I had to keep telling myself to remain calm. I must be very careful not to appear flustered or guilty. I tried taking deep breaths to slow down the pace of my heart which took every ounce of my strength and fortitude. I grabbed my knees with both hands in an effort to stop them from shaking. But that didn't seem to help, and fear prevented me from thinking rationally.
The day started out just like any other Saturday. No one could have guessed that my life was about to change forever. How could one fleeting moment, one microsecond of a persons life make such a difference? If only that moment could be snatched back from eternity, erased, but that was impossible. I was no longer the little girl in a big city, but a big girl in a small town with her freedom at risk.
I was in the police station, alone, and scared. The holding room was like a phone booth with no windows. I was sweltering under a choking fog of body odor and stale cigarette smoke. Nausea swept over me and I had to force myself to take a breath.
"You wait here," a man said gruffly. Then the door was slammed shut and locked. That sound resonated through me and I felt as though my life was ending. It sent shivers up my spine and made me shudder. I could not explain my emotions or why I was so scared because I wasn't even sure what was going on. My mind raced. It was an emotional whiplash between why" and "what if." What was going to happen? Why were they holding me? Would I ever see my son again? The questions would not stop and I could not think clearly. I felt sick to my stomach completely oblivious to the fact that deep within my belly, new life was growing.
How did I get here? Arrested?
All I ever aspired to be was a wife and mother and now, even that was being threatened. I knew I had to pray and ask for help. A gentle, yet firm, voice inside was saying "Admit to nothing. Only tell them your name and address. Say nothing else. Be careful, because they will try to trip you up." I did not totally understand this, but the voice got louder and louder until I knew I had to obey. If only I could snap my fingers and make this all go away.
Earlier that day......
When I opened the door that morning, three plainclothes officers filed into my home, showing me their badges. One of them deliberately shoved me out of the way. I felt violated and terrified. Another one asked me my name and read me my rights before saying, "You have just committed a crime and you will need to come with us."
Our Doberman stationed herself in front of my son and me. She was extremely agitated and showing her teeth. One of the officers pulled out his pistol and held it in position to shoot our pet right in front of my son in my living room. Things were spinning out of control. I was scared and getting angry. I couldn't believe what was happening. I felt light headed, like I might pass out. The man lowered his gun and began speaking in a loud, condescending tone, asking if I had any weapons in the house.
Got Any Weapons?
My little 4 year old son said, "You want weapons? I got weapons!" They followed him into his bedroom, all three with pistols drawn, as my innocent unsuspecting boy opened his bottom dresser drawer and expose all his "weapons." The three towering men looked into the drawer. One had the gall to search through the toys in great anticipation of finding something illegal. My son beamed with pride to have real policemen interested in his plastic revolvers and holster. If I hadn't been so scared, I might have laughed.
Now, here I was in a police holding room and never felt so afraid and alone. I had no choice but to gather my strength, stay calm and think rationally.
Nothing in my sheltered upbringing prepared me for what was ahead.