Ok, so I don't know if he's really my boyfriend. I have issues with labels and I generally avoid that conversation so he and I haven't had it. But, to quote Buffy when Angel asks if Spike is her boyfriend: in my heart he is.
You see, I met Nathan a little over a month ago. I wasn't sure at first what my feelings towards him were. In fact, I didn't anticipate seeing him again after we met. But he invited me to a movie and I accepted.
The first date started off, as most first dates do, with a fairly high level of awkwardness. I had no idea what I was doing with this person: this person who lives in the suburbs and has a 5-year old. He works a part-time job, doesn't have a car and didn't finish college. While none of these factors were deal-breakers, I knew that he isn't the kind of guy I normally date and I wasn't sure if I was comfortable dating someone with a child. It just seemed like an extra complication, especially since I'm bad at the dating game when there's only one other person involved.
But once the awkwardness dissipated and we really started talking, I realized I felt totally at ease with him and it had been a long time since I'd had that with anyone. We spent about 3 hours together before heading to the movie and by the time we found our seats in the dark theater, I was silently pleading with the fates that he'd take my hand. And he did.
Due to the fact that neither of has transportation of our own, he has his son 5 nights a week, and we live kind of far apart we've only been able to see each other a few times a week. But even that has been nice. Through our daily conversations I've gotten to know him fairly well and we've grown close. Very close. I've met his son, he's met some of my friends, and I've grown accustomed to waking up in his arms...something I've never been particularly comfortable with in past relationships.
The second weekend we spent together he explained to me that he had a pending court date to sort out some child support issues. The issue being that he owes the state $1000 dollars in past due child support that he stopped paying when he became the primary care-taker for his son. But since the mother was still collecting, he owes money to the state. I'm not going to debate the injustice in this situation because it seems fairly clear. Anyhow, he told me that he was supposed to come up with 300 dollars by his court date or he would probably have to go to jail for the weekend. He said what he's seen in the past is that the person who owes money gets a 90 day sentence with 87 days deferred, so he expected to go to jail for the weekend and potentially go back for longer if there were future problems.
He came up the night before his court date and stayed with me so he wouldn't be stuck at home alone worrying about things he can't change. This has all been really stressful for him and he's been pretty depressed. It's hard to see him hurt like that.
Friday morning, I gave him a hug and a kiss and wished him luck, thinking that the worst it could be he'd be in jail for the weekend. I was wrong.
At a little before noon on Friday I got a text message that said "31 days". I responded, freaking out, but couldnt' get in touch with him. Then I got a phone call from a number I didn't recognize, which turned out to be Jeremy, Nathan's best friend. Jeremy didn't know any more than I did, having recieved the same text message I got. Except he got another text...one with my phone number in it. So he called me, hoping I knew something, but when I didn't know anything he promised to keep me in the loop. He's done that. The next day I got a text saying Nathan wanted me to call his mom and giving me her number.
So I called and she gave me information about visitation cause he wants to see me. I called the sherriff's department to try and get more info and they told me it takes a few days for the visitor's list to get approved. So basically, now I'm just waiting. I can't see him and I can't talk to him. And even when I get to see him we won't be able to touch, cause we'll be separated by glass...just like in the movies.
This whole situation has made me realize how much I really care about him. I'm not mopey because I don't get to see him (although that's definitely a factor); I'm mopey cause I'm so worried and there's absolutely nothing I can do. He's probably going to lose his job, maybe his apartment...and if things get worse, maybe his son. And I'm worried about his son, because how do you explain to a 5-year old that Daddy's away for a month. He was stressed before, but it's going to be worse after being away for a month. Cause when he gets back he won't have any money at all even though he didn't have much before. But at least he could pay his rent then.
Before he went to jail I at least had the comfort of knowing I could support him, but now I can only support him from afar. And while I'm sure it helps him to know I'm here, I really wish I could do more.
And I wish I'd told him how much he means to me before he went to jail. Now I just have to hope that he knows.
This would be so much easier if he'd held up a 7-11 and I could just walk away and chalk it up to my bad taste in men. But this isn't his fault. He's in jail because he tried to do the best thing he could for his son. He's one of the best people I know and he's stuck in a cell for a month because the state has decided it's a crime to be poor.
And I'm stuck for a month worrying.