The second week in January, I moved into an apartment in Old Town Pasadena. I had found a place on padmapper.com that advertised a “take over” of the remaining four months of a year lease. I didn’t necessarily want to continue living in Pasadena, but I gave it a shot. I met the girl who lived in the apartment. She was a singer, moving to New York. I tried to contain my jealousy. I fell in love with the wood floors, the price of the place, and view of the majestic San Gabriel Mountains from the window.
It all happened so quickly. I knew I couldn’t live with Curt and Kathy forever, and I was antsy to have a place of my own.
The tiny studio was perfect for me.
At the same time, I felt terrible leaving Curt and Kathy. Curt had lost both of his parents in a matter of three months, and a week after I moved out, their beloved dog, Max, died. It was a difficult season for the Gibsons, and I felt as if I had abandoned them during their heightened time of need.
What kind of friend was I?!
I started to panic and wonder if I had made the right decision.
Jesus, I cried out, I need You. I need You, need You, need You. I need Your help, Your Peace. I am so scared; scared (that) I am doing the wrong thing, or that I am out of Your plan. But how could that possibly be? You will take care of me. I just don’t want to be wasteful…I do not want to make mistakes. I am…weak! I need work. I am settling in – I am so thankful, so grateful and blessed. Will it go away? I’m re-building my life. Starting over. Building again; beginning anew.
Almost immediately, I got a job. I found work in a tax office, for the season. I would work six days a week until April 18th. It was daunting at first, but I knew I needed the money to pay for my newfound bills and rent. I also needed the distraction.
I found myself praying a lot. This time, I prayed for other people other than myself. It felt good and necessary. My neighbor, Boo, unexpectedly lost her beautiful, sweet two-year daughter, Emileigh. Eme was born with a tendency towards seizures, but had been getting better. And then, like that, she was gone. The autopsy provided no explanation, and we were all left feeling robbed; empty.
I know how to put into words my feelings of pain and loss regarding my marriage. It is like a death, but I cannot imagine the unspeakable pain of losing a child. I attended the open-casket funeral and it was almost too much to bear. I gazed upon Eme’s tiny, lifeless frame, and wondered why God allows such things to happen. I think we all do. I wanted to scream and shout to the entire congregation that there was, indeed, hope amidst the sorrow; the unexplained shredding of one’s soul. Yet, I felt helpless. All I could do was pray.
Oh, Lord, little Emileigh is with You now. Such tragedy. God, I lift up Deana (grandmother) and Boo, Cathy (aunt) and Barbara (neighbor) – the whole family. Oh, that baby. And High (father). He loved his little girl so much. Oh, Lord, would they cling to You; You, the EVER-PRESENT HELP in time of trouble.
I don’t know much, but I do know this: God is good, all the time.
In the midst of everything, I started battling once again with my bigamist husband.
He wrote to me and told me that the retirement company had sent the wrong paperwork to the wrong address. He would be out of town, and would get to it as soon as he could. He added that I would get every penny of my share of the accounts.
I was over it. Sick of his shit.
Wrong paper to the wrong address, I thought. LYING PIECE OF SHIT MOTHERFUCKING LAZY ASS SON OF A SUGARMOMMA BITCH!!!!
I calmly emailed back.
I stand firm to my word. You have had ample time to get it together. I will file contempt of court, I typed, bitterly.
We exchanged emails back and forth, arguing about the time frame of the money that was due. Amongst my few menial requests in our do-it-yourself divorce, he had agreed to cash out his retirement funds, and send me a check by December. I trusted that he would follow through with the agreement.
I was wrong, once again, to trust my husband.
He asked for more time, and I refused. I wanted the money, yes, but more than that, I wanted the entire saga – ordeal – marriage – pain – everything that was associated with him – to be OVER.
I suddenly realized that I did, indeed, have a huge battle on my hands. I also realized that I had the upper hand. As much as I didn’t want to believe it, my husband was already married. He was a BIGAMIST. They make TV shows about people like him. For crying out loud, we used to watch them together.
I didn’t want to have to go back to court, but if so, I was ready to go in, guns blazing.
I needed evidence of his stupidity. My good college friend, Michelle, was a journalist who had worked as a reporter, anchor and professor. She was able to easily obtain my husband and sister wife’s marriage license from the state of Nevada, and mailed it to me.
I threw it in my husband’s face.
You’ve had enough time. I’m quite sure you can figure something out. I have in my possession a certain document from Nevada that will not help your “story” in court.
He obviously didn’t understand that I was talking about his new marriage. He suggested that perhaps he add me to the account and I could cash out when I was of retirement age.
Unfortunately, I angrily responded, you agreed to cashing out the retirement in the divorce settlement. So, unfortunately for you, you have to follow through with your agreement, which is a legal court document. Might I also remind you that you are not yet divorced from me, which makes you a bigamist and a felon, but, then again, you probably already knew that. I’m tired of this conversation. Send the check.
He said he would send it as soon as he had it. He trusted that I would find it in my heart to give him time.
February 3rd. I trust that you will get it done.
He told me he wouldn’t have it by February 3rd, and was asking for a break. He added that he wasn’t asking for any of my retirement, and then got upset that he had to beg me for understanding. The conversation was killing him.
Not buying it. Send the check. If I do not receive a check in the mail by February 3, I will file contempt of court. It is that simple.
He was tired of appealing to me, and, again, told me that I would have every bit of cash that was due me. He then reminded me that he took all the credit card debt (a majority of which I had accused him of accumulating with his lover). He reminded me that I had taken the car. (Yes, I had taken the car. It was mine. The paperwork was in my name, and mine alone. I financed it, I was paying for it, and I drove it.) He hadn’t asked for any of my retirement, and just wanted time to receive the checks. He even offered to drive up and meet me to give me the cash.
I was having none of it.
You’re in for more than contempt, remember? Bigamy is a felony.
He pleaded with me.
It’s all about choices. You had an opportunity to make good ones. Oopie. I’m not interested in excuses. See you in court.
He said he was telling the truth, had no excuses, and pleaded with me to do it right.
We have differing opinions of what is right.
The truth is that you have violated the law. Willingly, even after knowing you weren’t divorced on 12/22/10.
You can plead with the judge. I’m tired of your stories. SEE YOU IN COURT.
And then, he tried to appeal to me as someone who “used” to love him. He pleaded with to me as a fellow Christian.
I couldn’t BELIEVE that he was appealing to me “as a fellow Christian”. It was abhorrent. It made me sick. I wanted to scream and throw things and rip his eyes out all over again. He made me so angry. His lame attempts at trying to appeal to my emotions didn’t work anymore. He didn’t even respect me enough to capitalize my first name. How dare he try to appeal to my love for him?
No, I do not love him, I wrote, later that evening. He got that right. It hurts too much to love someone like that. All the while, I feel like I’m NOT being a Christian if I deal with him. At the same time, I AM NOT TAKING ANY MORE FROM HIM. His abuse is over. It’s not about the stupid money, which I know he has. I’ve already wasted energy being upset.
I need help forgiving him. It’s all still very real, raw and painful. I worked so hard to try to save the marriage because I thought it was right. He just doesn’t care. He doesn’t do anything with integrity or concern for others. Lord, I know it is not my place to judge him. Please help me release my anger. I give it to You. I pray he will come through with the funds from the retirement.
I’m still so hurt by him. The very thought of a life with him makes me so angry, like it was all a lie.
The war continued two days later. I shot the first cannon.
You skipped a court-ordered hearing on August 23, 2010, I wrote.
In the divorce settlement filed October 8, 2010, you agreed to cash out your retirement, and said that you’d have a check to me in December, 2010. It is now February, 2011.
On October 28, 2010, you received a check for… half of your share in the sale of (our house).
You got re-married in November of 2010, without actually having been legally divorced, which makes you in violation of California Penal Code section 281.
I do not believe your stories about not having any money, especially considering the very recent transaction of the sale of our home, and also considering the person to whom you are, at present, illegally married.
You have been given more than ample time and grace to follow through with your divorce agreement. Clearly, your (in)actions – as always – have spoken louder than your words.
He told me he had put his share of our house’s profit towards another.
See you in court.
He pleaded, once more. He offered that had no right to quote the Bible at me, but I knew, in my heart, that this whole thing was wrong. I should know that Christians aren’t supposed to take each other to court. He promised to pay me and he would. He needed more time. It had shattered his heart to have to beg me for more time. He would have extended me grace, if I were the one begging him for more time. He offered that he was trying to do good in the sight of the Lord, and would never turn a deaf ear to someone who was asking for more time. I should know these things.
I couldn’t take any more. I wanted him to be locked up. I wanted him to be put away, forever.
Little did I know that I’d be the one to end up in jail.