How do you process the start of a journey that is going to decide your other half’s fate and ultimately yours? If you’re me, you apparently eat way too much ice cream, do not sleep nearly enough to function, and you cry a little, but not too much. That is how I am currently processing the aftermath of attending my first ever evidentiary hearing. I`m not going to lie: the hearing was terrifying for me (having no experience with this type of situation), anxiety inducing, but an event that I am glad I was there for because I want to support my husband as we weave our way through some back road that cannot be turned around on, so you have to just keep moving forward even though it sucks and you are so lost and you have no idea what is going to happen next. Buckle up and brace yourself for what is around the bend.
*click click click* The camera man is taking photos, thankfully not of me or the immediate family sitting in the courtroom with me, but he is taking photographs of the expert that is testifying. Photograph after photograph after photograph. He is taking photographs of the judge and the lawyers. He is taking photographs of Jeremy. My Jeremy. My stomach knots up the way it did before I got out of the car that morning. It knots up and my hands and pits are sweaty and I can hear my heartbeat in my ears and I`m trying to hear what all is being said, but my heart is drumming in my ears and I keep hearing the *click click* of that fucking camera in front and to the right of me and I want to get up and slap the whole thing out of that man’s hands. I envision myself doing just that, getting up and just slapping that stupid camera out of his hands and onto the floor just so he will stop taking pictures of Jeremy.
I look over at my husband, this man that I had only ever been with behind prison walls. This is our first time seeing each other, in the flesh, outside of a prison visiting room even though we have been married nearly 9 years and have a friendship that spans almost two decades. I look over at him and he is so focused, handsome, scruffy with his glasses on and just looking forward and taking notes, aware that the photographer is clicker happy. I keep looking at my husband and he happens to look over and we exchange a smirk off camera, a knowing smirk, an understanding one, some secret declaration of “It’s okay. I`m here and you are here and we are here and I love you”. If all that can be said in a smirk, we said it and I was glad for that exchange in my moment of sweaty armpits and desire to slap the camera onto the floor. I wanted to have a full on Braveheart moment and just slap the camera down and yell “FRRREEEEDOOOMMM!!!!!”. Not the appropriate time for that I guess.
While the clicker happy camera man is taking photo after photo, some “junior reporter person” is shadowing him, and by shadowing him, I mean she is recording footage of the testimony on her phone and moving the phone around like she is at some concert for a band she likes and she is trying to capture all the action. So, clicky McClickerson and mobile device concert capturer are hard at work for the Las Vegas Review Journal. There was also a reporter taking notes, who ended up writing an article which is half “facts” all fucked up, half “that is not even true, did you just make that up?” I am aware of note taker, camera person, professional phone recorder person, the judge, the lawyers, the prosecution, bailiffs, court workers .My eyes do laps around the courtroom, examining expressions while scientific terms flood my ears, just barely audible over my heart that will not calm. Back to Jeremy, back to sweating, back to looking around. This goes on for nearly two hours and I exhaust myself.
After all is said and done, we walk out with no answers because this isn`t a decision that can be made lightly. There is too much to examine, to weigh, to consider. The decision will mostly likely take the judge the entire 60 days to reach and I`ll be holding my breath until then, playing out scenarios about what happens next, what the judge will say, what appeals will be filed after to challenge the “winning” side, how long this will go on for, if my husband will ever have a chance at getting out of prison. This process will most likely continue for longer than I`d like because the system does not go swiftly and it does not go off without a hitch. I spend a lot of my time in a precarious space when it comes to thinking about what is going to happen next. What I do know for certain is that I will be at every court hearing and take every low-key smirk from my husband that I can get. I also know that I will face my anxiety to support the person I love the most in this world and that I believe in second chances.