During August and September of 2016, Demi and I came into physical conflict several times. Don’t get me wrong: I never raised a hand to her. I am a muscular 220-230 lbs., and she is lucky to weight in over 120 lbs. on her most bloated day. However, she knows I won’t hit her, so she feels free to get physical. She has fist-punched me in the face several times, but with no really serious results.
During the summer, I discovered that she had a second telephone that she was using to communicate with J*** O***. I found it hiding on a closet shelf, and snatched it. I was reading the messages on it when she saw that it was in my possession. She flew at me, jumped on my shoulders from behind and attempted to take the phone from me. I “set her down” on the stone floor of our entryway. It wasn’t a throw-down, mind you, but she did acquire some bruises from it. It’s a travertine floor. It’s hard. She later threatened to call the police about it, and I dared her. She took pictures of the bruises—mostly on her arms from my grasp, and on her legs from her landing—but she never did anything about it. Nonetheless, she keeps them on her phone and every now and then waves them at me condescendingly.
On September 2, 2016, the Friday of Labor Day Weekend, at 2:30 in the afternoon, I received a text from my wife: “I’ll meet you at the restaurant tonight.”
We had arranged to meet three other couples for dinner that evening, and I instantly knew what Demi’s message meant—that she had other activities planned between the time she was to leave work and arrive at the restaurant at 7:00 pm.
As expected, she was late. She arrived hammered. Demi stumbled in at 7:15, sat at the opposite end of the table from me for the entire evening, and continued drinking. By the time we finished dinner and were all ready to depart, one of the group members, D*** pulled out a small keychain breathalyzer and passed it around for fun. No one laughed when Demi blew a .16. In fact, by the time we’d gotten down to the sidewalk, some members of the group had expressed dismay that she intended to drive herself home. One of our friends, K***, entered her car and removed her keys from the ignition. That sent Demi over the edge. I was standing a short distance away. She became very loud and combative. She came at me and slapped me firmly across the face, causing our friends to gasp. I’m still not sure what provoked her to assault me, since I was a mere observer and had spoken to her very little that entire evening.
Demi then ran off into the downtown Portland area, and our friends fanned out to find her. One couple did manage to find her in a doorway, and spoke with her briefly. She was drunk. She had also managed to find a second set of keys in her purse, and so she ran back to her car, started it, and roared off into the night. I placed a 911 call, concerned for her safety and the safety of others on the road, but the police officer informed me that they would not “hunt” her.
I didn’t see her again until the next morning around 9:30 or 10:00, when she called me wanting to have breakfast. I met her with the boys. She acted as though nothing had happened; as though nothing were wrong. She spent Saturday on the couch, hung over and passing kidney stones. I knew she was in pain, and I pitied her.
By Sunday, September 4, she was back in working order: she was gone “walking” for most of the day and returned in an inebriated state towards evening. She made herself another drink—a triple Ketel-and-soda. When the boys went to bed, we began arguing about her behavior Friday night, and her likely whereabouts most of the day on Sunday. I was drinking red wine, and the alcohol didn’t help with controlling my emotions. By eleven, we had gotten quite nasty with each other. I said something truly vile and went off to bed. A few minutes later, she entered the bedroom and slapped her hand down over my ear so hard it made my eardrum ring. That pissed me off, and I picked up the phone and dialed 911.
Three sheriff’s deputies arrived within minutes. I was taken outside while they interviewed her in the house. Shortly thereafter, they brought her out and took her away. She spent the next two days and nights in the county jail. I was heartbroken—I expected the police to help us cool down. But instead, she was carted off and charged with Domestic Violence IV, a serious misdemeanor in Washington.
I had second thoughts about that night. I began to feel the charge was unfair. It was an argument that just got out of hand. Wasn’t it? It should have been kept personal. I questioned myself deeply: had I simply overreacted? This was the mother of my two sons. I love her. She didn’t deserve it. Did she?
I worked very hard lobbying the prosecutor both in writing and in person over the next few months to try to get her to drop the charges. I wrote an impassioned plea, expressing my desire to have her back as my wife and mother of my children. The decision wouldn’t come until December 17, when Demi and I were sitting with our boys at a restaurant in sunny Puerto Vallarta. By then, she had hired a local defense attorney, and had paid him $5,000 to arrange for a lie detector test (!), preventative drug testing and certain, “psychological evaluations” to use in her defense. (Once when she was drunk, she spilled that her psych evaluations would make me look like the abuser. They would indeed, I thought, if being adept at catching a liar was any measure. I wished her luck with that strategy.)
In any case, we both hoped for a good outcome, but separately, and for separate reasons. I excused myself to go to the restroom. By chance, while I was up, the prosecutor’s assistant called me and informed me that her office was dropping the charges, and that they would be signed by a judge on Monday. I instantly knew my hard work had paid off. I returned to the table and didn’t tell my wife.
With an hour, she received a call from her defense attorney telling her of the news. After hanging up, she became incredibly cocky about the whole affair, telling me how proud she was of the job her attorney had done. I kept my mouth shut, and let her have her pyrrhic victory. There was no victory here. What I didn’t know yet was that that afternoon would bring still another untoward event into our marriage.