31. “What are we doing here?”

As mentioned already, it took us two and a half years to get “our day” in court. That’s a lot of time spent preparing, or what I believe, re-living the trauma, for this momentous occasion. Part of this time was spent getting the girls “familiar” with the courthouse and the people that would be involved in their care during our time there.

This is how we found ourselves sitting inside the corridor of the local courthouse, waiting for our children to return from the room containing the Closed Circuit Television where they would present their evidence.

It was a Monday afternoon- that was our counselling day (it used to be dancing day).

We drove down to the courthouse and met Lizzie, the girls’ counsellor there. She took us court house (2)inside and we met Kaye, a rather cranky looking Sheriff, who was to show the girls around the courthouse.

Lizzie told Brad and I that it would probably be better if she took the girls on an “adventure” on her own, so that they could then tell us all about it. This was part of the process of helping the girls trust the other people who would be going through the process with them.

So off they went.

In the meantime, Brad and I were forced to wait in the corridor, with a host of other people. I mentioned it was Monday…it was clear that a few people had played up on the weekend. I couldn’t believe that this had become our life.

As I sat there looking around. My feelings began to leak out my eyes. Sometimes that happens. Brad looked at me and said, “Don’t let them see you cry”. I snapped and told him, “I’m allowed to fall apart for five minutes”. No one seemed bothered about our behaviour.

Instead of persisting with an argument that neither of us really had the energy to continue, I took out my own form of therapy…cheap, somewhat trashy books on my IPhone- Happily Ever Afters, no brainers, books with a specific formula. Gone were the books designed to make me think, my days of studying were over, for the foreseeable future at least.

So we sat side by side. Glancing occasionally at the interesting collection of individuals around us, waiting for our little ones to re-emerge from the bowels of the courthouse.

When they did reappear, they were quite chatty about what they had seen and were interested in seeing the rest of the place. We mindlessly followed as Kaye took us into a court room, my very first one since Mock Trial in 1994, and showed us how things would work during the trial.

I just kept wondering to myself…”what are we doing here?”

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