When Sophie called me at work, I thought something had happened to Craig, but then I realized it was much worse. He had abandoned her. Later on, she told me he had left her a few times before but only for a short time. He’d turn on a cartoon for her and be back before it was over. This time he didn’t come back.
The fear in Sophie’s voice shook me. I didn’t even think of telling anyone where I was going. I was frantic by the time I got to the motel, hoping Craig was still gone so I could get Sophie and leave without a confrontation. I just wanted her safe, and I would deal with Craig later. That was the one thing Craig and I had always agreed on: no fighting in front of Sophie. But by the end, we couldn’t even keep up that part of the bargain.
I was so relieved to hold Sophie in my arms. Once I knew she was safe, I took a quick look around Craig’s room. The place was littered with containers of rotting food, dirty clothes, and empty liquor containers. This is where my little girl was staying. The more I thought about what had happened, the angrier I became even as I fought to stay calm for Sophie. I knew we had to leave before Craig got back, but then I felt his presence behind me, and my anger boiled over.
I screamed at Craig. I told him he would never see Sophie again and if he tried, I’d have him arrested. Then he played right into my deepest fears. He threatened to sue for custody and to have me arrested for kidnapping. I got out of there as quick as I could.
I got back to work with Sophie, wanting to finish the day, get Sophie home and then think about my next move. But I knew I needed help, and although I still don’t trust him, I hoped K.I. would happen by my desk. I told him what had happened, and he offered what I could never ask for, a way to keep Craig out of our lives. “I’ll take care of the rest.” Those words said it all.
It’s been a few days, and I haven’t heard from Craig. Sophie hasn’t really asked about him, but I know her wounds from that day go deeper than anything I can see with my eyes. We both need time to heal.