I was taken back to the station. Officer Barney* and Officer Crouch* (*obviously pseudonyms) spoke to me very little on the way to the station, but the questions they did ask were sympathetic. They wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing – as a minor (technically), I was a runaway. It didn’t matter that I was several weeks shy of 18, I was a minor. They made sure I understood that there was a very good chance I would be sent home with my parents anyway. I understood. I had just come too far to turn back now.
We got to the station and they led me into a room. I’d only been in there a few minutes when Officer Barney came in with the attorney the Kline’s had found for me. Attorney Dana* said she’d called protective services and pulled some strings but that, unless I could prove the engagement and that it was against my will, I would likely have to go home to my parents. I’d have to emancipate myself if I couldn’t prove their was abuse and that process was likely to take longer than my turning 18. Proving the engagement was pretty easy. I had a ring. When I got to the Kline’s, I’d taken it off my finger and tossed it into my bag. Since my possessions were taken from me when we entered the station, the ring was retrieved and catalogued as “evidence”. Then there was my journal. The journal I kept could be used as evidence. The problem was that I had left it behind. The only way to get it would be through my parents and you can imagine how asking for it might not work out. We decided to call my brother and see if he could get to our house and get it under the auspices of getting me some “modest clothing”. It worked. We got my journal.
Skipping ahead a few hours, when my brother arrived at the station with the journal, my attorney decided to have my brother call Adam. Adam knew I’d ran and as soon as my brother started speaking, he launched into a verbal tirade and demanded to speak to me. He made the mistake of yelling, loud enough for us all to hear, that I was “his property” and that if I didn’t start “behaving as a righteous wife should” I would be “sorry”. He also added that it was my “duty to submit to him in all ways a wife should”. At this, the attitude in the room changed. As soon as my brother hung up, the cops started looking for reasons to keep me from going home. The answer had been staring us in the face the whole time – Adam was not a minor. Adam was an adult who had just referred to a minor as “property”, with the expectation of submission and the suggestion of abuse. My lawyer asked for an immediate sitting with the presiding judge. It was granted (small municipalities do have their advantages). It was scheduled for the next day and, after being apprised of the situation by their own attorney, through my attorney, they (my parents) agreed to let me go home with my brother and to not contacting me until after the hearing.
I didn’t sleep much that night. I couldn’t help but fear for everyone who had helped me get as far as I’d got. I also feared that everyone who had helped me would see that I wasn’t worth it and that I should just go home. It’s hard to be rational at times like those and my upbringing didn’t raise me to feel worthy of help. I knew that, in the morning, I would see my parents,…see my mom and maybe my siblings and I wasn’t sure if I could handle that. I had this idea in my head that I was still in this alone.
The next day, I was stunned when I approached the courtroom and saw a crowd of people. In attendance were the Klines, the two cops who had first reponded to the Kline’s, Officers Barney and Crouch, a social worker, and two friends of my brother’s who knew Adam. My parents were there as well, with their attorney.
The 49 Character Qualities of Ruth by RazingRuth:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19 | Part 20 | Part 21 | Part 22 | Part 23