Your big brother called; first time I’ve heard a peep from him since you and I divorced twelve years ago. Having been forewarned of your sister’s request for my phone number, I thought I was prepared for the context, but I must confess, you and your family never cease to baffle me!
He wasn’t calling to wish his nephew a Happy Twentieth Birthday, or to ask if our son may need anything (not that anyone in your family ever has); no, he was calling because you are in jail, held due to an outstanding arrest warrant for non-payment of child support, and your family, undoubtedly expects me to wave a wand and make this responsibility go away.
He gave me notice of the scheduled family court hearing this week, and relayed what I needed to do to assist in your release from jail, pointing out that I failed to have the child support order dropped when our son turned eighteen, as I should have. He also, eloquently and seductively, happened to mention your limited ability to make any contributions to your child support obligation, given your current meager disability income.
It is no wonder you never gained a footing in life!
Insulted by the lack of consideration for my struggles in raising our son, often without your financial support, I made sure to broaden your brother’s grasp of the entirety of our present dilemma, and despite assuring him I would do whatever needed to clear the matter with the courts, I had no intention of showing up this week to utter one word to assist you.
You see, I have spent my fair share of days sitting in that courthouse, along with all the other slighted custodial parents, waiting for my turn to request a judge’s strong armed assistance in chasing you down for a dollar, taking unpaid leave from a job that barely made ends meet, which further strained my finances while you weren’t paying your child support payments. The last hearing I attended was two years ago, shortly after our son turned 18, and graduated high school mid school year. The court couldn’t locate you to serve you with notice of that hearing, but I made sure you knew about it; I made sure our son informed you of it.
At that time, you hadn’t made any child support payments for months, again; the bull shit excuse you gave to our son was you were filing for disability, awaiting approval and would have child support payments deducted from your monthly checks once they started. At that time, I was prepared to drop the child support order as of the date of our son’s completing high school and only pursue the thousands you owe me in back support, as I still am today and I made my stance clear to the judge, but you weren’t there to defend yourself, were you? Hell, I even found myself defending your deafness during that appearance. Unfortunately for you, the judge spared no leniency or sympathy and with the tap of his gavel, he signed a bench warrant for your arrest.
Since that particular hearing, your disability has been approved and you have been reaping payments for months, now years, and you have yet to make arrangements to pay one red cent towards what you owe me. My attempts to notify the court of your whereabouts and the status of your disability case have been wasted efforts, lost in a system of inadequacies and incompetence. It has taken Williamsburg County years to finally track you down, but now they have you under lock and key and your family is jumping through flaming hoops, nicely twisting my arm, to get you out.
I’m certain you and your family expended great efforts to secure your disability income, and right now those benefits are threatened by your current status. Even I am aware that criminals are disqualified from receiving those benefits. A very sad reality, however, is that none of you consider your behavior as criminal. Although I had resigned not to attend this hearing, I found some satisfaction, knowing some justice might finally be served.
My satisfaction was short lived. Upon arriving home to a Notice of Hearing in the mail, it now appears I don’t have a choice but to attend. My life is full of good, prosperity and love, and the last thing I want to do is taint it with another moment of your toxic existence but the powers that be have deemed it necessary.
So, alas, I am preparing myself for this final appearance, on behalf of the once struggling single mom raising children without the financial assistance of dead beat dad. I will arrive on time, and sit and wait our turn, among the countless forsaken parents, and most likely have to encounter your mother, or your brother, or your sister, or them all. They will try devilishly to manipulate me into freeing you of this awful burden, while chanting their ‘Poor, Poor You’ mantra which continues to cripple you. The court will call our case to attention, and the officers will escort you up front, shackled and handcuffed in your jailhouse attire, and you will look helpless and beat down. We will go before a judge, and you won’t be able to hear a word said, and your mother, or your brother or your sister will frantically try to defend you as they dictate for you, and I will stand there and watch the pitiful show…..with no mercy whatsoever, because I know the truth of our circumstance.
I do not feel sorry for you. I do not pity your loss of hearing………your disability. Even if you could hear, you wouldn’t listen. You are a selfish man, and nothing you do is without much thought and contemplation of serving a point. Your point during the ten years you were ordered to pay child support, while you accrued thousands in arrearages?
Oh, I am all too sure it was, ‘Fuck you Carlette’!
‘Fuck you Carlette’ was most likely a warm, cozy blanket you wrapped yourself in every time you smoked hundreds of dollars in crack or drank your gallons of Jack Daniels, wasting the hefty income you raked in while working the road.
Have you ever given thought to what our son may have gone without while you were taking your six month vacations off to ‘kick rocks’?
No, of course you didn’t, because you knew me well enough to know I would provide for him, with or without your help. And you were right, I did. But just because I was successful in doing so doesn’t mean you are not accountable for what you should have been contributing all those years. You are allowed to make the point of ‘Fuck you Carlette’, but you are not allowed to say ‘Fuck you’ to our son.
So that’s who I’ll show up for tomorrow, our son. Not to redeem myself, or to punish you, but to stand up for our son, who deserved everything you could have provided him, but refused to.