A Short Story, Part 2 – Read Part 1 Here
After I kicked out the three idiots, Shame, Fear and Approval for good, things started looking up again. I was still cleaning my house and fixing the broken things in the early days after they finally left. I spent time hanging pictures and dragging all the mementos out of the attic that I had forgotten. I was slowly redecorating my life.
Things were quiet, except for those unwanted knocks at the door once in awhile by those three. I was starting to look forward to the future, for the first time in a very long while. I still had a lot of deep sadness over the wreckage of the friendship I had, even though they were idiots, and I wondered what full healing would look like. I rested in the fact that at least there wasn’t additional damage being done every day.
A knock on the door disturbed my privacy.
One day during this vulnerable time, as I was relaxing at home, during a rare time when my mind was quiet, I heard a knock on the door. I rolled my eyes, because I figured I’d have to kick them out again. Shame, Fear, and Approval had just delivered cookies to me the week before, trying to get back in my good graces. They were pulling out all the stops to try to get me back. No one else ever really knocked on the door, so I assumed it was them.
However, when I looked out the peep hole I saw a very mean looking lady. I was prepared for a fight and to throw out Shame, Fear, and Approval again, so this caught me off guard. The lady had an official looking uniform on and a scowl on her face.
At least it wasn’t one of the three idiots, but I was confused. Who could she be? She looked official, and I’m a rule follower, so I decided to open the door. As soon as I opened it, I regretted the decision. She shoved a large brown envelope my way. She said, ‘You’ve been served,’ and then smirked.
In shock, I said, ‘What? What do you mean? Served for what? I don’t understand.’ I looked behind her and I saw Shame, Fear, and Approval lurking at the end of the sidewalk. Great, I thought. Why can’t they just leave me alone? Seriously, find someone else to pick on. It figured that they were behind this. What could they possibly want now? They caused so much damage in my life.
The lady said, ‘Well, these are official court papers. My three clients have decided to press charges against you for the damage you did to them when you threw them out of your home.’
Court? I was being unfairly charged.
This was the most unfair scenario I could ever even imagine. They had destroyed my life, and yet, here they were trying to hold me accountable for damage I had done to THEM? I knew they didn’t care about me, but I didn’t know how deep their vicious and vindictive natures were. I mean, I knew it, but I thought they would finally leave me alone if I kept the boundaries. I was hurting, and even though I had thrown them out, I still didn’t hate them. I wouldn’t purposely go after them to harm them. They would apparently do that to me though. I was so naive, and my naïveté hurt me once again. Why couldn’t they just move on? I needed peace, and I wanted peace, and I was working so hard for it.
I took the envelope, scoffed, and slammed the door in her face. I ripped it open to read it. My hands were shaking and I was afraid once again, and tears started running down my face. All my efforts to do the right thing had landed me in trouble. It was so wrong.
I opened it and it had court documents inside. The date was coming up very soon. It looked like they had waited until the last possible moment to serve me so that I wouldn’t have time to prepare. Typical approach from those three.
I had resolve to get through it. I knew I could overcome…again.
I trudged through the next few days. The tears flowed easily, and I went through the motions of living my life, trying not to let all this unnecessary drama affect me too much. I was hurting and alone, and I had no idea what would happen at the court date, or what kind of damages would be assessed.
In the back of my mind, I knew that Shame, Fear, and Approval would let the court case go if I just let them back in to my life. That relief would only last for a short time though, and then I knew they would torment me again if I gave them any room to re-enter. I did consider that option briefly because I did not want to deal with this court issue. I had already changed too much though, and I knew that the damage would be irreparable for me if I acquiesced and patched up our friendship.
But I also didn’t want to face a judge and consequences over actions that any reasonable person would have done in throwing them out. I felt stuck.
I made the decision to just keep walking through the situation. I had to face the court date and the damages that came my way. To be fair, I had hurt them physically when I threw them out. I wasn’t innocent in that. I was in a rage and I wasn’t thinking properly. I just didn’t know how else to kick them out, so I had done it violently. It just felt so wrong for them to be coming after me…again. I had done some damage, but why were the consequences still haunting me?
The court date finally arrived and I just wanted to get this over with.
I had spent extra time getting ready that day. I put on my best outfit and tried to look presentable. I wanted to be strong when I walked in the courtroom. My hands were shaking again that morning from anxiety and it was difficult to eat. I’d pay for the damage I had done and then I could finally move on. It had actually strengthened my resolve to be done with them for good, after they so rudely served me these papers, and I knew I had to just continue walking through the consequences, no matter how wrong I felt they were.
I walked in to the courthouse, and on the way in, I found the room where I was scheduled to be. I was early. I went in and sat, alone. Shame, Fear, and Approval were there with their representative, the mean lady in the uniform. I was alone. All alone. I felt the loneliness engulf me. They were laughing and smirking and I’m pretty sure they were even videoing me. I tried my best to ignore them, but I wanted to scream. The only thing that kept me quiet was a steady resolve to walk through this trial and be done with it.
An advocate? I didn’t ask for an advocate. I had this handled, alone.
It was just a few minutes before court started and I felt someone come sit beside me. I had my head in my hands, trying not to look at my opponents across from me, and the presence of a body next to me gave me a little fright. I looked up, and a lovely old woman with silvery hair sat down. She had a blue dress on, a matching handbag, and a set of classic pearls around her neck. She was quite old, but she had a lovely smile.
I must have looked at her quizzically because she instantly said, ‘Please don’t be scared. I’m here to help.’
I lacked so much trust in anyone or anything at this point, and I didn’t know what she wanted. Why would she be bothering me before such an important court hearing? She didn’t even know me.
She said, ‘I’m here to be your advocate.’
‘I didn’t ask for an advocate. I can do this alone,’ I said. I wasn’t about to trust anyone to speak on my behalf. I had been so hurt and betrayed by putting my trust in anyone else that I wasn’t about to start up an unpredictable situation now. No matter how serene she looked, I didn’t trust her.
Just then the judge walked in. He looked just as harsh as my opponents, and he commanded the room immediately, so this unwelcome advocate and I didn’t have a chance to talk anymore. He began the court proceedings, and did the official stuff that a judge does. I didn’t hear a word of what he said, because now I had a distraction sitting next to me.
I had rehearsed my plan 100 times before showing up to court. I had the words I wanted to say to the judge and I had steeled myself for battle. This peaceful looking woman was ruining my mindset. Now this whole thing felt very much out of my control. What else could possibly go wrong?
The judge waved at my opponents as soon as he finished his introduction and sat down. He also gave them a smirk and a knowing smile. He didn’t even try to hide it. It spoke of a long history with this motley crew, and I immediately picked up that he was on their side. They must me old friends, or cronies or something? This situation was getting worse by the moment. My hands were shaking again. I told myself to stay calm and follow through with my plan, which was to own responsibility, pay the consequences, and move on. This would ensure that I would finally be done and never see these three again. My mind and heart were racing. I was so angry.
Meanwhile the three idiots and their representative were laying out their case.
It sounded so ridiculous, as they were speaking it. They had every argument in the book, they were whining about the supposed harm I had done to them. The harm I had done to them? Were they crazy? They were playing the victim card and apparently the judge was buying it. He was nodding in sympathy and hanging on every word. It was so stupid. I just knew that the judge was going to go so hard on me.
Soon, after they stopped the whining, the judge looked right past me and at the lady sitting beside me. It was like he didn’t even see me. I tried to interrupt and speak up, but he silenced me. It was so rude! I hadn’t asked her to be here, and yet, she commanded the judge’s presence. I was again being ignored in all this. I sat there incredulous.
He looked at the woman beside me, and said, ‘Well, what do you and your client have to say in response to these terrible accusations from my three very close acquaintances? It seems your client is very out of control and some action needs to be taken to impress upon her the seriousness of her crimes.’
‘Your honor, my client would like to ask the court to forgive her for her wrongs in this issue. She is willing to pay any and all reparation, and she will.’
At this point, I kicked her under the table.
That was my plan to say all that, but I was going to speak it on my own. I didn’t need her help. ‘This woman has had a part in this incident for sure. She has had a long history with these three and she has been punished enough.’
After she finished speaking, she lightly touched my arm, acknowledging the kick I had given her, but she gave me a look that said, ‘this is going to be ok,’ and she smiled.
The judge looked at her, looked at the papers, and said, ‘There is no way I can let this go. She must pay for what she’s done.’ He shot a glance at Shame, Fear, and Approval as he spoke. But a funny thing happened. His face changed while this peaceful woman was talking on my behalf. He looked mesmerized by her presence, and he seemed to be tuning in. It was strange. It was like peace was starting to take over in him.
The woman then stood up at that point, and said, ‘I will vouch for her. If you choose to let this matter go, I will take care of her.’
The judge sighed, and said, ‘Oh ok, this is another one of yours then?’ I know sometimes you come just to sit quietly with people and let them do their own talking.
She said, ‘Yes. I have taken her on as my client and friend. I know I can handle her. Let me take care of it. You’ve seen me do it before. I know you don’t agree with my methods, but you have to admit they work. Your honor, this woman deserves to have a break.’
The judge looked at her, and then his watch, and then at the three idiots, and said, ‘Ok.’
My opponents looked stunned. I was stunned. It couldn’t be that easy, could it? I was prepared for a long battle and so much fighting. They started to talk back to the judge and then they let some words fly, and the judge immediately silenced them. ‘Ladies, I’m afraid you have no say in this matter. This advocate has been coming here for years. I don’t like her, and I don’t understand her, but she has earned a reputation in this court for reforming the most difficult cases. This is my final decision,’ he said. He slammed the gavel, and court was over. On the way out, the three idiots pushed past me, and gave me the most evil glares.
I was just numb. All of this had taken place without my consent, and I had no idea what I was in store for with this stranger. I really didn’t need any more entanglements, but this was all out of my control, clearly. At the same time, though, I was relieved. The court case was over?
The woman signaled to me for us to walk out of the courtroom together. Before I could even utter a word, she said, ‘Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mercy. I’m here to help, and although you probably did deserve to pay those damages, that’s all gone now. My goal is to allow people to have a fresh start, and be able to walk away. Knowing they deserved something far worse, but that they have been given a new opportunity to do things over. I won’t bother you. I won’t harass you. I am here, to be your friend and to remind you that this battle is over. You can walk away free and live easy now.’
I stared at her in shock.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I didn’t know whether to trust or be angry with her. She just grabbed my arm and said, ‘Now, let’s go over to my house for some pie. I want you to meet two of my other companions. I think you’ll like them. Don’t be afraid. Just come with me. ‘
Soon enough we arrived at her home. it was a lovely cottage on a lovely street. There were flowers in the front yard, and it looked like she had a cat sunning itself in the window. It was a picture of peace. I was getting a little more comfortable with the idea of pie, but I still had my reservations. Who was this Mercy woman? What friends could she possibly have that I needed to meet?
She opened the door, and as soon as she did, she said, ‘Welcome to my home. Please meet my two best friends, Grace and Hope.’