19 September 2006

Call me if you need to bail someone out of jail

Tonight I sat poised in front of the television, eyes glued to the Dog the Bounty Hunter special about his recent arrest.

I watched as poor Beth lived through a roller coaster of emotion trying to glean any information, any assistance while her husband was in custody. At least Beth knows the system, she knows how it all works.

I sat there and a storm of emotion ran through me. I felt Beth's pain, her fear, her terror - it was palpable -I felt it in my chest, my heart. I know Beth's terror. I know how she felt. Because I lived through the same thing with MM.

MM and I had not spoken much before his arrest. I had made a brief appearance at his apartment to drop of Girlie Gyrl's birthday present. Short, sweet, I was outta there. That was Friday. I did not hear from him all weekend.

That Monday, I broke down and called him. The phone went directly into voicemail. That was odd. Very odd. Did not hear anything. I knew we were done. I had a little talk with myself on Tuesday morning, I was done with him. Then Tuesday morning, the phone rang. The caller ID read "CTY & CNTY BOULDER." I looked oddly at the phone wondering who it could be and pushed the talk button. In those few brief moments, I remember thinking "Why is Boulder County calling me?" Then the recorded voice came on stating that THIS WAS A COLLECT CALL FROM AN INMATE AT BOULDER COUNTY JAIL - insert voice stating "MM" - DO I ACCEPT THE CHARGES?

My heart stopped when I heard INMATE. JAIL. MM. I was a wreck. A million things running through my mind. I accepted the collect charges. There was MM's voice. I was still in shock. Trying to understand the concept of MM in prison. He explained what transpired. He had been in jail since Saturday night. He requested my phone number and just got it. The holiday had left him in there a day longer. Would I please pick him up from his court appointment at 2 PM today?

What do you say? To someone you love whole heartily, completely. Emotion flooding. Time stops. Fear. Terror. Those words can never convey the profound feeling. The fear laced his voice even though he was trying his hardest to hide it. My heart stopped from the minute I heard "inmate" and did not beat again until he had the ok to travel several days later. But when he asked me for help, all I could say is yes.

I had never experienced jail before. Sure there is the view that television gives you. But that is nothing. I went into survival mode much like Beth Chapman. I had to make calls I did not want to make. I had to work and rely on myself to get through uncharted territory.

I went to the jail. I did not know the protocol. There I am at the jail in my $200 jeans among the people society chooses to overlook. How do I handle it all? With style and finesse. I walk up to the receptionist and tell her I am there to pick someone up. She kinda of looks at me - I tell her "never done this before. new girl here" with a little giggle. She could tell I was a newbie the moment I walked in the door but I told her any way. It broke the ice, made me human to her. She told me he was in court and that I could sit through the proceedings if I locked all my worldly possessions in the lockers out front. Behind me I heard a male voice stating that he was the ex-wife's brother there to make a statement. My heart stopped. I hung low for a bit because I did not want the ex's brother to know of my existence or identity.

I went to place my purse and keys in the locker. A woman takes pity on me because I have selected the one locker that is broken. She knows I am a first timer. She knows I am afraid. She guides me through the process. A process she knows all too well because she is visiting an inmate. But she took me under her wing, a gentle hand to guide me through the process.

I waited until he went into the court room and then I went in about five minutes later. Law and Order? The television lies. There was bullet proof glass, tons of men and a handful of women in red jumpsuits. I quickly scanned where to sit in the three rows of church like pews. I see people in the far corner - the only caucasians - I will sit with them. Then before I can move, I hear "That's the girlfriend" coming from that same corner - those caucasians are the ex-wife, her mother and brother. My heart stops. I immediately sit up front with the non-English speaking Mexicans... in my $200 jeans. I crazily scan the red jump suits to find MM. There he is. This all feels so surreal. I cannot believe it is my life. He looks terrified. I am terrified. We make eye contact and I try my hardest to smile for him - to let him know I am there for him - he is not alone.

I look at the people who surround him. MM looks like a fish out of water. Surreal. Am I really experiencing this?

MM's name is called. He stands. My heart is still dead. I cannot believe what I am hearing. The ex-wife makes a statement and lies about him. My heart further sinks. But I put my heart out to him. I cannot believe what I am watching.

I continue to stay after he is done with the judge. None of the inmates can leave. They have to sit there and listen to everyone get arraigned. I stay there on the other side of the bullet proof glass - MM too is behind another layer of bullet proof glass - But I stay so that he is not alone. No matter how terrified I am, I stay. I do not want him to feel that he is alone - he is not alone in this nightmare.

As the afternoon wears on, the peanut gallery slowly clears but I remain steadfast in my silent pledge to stay with MM. Then the light goes on after overhearing the conversation of three women behind me that MM cannot put bail on his credit card and we are on our merry way. So I ask the officer for a little "bail for dummies 101."

I speed off to Longmont to get cash. I come back to find out there are hidden fees. I get in the queue to bail him out.

Finally the female officer calls his name. I go to meet her. I hand her the cash that I nervously pulled from the bank. While I am finalizing his paper work, man asks if I am there for MM. I say yes. He asks my name, so he can tell MM's father that he is bailed out. I am in a fog. I do not ask any questions but continue going through the paperwork to get MM out.

After the paper work is signed and the cash is in the law's hand, I sit and wait for MM. A long time passes, finally I see him walking toward the door.

A small sense of relief comes over me as we hug.

First we head to his apartment. He called his father. I overhear the father's loud voice telling MM over and over that he had better treat me good because not many women would have left him there.

MM confides in me that he is afraid and does not want to be alone. Of course, he can stay with me. I do my best to comfort him. We are both in shock. He tells me that he could see the terror in my eyes through the layers of bullet proof glass as I sat across from him - so close but yet so far through all those layers. His hands in handcuffs.

We find a lawyer. Make the appointment. Go to the appointment. Provide a loan. Get the truck out of impound. Get an ID. Lose a license. Find the bank account is dry. File motions.

It was a busy couple of days. Filled with Tension. Fear. Terror.

He told me that I was all he could think about in jail. I was the first and only phone number he asked for.

Watching The Dog the Bounty Hunter special brought all that back to the forefront tonight. We had bonded over that life altering experience. It was a defining moment in my character. Even though he had been heartless a few weeks before, I still could not leave him there in jail. My compassion over took me. My love for him ran deep.

MM and I made through that terrible time together. I thought we could make it through anything after that. ANYTHING. Guess I was wrong.

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