Monday, April 30, 2012

Love is a Battlefield

I was pretty holed up inside my own head as I cruised along Cantrell to retrieve my son from school. The day had been intense—over two hours in a high-rise conference room coaxing old memories out of their comfortable shadows. I've never been deposed before, never been asked to transform dusty memories into legal testimony in an ugly custody case. If you've never been commanded to do it, count yourself lucky; it's miserable work.

"Do you recall, in 2004, when So-and-so did such-and-such?"

Ma'am, I don't recall what color underwear I put on this morning.

I did my very best to answer the questions, one more intimate than the last, as honestly as possible, the weight of the task bearing down on me relentlessly. I didn't fully appreciate the enormity of it all going in, the pressure of having actual lives depend on my fading memory, but it became painfully clear. Hours later, I still can't shake the throb between my eyes.  Like I need help deepening that groove, thank you very much. It's not fair, really, to put such a burden on a person, to ask someone to shoulder the weight of your mistakes, forcing them to hold the dust pan as shards of your broken past are swept out of the darkest corners.

The lawyers dredged up every lurid detail they could think of—sex, money, the most personal of personal habits. 

"Were you aware that So-and-so did this-and-that?"

A shiver went down my spine as scenes of my own sordid past bubbled up in my memory. What if the spotlight was shining down on it? How would I be reflected in the mistakes of my youth? How would you?

It seemed they wouldn't stop until they asked every question they could think of.

Except one.

"What do you think is best for the children?"

As I allowed my car to roll along on autopilot, I slowly became conscious of a familiar voice on the radio: Pat Benatar, belting out an anthem from my youth. I haven't heard the song in years, but the events of the day gave it new meaning:

You're begging me to go
Then making me stay
Why do you hurt me so bad
It would help me to know
Do I stand in your way
Or am I the best thing you've had

Believe me

Believe me
I can't tell you why
But I'm trapped by your love
And I'm chained to your side

Love is a battlefield

Yes, yes it is.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How terribly, horribly heartbreaking, and yet so true to life. The courts can never do what parents fail to do...protect the most valuable of all treasures.