He stood in the middle of the front yard yelling at God. That in itself is not so crazy, but then he started to have a conversation with God. He was fighting back at God, answering back as if he heard what God was saying. As I sat on the front step, I started to seriously wonder if there really was something wrong with him. That night it was my job to talk him down. That night he directed his anger at me.
When I had arrived, he was already angry with me. Before I had a chance to get in the door, he grabbed his keys and threw them at me. The keys hit me in the chest and he told me to get in his truck. Instinctively, I bent down to pick the keys up from the front step as he informed me that I would be driving him to get more beer; he had been drinking and didn’t want to drive himself. Silently obeying him, I followed him to the truck and got in. Before I even had the chance to start the vehicle he grabbed my hand to stop me turning the key. Clutching my hand tightly, he screamed at me about a perceived offence. I apologized for my minor role in what had upset him – even though I had done nothing wrong. He put his face as close as he could to mine as he snarled at me, the sarcasm dripping, “Oh, you’re sorry? You think that makes it alright?!” I apologized repeatedly; I begged him to calm down and told him I knew I was wrong. After what felt like several minutes of berating me, he calmed enough to allow me to drive us to the store. Once there, he commanded me to stay in the vehicle to wait for him.
We arrived back at the house, but David did not want to get out of the truck yet. He was no longer screaming, but he was still upset. We sat in the driveway for several minutes talking; he was not ready to be inside around other people. That’s when the police showed up.
The officer gestured for me to roll down the window. He asked us where we had been and what route we had taken. Then he asked us to get out of the car. Supposedly there had been a hit and run involving a vehicle just like the one we were in. David asked the officer if he knew how many black pickup trucks were in this neighbourhood, let alone Clarksville, TN.
The officer saw the beer on the floorboards and asked if we’d been drinking. David was upfront and said “Yes sir, I have been drinking – but she has not, and she was driving the vehicle.” David knew how to switch on his behaviour, even when he was drunk. He knew how to be respectful and hide his inebriation, and he displayed this talent for the police officer. I don’t think he was ever too drunk to control his behaviour if he wanted to.
The officer alluded to the possibility that we had just switched seats, to keep David from getting in trouble. Personally, I found this ridiculous. If we had been trying to hide a crime, we would have put the truck in the garage and ran into the house instead of hanging out in the driveway.
I think that possibly he could tell I was on edge and perhaps under duress, so he took me aside while another officer spoke to David and the others that had come out of the house by this point. He said “Look, I can see the officer decal on the truck. I know it’s not yours. I know it’s his truck. You could get in a lot of trouble for lying for your boyfriend…”
“He’s not my boyfriend. He’s just a friend,” I said as I stared at the ground.
He didn’t look as though he believed me, but said “Okay.” Then he continued on saying, as he glanced in David’s direction, “If you need to come down to the station to speak freely, we can arrange that. You don’t have to talk about it with him around. We can protect you.”
I scoffed at that. Yeah, right.
The officer told me that the witnesses heard a man and woman arguing in the vehicle in question. David’s window had been down when the officer arrived and apparently he had heard the tone of how David was talking to me. He asked me one more time if I had anything I needed to report to him. I ignored what I knew he was insinuating.
“Seriously, Officer, I was driving. We didn’t see anyone walking on the road, let alone hit them. I am sure I would have realized if I had hit someone.”
The police started to inspect the vehicle; they were looking for any sign that it may have been involved in the incident. They pointed to some areas where the finish was smudged – handprints mostly. It seemed to me they were clutching at straws, and I made a mildly sarcastic comment about if David had only kept his car clean we wouldn’t be in this situation. He glared at me and then responded through his clenched teeth fake smile. He was obviously pissed at me and trying not to react in front of the police.
By this point David had called his NCO to come help him out. Even though David himself was an officer, he apparently called the NCO because he didn’t want his chain of command to know what was going on. I wonder if this was the same NCO that had tried to call my husband to smooth things over as well.
Eventually, they brought the girl that had been hit – lucky for her she only had minor injuries – and her friend that had been with her. They looked us over from the police cruiser and then told the police officers that it wasn’t us that had hit her. That was a relief, but I had been more relieved that David had been yanked out of his aggressive behaviour for the time being.