Sorry diary this is a long one….
Last Wednesday night about 8pm I took our 3 children to bed in the room I have now vacated for my wife. I sleep in the kid’s room and the kids tend to sleep with her in our room, sometimes one or two of them come and sleep with me in their room. I read them a bed time story and they asked that I switch on the fan which I did.
I digress, the fan in question, I bought it a few years ago as I needed a more powerful fan to use overnight (especially in summer). My wife most times did not allow me to switch it on as she gets cold and eventually I devised a method where I turned the fan well away from our bed area but I could still catch some breeze from the fan on my side of the bed.
At about past midnight my wife who must have just got home around midnight as she works late sometimes wakes me up to tell me not to put on the fan when the children are sleeping. Now to put this into context, we don’t communicate. We do sometimes exchange very few words if it is unavoidable because it is about the children. Giving this, I assumed it must be that one or more of the kids have a cold or something along those lines, so I said ‘OK, I will not’. At about 4am I get up to use the toilet and I hear the fan on in the other room. I put my head through and I see it is on. I tell myself to ignore and go back to sleep. Now while in bed, I was very upset and could not help myself so I got up and went back to her room. Now, we have been living like this for about 2 years now and the one principal reason why we are still steering this ship in one direction is that I ignore all of her goading’s and provocations. On this occasion I failed. I had enough. So I go and meet her and ask her why the fan was on. She says she switched it on cos she wanted to. I now asked a very simple question. I said “Are you saying I can’t switch on the fan for the kids but you can?” she says ‘Yes’. I then said ‘well, I will’ and left the room to go back to bed. She now comes to meet me in my room and says that ‘Let me make myself very clear, you are not allowed to use or touch anything that is mine’. She says the fan is hers as she reimbursed me when I bought the fan – that is (excuse my French) Bullshit! I also find that ridiculous in many ways. Where do we start? Where do we end? Do I tell you not to use the electricity because I pay for it? Long and short I repeated that I will switch on the fan if I deem it necessary if as she told me she can switch it. She then threatens me, saying she dares me to go and switch on the fan. I then go and switch it on and she went completely berserk! She goes to my room and throws my bedside table, smashes my radio, scathes my books, throws my table lamp etc. In controlled retaliation I go to her room and tip over a pile of files on the floor (quite timid response I know). She then goes downstairs to my desk (working area) and I could hear her damaging things. I heard a lot of noise but did not follow her downstairs. At this stage my sister and her daughter who were sleeping downstairs woke up. I then go to her room and again tipped over a pile of novels she had on the table. She goes to my room and starts to throw my shoes at me. After this I try to get to her room and she blocks me. I force my way by pushing the door and spinning her round. She then comes at me in an aggressive manner. I shield myself using my hands then I grabbed both her arms to prevent her from attacking me. She grabs me by the scruff of the neck and to my amazement starts shouting ‘my neck my neck’. At the stage my sister comes between us and manages to get me to loosen my grip on her arm and hers on my neck. She then starts the usual verbal abuse after which she calls the police that I assaulted her.
The police came in record time and one of them goes upstairs with her while the other one asks me questions downstairs. When I gave my statement the policeman told me, I should have just ignored it and that he gets it at home regularly but you must ignore because as it is now there is zero tolerance on domestic violence which is a serious crime and giving what has happened here, now one of us has to be taken away from here and as she has accused me, pending the investigation I will be arrested. I was taken away to the police station. It was 6am in the morning. I was told I would get interviewed at about 9am. I went through the normal procedures of questions, mug shot, finger prints etc and then banged up!
The bed (well let’s call it that) was made of concrete with a wooded top with a thin polyester mattress and pillow. It was cold. So the first thing I asked for was a blanket. I did not get one for hours (more on that later). The door was made of steel with two openings, one small circular one and a bigger rectangular one. Typically an officer will peep using the smaller hole first before opening to bigger one to ask questions or ask about your welfare. I worked out quite quickly that for them it was just routine to ask about your welfare because whatever you asked for never gets done. You ask for water, blanker, phone call, they will say ok but nothing happens. Eventually whenever I was asked if all was ok I said ‘I was absolutely fine!’ Later in the day I noticed that there was a particular officer who responded to my queries positively. He gave me water twice and eventually I also got a blanket after several hours in the cold. Back to the cell, it is big enough to move around and not feel very restricted but still very claustrophobic. There was a toilet without toilet paper, I guess you would need to ask for it but I decided very quickly not to have any need to find out about that. I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat their food and if I did it would mean I would then find out if they provided toilet paper so I rejected all request to eat. There was a camera in one corner of the ceiling and there was a window which you couldn’t see through but allowed you to make an intelligent guess whether it was day or night. There was also some writing on the wall providing a phone number if you had drugs or drink problem. All you possessions are seized so you have nothing on you. I wondered how the previous residents managed to mark their names and nicknames (I assume) against the wooden frame of the steel door or the bed. “Aston” wrote his name on the door and bed and there were other boring initials like “VA”. Sitting on the bed the first thing I did was decide very quickly not to do anything to get agitated. No matter the circumstances I should just be relaxed and not get anxious. I knew 3 hours was not long so I prevented myself from just waiting for 9am as this would make time go very slowly and I will become anxious. So I devised a method in my head not to wait for 9am but wait for when I will be told that it was time to get interviewed, there is a subtle difference. In the meantime I just sat on the bed determined not to sleep on that mattress!
I filled my time trying to pray, recounting what happened, systematically articulating what I was going to say during the interview and also reviewing how I was doing with all my plans. It suddenly occurred to me! The biggest weapon we have is our intellect! They can strip you of all your possessions, they can prevent you from going back to your house, they can take away your job, they can take away your children but nobody, no one can take away your intellect. When you are in the pits, when you are in that black hole no matter where you are or the circumstances you always have your intellect (if we excuse mental illness). So why I ask, why don’t we nourish it? Why don’t we feed it? Why don’t we prepare it? Why don’t we grow it? It is the one thing that exclusively belongs to us and it is the most powerful thing we have. In the police cell I was using my intellect. I decided to get a rest on that bed eventually as I would not want to be exhausted and very tired while being interviewed. I identified the officer that could respond to my request and ask for blanket and water. I pushed my luck and asked him for fruits but I was politely told ‘we don’t provide such here!’ When the Police man in charge of the station came into my cell to read the same rights I have been told about for the umpteenth time and I asked him what the time was and he told me it was 2pm. I was first of all impressed that I still taught it was not yet 9am and more importantly (I used my intellect) I didn’t tell him to fuck off and go and get the detective to interview me instead of going through some bullshit talk to protect their asses. When he gave me the chance to talk I asked him politely why I had not been interviewed yet and I also requested a phone call (that I was entitled to, which he just read out as well) and nothing had happened. He said he would look into it. That was the last I heard from him. No phone call, no interview.
As time moved on at some moment I made an intelligent guess that the sun was giving way to the moon so I laid my head to catch some sleep. At this stage I was getting hungry, tired but relaxed (helped by some routine exercise and heavy breathing practice). Using my biggest weapon, I knew there was no point in the “Ifs”,“buts”, “whys” etc there is a time and place for everything. Now I just needed to take advantage of the (sometimes) peace and quiet (when my neighbour who I would guess was female, young and not quite right was not yelling and screaming the place down). I managed to make some important decisions about the way forward with some of my targets. I was able to spend time to review why some of my projects were not done or done at the pace I wanted. I gained a lot in there!
Eventually the time came, the door opened and a plain clothed man stood in front of me and told me he is going to take me for an interview. He took me to the interview room and explained the procedure and process before the interview started. I had enough time to go through and rehearse what I was going to say. I poured it out with confidence and structure. He told me at the start that he was going to ask questions to fill any gaps etc. When I finished he didn’t ask any questions. I knew there and then that I made the right decision. Instead of agitating that I was not interviewed at 9am I used the time between 9am and 8:30pm (when I was eventually interviewed) to prepare myself (better) for the interview. I was told that since my sister witnessed the tail end of the incident she was going to be interviewed (and was on her way to the station). I was told that if there were no adult witness then they would have had to interview the children (more on this later). I was told the next line of action. After interviewing my sister they would have to make 1 of 3 decisions. Let me go with all charges dropped, ask for more time to investigate and grant me bail with the condition that I don’t go anywhere close to the house and I can provide a friend I can stay with otherwise I will be remanded in custody. The last option was that I would be formally charged with common assault.
I was escorted back to my cell and I had to work on myself big time not to get anxious on the outcome of the investigation. I knew the last 2 options would be a disaster in my life. So I prayed again, I told God that although I am no saint, I am not a violent person, I told him to vindicate me. I said I had spent close to 18 hours in this solitary place but I am relaxed because he said it, not me, that we should cast our burden on him. Eventually the detective came back and took me back to the interview room. He went straight to the point, he said I was free to go and all charges dropped! I said a very quick and silent prayer and thanked him. He then told me that the main reason I was free to go was because my story from the time my sister intervened matched 100% with her story and we have had no time alone together and they did try to catch her out and lead her along several other lines. If my sister was not in the house that day I would have gone down. I got my possessions and walked a free man out of the station to the waiting car of my friend who brought my sister to be interviewed.
While looking back at the whole incident the next day it occurred to me that the reason why she was saying ‘my neck my neck’ while holding my own neck must have been for the sake of the children. The room was dark and the children were just waking up so hearing her say this may make them think that I was holding her neck. She tells people that our daughter (of 6) saw the incident (not sure exactly what that means but I guess buttressing her accusation that I held her neck). My questions to her are:- Why are there no marks on your neck but I have marks on my own neck? Why didn’t my sister have to remove my hands from your neck but had to do remove your hands from my neck?
I strongly believed it was well premeditated may be not in detail but she already planned to goad me and if I react will call the police and accuse me. When she called the police it was after about 5 minutes of my sister separating us and she spent the 5 minutes giving me verbal abuse.
I know I should not have woken her up or switched on the fan or tipped her books. I should not have fallen for her provocations. It is not easy. I constantly get the provocations. I got one a day after I got released. How I feel now? I feel very much relaxed and free. For the first time I feel really free. I feel free because I know deep down that we are going our separate ways and I am very comfortable with it. I don’t feel any negativity towards her but I have no respect for her as a woman or person. I have said it and I mean it, I will not inconvenient myself for 1 day because of that woman, I will not spend any extra money because of her. So I am staying put in the house. I will get my solicitor to get her solicitor to speed up the divorce proceedings giving the recent event which makes cohabiting nearly impossible. Depending on what happens, my guess is that she will not pursue the divorce as reality has now set in as she can see the numbers and it is not as simple as ‘I want to get the money he has stolen from me’. My guess is that she will not pursue the divorce but come up with another proposal. If after about 2/3 weeks I don’t hear anything from her solicitors I will draft my own proposal such that (as I said) I don’t pay anything extra. She will probably request some minor changes but I will then be able to move out and not be out of pocket. If she rejects that, then I will file for divorce.