Some background. Our neighbor, the one whom I have always said has the world's worst taste in picking men, has been being abused by her boyfriend, lately. He's the latest in a string of them, starting with the ex-husband. Over the years, I've called the cops, I've worked with the kids (now grown or living elsewhere) and her parents, etc. and tried to instill common sense. I thought she was getting better. Well, she did for a while, but the latest guy (a convicted felon) went back on drugs, and things have been going bad to worse, and she has gone straight downhill to hell, turning into a wretched mess. She's also gone back to drinking heavily again. She goes on and on about how she doesn't want to be ALONE and who would have her? He's blackened her eyes, thrown her out of her house, beat her up in general, and she sniffles how she knows he doesn't care about anyone except himself, but she's weak, because she NEEDS someone to hold her, and I don't know what it's like. I've given her the "You are worth more than that piece of shit, and you need to make the hard decision to throw him out AND MAKE IT STICK." Because she's thrown him out a bunch of time, but he comes back and whines and wheedles, and next thing you know, she takes him back again. And it all starts over. Well, in the latest incarnation, Doug Refuses-to-mention-his-last-name is wanted by his probation officer, for parole violations, and was supposed to have turned himself in at the beginning of last week. He's been hiding out at her place, or running off if he thinks they're coming for him. He was afraid she was ratting on him, so he was beating her up one night last week, and she ended up naked on my doorstep at 3 am, having run out of the house to get away. He immediately headed out of there and ran off into the night. We couldn't get her to agree to file a report, and she didn't have any visible marks, this time around, and kept blubbering that he'd beat her more if she called 911. He was gone anyway, so we didn't call them, though we probably should have. However, what's the use if she refuses to give a statement? She spent the night on our couch, refusing to go back to the house. He disappeared after that, and we were hoping he was gone permanently. I told her about local support groups for battered women, etc. but it was a "yeah, I know but..." with her sniffling over things again.
Fast forward to last night. Andrew and I had just gotten back from a Civil War event. He was on the phone with his grandmother, and Dan and I started hearing thumps, the kind that are hard enough to rattle the wall of the house, coming from next door. Not a good sound. Then raised voices, screams. Then the doors bang, and he and I are out the door, in time to see the car go zipping out the driveway in fast-and-reckless mode. Dan saw the driver, and said it was Doug, and commented he thought he might be back, based on what he saw late that afternoon.
I am at a point where I have had just about enough of this whole mess. Now, when I get pissed off, I don't get angry, I get mad. There is just a shadow of insanity in me, which colors my actions. And I was mad, mad at the whole situation, including her inablility to save herself from her own actions. But I was especially pissed at Mr. Latest Bad News. And I was starting to unravel, and saying things like "I don't want to have to go over there with a gun." Because I also know from long experience just how useless the cops are, when push comes to shove, in anything involving domestic situations. Once someone gets killed, then they'll try to find the murderer, but don't call them before then. They aren't here for that.
So, I'm starting to unravel in a series of slow-triggering but escalating reactions. Which means by the time they come back, I'm about ready to be triggered. The car returns, and the screaming starts escalating. And I pick up one of the swords and storm over next door. I think I said something about having had just about enough of this, and pointed the sword at Doug and said "You, you are bad news, and I don't want you around here, and around my house. You will leave NOW before I am tempted to HURT you!" Being a sensible man with regards to his own safety, he high-tailed it out of there. At which point, Michelle fell apart and begged me not to kill him, but her, and how I didn't understand how much she really NEEDED him, etc. By now, I had both Dan and Andrew supporting me in saying "We are here because we're your friends, and don't want you continuing to go this way!" She started wailing about how we didn't understand, and she couldn't be ALONE. I grabbed her shoulder in a death grip and shook her, and said told her to listen to me, and read her the riot act about how HE was the one killing her, day by day, and she needed to get a spine and either leave for a shelter or KEEP DAMNED DOOR LOCKED. I got the whole "kill me, hit me, I'm the one who causes all this, he's just the latest! HURT ME, HURT ME!" and how I didn't understand that she didn't have any friends, and needed to be HELD. I told her it was an addiction, and she needed to treat it like that, and how dare she say she didn't have any friends, because we were there, and thought she was WORTH SAVING, and valued her even if she didn't value herself. And she started screaming at me, and I screamed right back that she needed to get help, and she told me to bug the hell out of her life, she didn't want help, she just wanted to be HELD! Want to be IN HELL! I shot back at her. "You don't understand, you have someone who LOVES you!" she's wailing. Well you could too, if you kicked out the moron, and got your life together! She goes into this bit about how it's too late, and he's all she has, and she hates us, hates us, hates us.
Finally, I was hyperventilating over this whole thing, and just spun around saying "Fine, if you end up DEAD, it's how YOU want it! I'm through!" and headed back into the house. I'm not sure exactly what happened with Andrew and Dan, because I was so pissed off I just put the sword down and stomped up the block at a great rate, still breathing like a locomotive, madder than hell at the world, at myself for not being able to be effective enough to be able to get her to see sense, at just the universe in general. When I'm that far gone, about the only thing I can do is walk, because I will explode, otherwise. Halfway to the Alameda, I hear footsteps, turn, and see Andrew, in nothing but shorts and slippers. "You don't need to follow me. I'm FINE, and I'm not fit company!" He said my nostrils were flaring like an enraged bull, still, and he was really glad it wasn't him I was mad at. "I'll still follow you." "FINE! It's your life, I don't control it. I don't control much of anything!" And I turned and continued stalking up the block.
But toward the end of the block, I was intercepted by a cat that needed to be petted. It ran out and meowed and almost tripped me. Who am I to resist a demanding cat? So I stopped and petted it, and it's amazing how quickly I calmed down. Andrew caught up, and found me petting a cat, still muttering a little darkly in between making "nice kitty" noises, but in a much better mood. Gave me a hug and convinced me to come home, once the cat was satisfied. I really love him. We even exchanged a friendly greeting with some guys who were working on the house being built (yeah, late-night painting), whom I don't even remember from my stalk up the block.
Michelle had gotten into her car and left. We heard her come back later, and thought we heard Bad News Boyfriend. Andrew called the cops. The cops blew him off. Unless there was anything actually happening, they weren't going to bother. Someone called back after Andrew had gone to bed, and I took the call as he explained that while they understood our concern, she had never filed a complaint, and unless we know the full name of this guy and who his parole officer is, they wouldn't even send a car by, because it was all heresay. We could file a noise complaint...if there was noise. About what I expected.
What worries me is that I could have pushed them back together, by unintended consequences. Remember, they now have a common enemy, that crazy woman with the sword who lives next door. But I'm also unrepentant. It felt so GOOD to go tell this guy to get the hell out of there. But I'm going to try to (haha) stay out of this for now, because if the abuseee isn't cooperating, there isn't a lot you can do. Christ on a crutch, how addicted do these women get? How completely off into left field does their thinking go? It's not the first time I've run into this, by a long shot, but this has got to be the worst case of disordered thinking I've run into. I wonder if it's some form of brain damage, seriously. Dan says he's going to try to stay out of it, too, because he's afraid he could hurt the guy, himself, and he's not worth going to jail over.
I could probably be hauled off for terrorist threats or something. Fine. Good. It would just show how far down the wrong road our society has strayed. You have to be willing to draw a line in the sand, somewhere, or you just end up a collection of snivelling victims. There are just points where I need to DO SOMETHING. Call me a vigilante. I don't care. At least I'm involved.