It ended on a Wednesday. It wasn’t supposed to.
It was supposed to be a morning to sleep in. He had the day off, and I had the whole morning off. He was going to go to his Lodge meeting, and I would pick him up after work.
Instead, the police showed up, banging and slamming and bursting through our pink front door, and our lives changed forever. They were shouting at us. They had a warrant. I got dressed and followed an officer out of the bedroom and down the stairs, where I sat on the sofa, unable to move. I gave him a look, sitting on the other end of the couch, and thought that he looked just as scared and confused as I was feeling. A state trooper stood in the area between the living room and dining room, trying to look both nonthreatening and casually intimidating. I was scared and nervous and felt the anxiety starting to build and coil in my stomach. I made eye contact with him once more and silently asked Why are they here?
They separated us for questioning, leading him to the seclusion of the basement. I watched him walk through the kitchen to the basement doorway, sandwiched between two detectives. They went through things, pulled things out, moved things around. They took pictures of things. I was sitting stiffly in normal seat on the couch, but I was largely ignored. I was asked simple questions about various items they’d find, but nothing that they didn’t seem to already know an answer to. Why aren’t they asking me more questions?
I didn’t know what time it was, and I was told not to touch my phone when I checked. 6:23 AM. I needed to pee – can I please use the bathroom, sir? – but there weren’t any officers available to watch me and watch the front door at the same time. The minutes strung together and I realized that he was still in the basement. The fear started to building in earnest this time.
“So you have no idea what this is all about?” asked the trooper after a while.
“No,” I managed to squeak out. “Not at all.”
“That must be a weird feeling for you.”
More time passed, and the activity in the house seemed to be slowing down. The state trooper was finally able to get someone else to stand watch in the front room, and I was allowed into the bathroom, after it was thoroughly searched. He still wasn’t back from the basement.
I finished my business in the bathroom as quickly as possible, which was an easy task because the increasing anxiety seemed to have quelled any urges I’d had to relieve myself. I was led back into the living room, and a couple of minutes later, he was brought back upstairs. He looked scared, and nervous, and as much as I looked into the kitchen to catch his eye, he seemed be doing everything possible to focus on anything other than me. I was asked to sit at the dining room table, but was still mostly ignored by everyone, lover and law enforcement alike. After a few minutes of standing awkwardly in the kitchen with the trooper, he was brought out to the dining room.
We sat in the same seats we had eaten dinner in for the last four years. I looked at him, mentally willing him to look at me and give me some small indication that things were ok. He was staring at the table top, at his hands, at everything else but me. He glanced up only once, and I saw a fleeting mix of emotions cross his face. Fear. Embarrassment, when he made eye contact for a brief second, then back to fear again, then finally resignation when he looked away again.
No longer joking with each other, I started picking up bits of conversation from the different groups of detectives.
“Should we… clothes… no?”
“… Won’t he be cold?”
“Not those… simpler the better…
“… slip-ons …”
He was brought back into the kitchen and was briefly out of my view. Someone came downstairs with the jeans that I love him in and the battered Nike hoody that I love to burrow into when it’s fresh out of the dryer. Someone else brought in a pair of sneakers with their heels folded down. He moved back into view, and they handed him a sheet of paper. He was directed to hold it up beside his head while they photographed him. He looked like a man who had been told he had a year to live, wasted his time, and suddenly felt his world closing in around him. He looked broken. They cuffed him so quickly that I barely had time to even register that it had even happened before they led him out of the house.
It wasn’t supposed to end on Wednesday.
It wasn’t supposed to end at all