Monday, August 10, 2009
Thank You For Calling
While hubby and son were at The Angel's game tonight, one of my sons friends came over to keep me company. We were just deciding on which movie to watch when three strangers showed up at my door; it was a woman with two teenagers who were taking an evening walk and noticed our door open. So, as she approached I asked; "May I help you?". The woman then informed me that a man who lives across the street from me was beating his wife.
The lady who came to my door didn't have a cell phone and wanted to inform someone what was happening so that the police could be called (I guess our door was the only one open).
My sons friend and and I asked them to show us which house it was--although, as soon as we stepped outside it was evident which house; while there was nothing to be seen on the outside, you could certainly hear all that was going on inside.
So, I grabbed my phone and ran down the hill in front of said house, where the *commotion was taking place, to get the address.
*Euphemism for beating the shit out of your wife.
As I went to dial 911, I quickly discovered that my phone didn't work as I had inadvertently, without thinking, grabbed my cordless house phone instead of my cell and was unable to make a call (I was too far from the phone base). Luckily there were a few other neighbors who had gathered across the street and handed me their phone to use, saying that they, too, were drawn outside by the fighting that was taking place (but didn't call).
I called 911 and reached an operator who asked; "What is your emergency?". I explained what I was listening to at that moment: "Yes ma'am, I live at such and such address and my name is....." I continued; "There is a man who is hitting his wife inside of their house--you can hear him SCREAMING at her as well as the fear and pleading in her voice."
I proceeded to give them their address and I was told they're sending someone out.
My sons friend and I waited. And waited.
During this time the yelling is becoming more intense and he is calling her names. Then it would stop and start again, with each new round becoming more volatile than the one before it.
I know these people have kids because I've seen them numerous times in the 14 months that we've lived here--I have also heard yelling before from there but not like this.
I was fearful for this woman. This scared me and this was all too familiar and brought back memories from over 20 years ago (before I met my husband)....
Still waiting for the police.
Fifty minutes later they finally show up. FIFTY minutes!!!! Of course, by this time--wouldn't you just know it?--the fighting has ceased. Which I hoped was a good thing in the sense that the husband had simmered down and not that it was quiet because the wife was potentially hurt--or worse.
As the police drove down the street looking for the address, my sons friend and I flagged them down and pointed to the house in question. One of the officers got out of his car and approached us asking what the trouble is.
It took everything I had inside of me not to say; "Well, nothing now."
However, I composed myself and described to him the evenings events, what led me to conclude what had been happening and why I phoned them.
By now, the other neighbors, of course, had settled back into their homes.
Not me. I wasn't going to rest, I wasn't going to go inside and I had lost interest in the movie we picked out.
I was staying put until I knew the wife was going to be safe.
I even told my sons friend--prior to the police's arrival--that if this keeps up, I'm going to knock on the door if for no other reason than to let him know that others are aware of what's going on and that hurting her would not be a wise choice for him.
The police advised us to go back up to my house--so, we did. We sat on the front lawn as I anxiously awaited for justice to be served.
One--maybe two--minutes later I heard the officer, that spoke to me, telling the man to "have a good night".
Hmmm. That's a strange thing to tell someone as you're arresting them; when did the Miranda Rights change? I wondered.
The officers came back out to their car--with no one else with them. No handcuffed culprit.
They pulled up to my house (Yep. we're still there on the lawn), rolled down the window and said; "There's no problem there, ma'am. Both the husband and the wife said that everything was fine."
The look on my face must've read; "And you believed them???" Because he then went on to say that there is simply nothing to report if both people say there's nothing the matter.
I repeated what I had heard earlier and he, in retort, repeated himself. "Nothing to report"--still must have had that same look on my face--"but thank you for calling".
And with that he drove away.
"Thank you for calling."
"Nothing to report"
"Both husband and wife said nothing is wrong".
Well, that's original.
Sorry. Facetiousness got the best of me there.
No. That's not original. What that is is textbook; the wife is fearful of repercussions so she says that everything is fine.
THIS is why people don't get involved.
I cared about this woman's safety.
Cared or care?
Truthfully, I don't know. I would hate to think of this happening again--although, I'm sure it will, perhaps just a bit quieter--and I would like to think that I would do the same thing all over again...
I could sit here and lecture and muse the redundant phrases we've heard over and over; "She feels trapped", "She has no where to go", "She's staying for the kids".
And she'll continue to stay.
And he'll continue to hit.
And I'll continue to hear "Thank you for calling".