle.
The police arrive a few minutes later. They get me out of the closet. They hurry us out of the house. I see the SWAT team arrive as they lock me in the back of a police car. I call my best friend and his family before someone searches me and takes my phone. For three hours I'm questioned, I'm forced to write a statement with my dislocated arm. My cell phone is confiscated. I'm nearly naked - still in nothing but my bathrobe, cold, and injured. They won't tell me where my children are. I'm frantic, having convinced myself that he killed them before he came to kill me. I am honestly and truly, for the first time in my life, hysterical.
The rest is a blur. At some point the police finally inform me that they found my children alive and well at his home. My former in-laws picked them up and they are safe. They take me to the station and lock me in an interview room. After approximately four hours I demand they let me go or charge me with a crime and get me a lawyer. I demand my cell phone be returned to me. I call my best friend. She comes to get me.
At some point in the wee hours of the morning he surrenders and they remove him from my home without further incident or injury. He's arrested. My life is never the same again.
I have to tell my children that their dad won't be coming back to them for a long time. I have to make statements to the police again, get a restraining order, contact my land-lord, get medical attention, call my employer, and try not to break into a million little pieces.
One year ago today I became a person I never imagined I could be. I became a victim, a single mother, a survivor.
One year ago today I changed.