The judge wanted her attention.
"Christmas in jail."
He got it.
I brought Rose to court Thursday. I knew what was coming. She didn't. She had written a letter to the judge to assure him she had seen the error of her ways. It was still in her hand when the deputy clicked on the handcuffs.
I find it downright cruel to write about the recovery of another. Early sobriety is a bit like childbirth, lots of blood and screaming. It's a miracle , all right. Just doesn't look or feel like one at the time.
So I'll leave my daughter alone and write about me. I called a friend. He suggested we hit a meeting together. I said I'd probably see him there. He showed up in my driveway thirty minutes later.
Paul and I have a mutual friend, a Veitnam War vet and gun affectionado. Vincent is not your average recovery guy, but he's figured out how to make it work for him. He owns a mansion in Northern Illinois, far enough from his neighbors that no one can hear gunfire. He has a gun room overlooking the leafy acres of his estate. I've never been there, but legend has it that above the wide leaded glass window in the gun room is the following inscription:
The Revolution Ends Here
I was frustrated with the new world of instant and constant communication in which Rose had hooked up with the playmates of her past, the shitheads, as I call 'em. As I watched Rose spend more time on the phone and on Facebook, I assumed she was again in the clutches of her old life.
One girl had a particular knack for making my skin crawl. Claire wasn't big on clothes and liked to rub her teen-aged tits against me every chance she got. I about hip-checked her over the back of a couch once. The last time I had seen Claire, she had stolen a fistful of Rose's Adderal out of a hiding place in my bedroom. Kids like her are adept at putting grown men in jail, but I was smart and pretended to call the cops, telling her she had 30 seconds to drop the meds and get the fuck off my property.
So it was Claire I had in mind when I chuckled with Paul about Vincent's gun collection.
"I should call him, borrow some guns. Sit in my garage and just pick 'em off one by one when they come by. Boom! Bye, Claire. Boom! Bye, boyfriend. Boom! Bye, shithead."
Paul wasn't amused.
"Yeah, I can picture it. All that's missing from the picture is the case of Wild Turkey. Where's the love, man? Aren't these folks just us before we got well?"
I was quiet for the rest of the ride.
After the meeting someone else told me this:
"God is everything or God is nothing."
I nodded, pretending to care.
"So which is it? Is God everything or is God nothing?"
The question changes the statement, which by itself conjures up images of silent monks in caves writing for decades about such esoterotica. The question puts the responsibility on me. Which is it? Do I actively seek the peace of God's love? Or do I deny it, or ignore it? I had been doing the latter, which is why guys like me don't last long if we don't surround ourselves with folks who will drop whatever they're doing to make sure another of us isn't alone too long.
Paul helped me out and no one got shot that night. What goes around comes around. I've helped a few guys out over the years. The catch about helping others is this: You don't get to choose. You let them choose you. A guy calls and he's nuts, you hop in the car, but try to force the gift of sobriety on someone who doesn't want it and you wind up having wet dreams involving automatic weapons.
The Public Defender called Monday morning. The judge moved her hearing date up. He just wanted to get her attention, let her stew in a cell for a while. She called a treatment center when we got home, and we went for an intake assessment yesterday. So we'll have Christmas. We had kind of cancelled it this year. I think God is everything.