When I called out again today, I offered some explanation about the situation. I don’t know how or when I can go back in my office, but I can’t worry about that now.

Lou resumed the barrage of calls first thing in the morning and was unrelenting throughout the entire day and night. He did respect my instruction to stop calling my mobile phone last night, and chose to leave a long, hateful, threatening message on my voicemail at work instead.

Anjelica came with me to the lawyer’s office and was kept entertained and busy drawing in a separate room to be sheltered from the details as my affidavit was drawn up for the petition for a domestic violence restraining order. Within minutes of our arrival, he called demanding to see Anjelica today. I was calm, let him know that I was with a lawyer and suggested he get one as well, and that we will work out an agreement and he could have the house and shared custody, but I am done letting him dictate my life. No matter how many times I answered that it wasn’t a good time, that I would talk to him later, or that I just wanted peace and time to myself, he kept calling, threatening, accusing, and mocking me. I told him he was intimidating and scary, but I was done with his threats. “I’m done answering to you. You had 20 years of it, now say goodbye to it.” His reply was that I was hallucinating and sounded like a drugged robot. I said, “You know I am not stupid, and if I’m doing this it is for a reason.” At one point he stopped yelling and said, “I need to do what I need to do. I don’t think I can handle this, but whatever happens, I want you to know I have loved you until the end.” Taking this as another threat of self-harm or homicide, I asked him to get a pen and write down a number. I opened the phone book and read off the digits of the suicide prevention hotline. He was offended, but that didn’t stop his calls and threats. Later, I phoned to have Anjelica speak with him but made it clear first to keep her out of it, that I never agreed to be abused, and this was not a game.

It did feel like a waiting game as time ticked off late into the afternoon. They finally squeezed me in before closing the courtroom for the day. I hand-wrote the actual petition, which was presented to the judge along with the three-page, typed 26-point affidavit that summarized the justification for my fear, ending with: “I believe that Louis poses a very real and credible threat to my safety, and to that of our child and our property.” The judge asked a few questions to clarify some details but appeared overall unimpressed. My knees started to go weak when I realized he might deny the petition. What then? Would Lou find out I had been to court and was turned away? He would be both enraged by my actions and enthralled by the power he held from being vindicated. The judge looked squarely at me, then shook his head in what looked like uncertainty as he said that he would not normally grant an order based on the evidence presented, but he would sign it because I appeared to be professional, credible and genuinely in fear. He then cautioned that I would need to “beef it up” for the hearing in one month for it to stick. He looked at me kindly, as I said, “Thank you, Your Honor.” I thanked the clerk as well, who also stayed late to finalize and send the orders to the Amherst Police for execution.

I felt vulnerable outside the courthouse, where our Mercedes was still parked where we had left it Wednesday night. Nothing I had said to Lou would have given him any indication I would file for a restraining order, but he could come to pick up mail at the post office next to the court, or to check on the car. Anjelica and I had been on the phone with our friends in Peterborough earlier in the day and planned to meet at their house and go to dinner. I talked to my sister, who had already decided to drive from New York with her husband just to be with us for support as I worked out the next steps. Dinner with friends was a welcome distraction, despite Lou’s continued calls. As we left the restaurant, I gave my phone to Anjelica to tell him goodnight.

Around 10:30pm, I got a call from an Amherst Police officer who asked if there were firearms or other weapons in the house to be confiscated. I detailed where I had hidden them, and followed up with a warning, “If he resists, and has a you are going to have to make me leave kind of attitude, take him seriously.” The officer reassured me that they have done this many times. My unspoken thought was, “You’ve never been in a standoff with Lou.” A long hour later, I received the welcome call that the orders had been served. Lou resisted at first, which is common, but put together a few bags and his computer and left the house without incident. I should have been relieved, but this did not sit right; Lou is not someone to be removed from his home peacefully. The temporary order granted me possession of the house, full custody of Anjelica, and forbid contact of any sort.

I am not sure what to do next, but I have no intention of going home or to work anytime soon. I was uneasy and on the lookout for his car on our way back to the hotel, drove around the lot a couple times before entering, and verified with the front desk he had not checked in. He may not be here, but now that he isn’t home, he could be anywhere. My suddenly silent phone is disconcerting. There may be quiet but there is no peace.