A rundown of the final incident that ended our marriage…. 

19 February 2013

19 February proceeded much like much any other Tuesday.  I went to the day job, muddled through it and came home (no Boot Camp on Tuesdays), and then Chi and I had some appetizers and did our nightly rehearsal without incident.  I sat down briefly to rest my feet and see what had occurred on FaceBook since the last time I was online, and then began preparing dinner while Chi did his personal practicing.  That’s when things began to go south.  The sounds emanating from the living room were violent, ugly and hateful, just like the prelude to the incident described in this post.  When Chi took a break from his practicing, I calmly told him that I did not want to have dinner with him.  Of course he threw a fit, spewing graphic, hateful, violent threats at me (which he does from time to time when he’s drunk and I normally dismiss it as the confused babbling of a deeply sick, drug-addled, broken mind), but I knew what was going to happen if I did had dinner with him (see post linked above), and just wasn’t willing to suffer that.  I finished eating as quickly as I could and put some leftover food in the fridge for him to eat after he finished practicing if he wanted to.

After washing my dishes I went into my office room, wrote this journal and ditzed about on FaceBook or played computer games or some mindless thing for a few minutes and eventually rolled up my sleeves to commence the arduous, crazymaking ordeal of adding the new content we had created over the past couple weeks to the website I have been building for Chi to highlight his work outside of the Panache Orchestra as a musician, as well as his work as an actor, model and author.  While I was editing some photos he had taken of his extensive collection of exotic percussion instruments, he came shuffling down the corridor, thumped on the door, let himself in, and demanded that I stop working and talk to him.  He didn’t actually mean “talk to him”.  What he meant was that I was to drop whatever I was doing and listen to him bitch me out over whatever-the-fuck bee he had up his butt that had put him in such a foul humour earlier.  I followed my SOP of ignoring him and calmly carrying on with whatever I am doing, which is based on the logic that small children have short attention spans so he would eventually get bored and go away.  It has worked most of the time so far.

He sat down and made himself at home, and then laid into me with a vicious diatribe lambasting me for “breaking my promise” to focus on our music — that it had been 20 days since we agreed to postpone getting divorced and instead have one final go at getting the Panache Orchestra aloft again and I hadn’t yet done any personal practicing, etc., etc., etc. I knew it was pointless to rebut with the fact that it had actually only been 16 days (just over two weeks), and that during that time I had spent untold dozens of hours slaving away making demo videos featuring him as a side player to respond to ads he found seeking players, responding to the ads, etc., being up until ridiculous hours doing that stuff at his behest, so how in the hell was I supposed to drag myself out of bed even earlier than usual to do my own practicing?!  I had a feeling that what had actually set him off was me spending a few hours over the preceding holiday weekend doing a construction/paint project that I had meant to finish last fall before the rainy season set in, but hadn’t been able to.  That, plus having gone to dinner with my workout buddies from Operation Boot Camp for a couple hours after work on Monday of the previous week.

Anyway, ignoring him and continuing with whatever I am doing usually works.  What normally happens is that he realises he is not going to get the angry reaction from me that he is trying to provoke and turn into a big fight that he can jones on the trauma drama of, gets bored and eventually gives up and finds some other way to occupy himself.  This was one of the rare exceptions when it didn’t work.  The next thing I knew, he threw the contents of the wine glass he had with him at my head, drenching me and splattering both computers and their peripherals, other electronic gadgets on my desk as well as the desk itself, my chair, the wall, blinds, floor and the paper trash that was all over the floor since I was concurrently in the process of trying to sort out our taxes, with what was ostensibly red wine but smelled suspiciously like cheap gin.

wine on keyboard

more wreckage

wine on blinds

“Motherfucking marvelous!”, I thought.  “Yet again, the bloody thanks I get for turning myself inside-out to do all this shit he wants.”  He cut me off mid-thought saying that he was going to get the wine bottle and now we would fight to the death or some such deranged nonsense.  I took and uploaded a quick, blurry picture with my Blackberry of the wine-splattered keyboard of my Mac to post to FaceBook following a status update I’d posted earlier informing the world that Chi seemed to be having a meltdown (Chi is NOT on FaceBook!), and resolutely kept on working.

He came back in the room carrying the bottle of wine he had been drinking from, and it was still almost ¾ full.  He approached me with it, and before I could react, he smashed the nice, big, expensive monitor a close mutual friend of ours had been letting me use while he was between locations, which had made film editing much less hellish for me with the bottle.  Fucking hell….I decided at that moment that the situation was officially out of hand and I could use some tactical support in containing it, so I picked up my Blackberry again and dialed 9-1-1.

smashed monitor

He then grabbed my hair that was back in a ponytail which was now all sticky and soaked with wine and took a swing at my head with the bottle, but I blocked it so it hit the window next to where I was sitting instead, busting that also.  He dragged me by the hair out of my chair and onto the floor, again trying to hit me with the bottle, which I succeeded in wrestling away from him as we were writhing sort of BJJ-like across the now wine-splattered wood floor that I had just gone to a tremendous amount of effort and expense to restore a year and a half ago, but in the process of doing so, I dropped my phone.  I also realized with alarm that I had forgot to hit the green button, so the 9-1-1 call had not actually connected.  With the free hand Chi recovered since I now had possession of the bottle, he grabbed my Blackberry that I had dropped and smashed it onto the floor where it went to pieces.

broken window1

broken window2

destroyed blackberry

crime scene

Still holding the now-practically empty wine bottle, I braced myself by taking hold of the electric radiator that I had ended up next to, which fortunately was not on despite the very cold, rainy night, but was unable to free myself from his grip on my hair without resorting to very aggressive defensive action, which I elected not to take.  We held that stalemate, staring each other down for what seemed like a long time but probably wasn’t, and again I reminded myself about small children throwing temper tantrums and their short attention spans, and hoping that he would feel stupid just sitting there unable to do anything and just go the fuck away.  No, that last scenario would not take place since Chi apparently never feels stupid about ANYTHING, no matter how incredibly stupid of a thing he has done, since in his colossally narcissistic mind, his behaviour, however outrageous, is always perfectly justified and beyond reproach.

He did eventually let go of my hair and get up and leave the room, and I picked up the fixed line phone to call 9-1-1 again, but he had apparently disabled it because the line was dead.  I scanned the room to see if the digital camera was anywhere to be found and in an operable condition to take some photos of the crime scene since my Blackberry was now trashed.  I spotted the camera on the filing cabinet next to my desk where I usually keep it, picked it up, took it out of its case and started taking pictures when the door opened again and Chi came back in the room to continue verbally threatening and harassing me, and then he took the battery that had fallen out when he destroyed my Blackberry and left again.  I had stuffed the camera into the confused tangle of cables and cords alongside the trashed computer monitor I was sitting in front of as soon as the door started to open so he wouldn’t see it and destroy that too.  I resumed taking photos as soon as he left.

disabled phone

He came back in again, this time with his own phone, and said that he was going to call 9-1-1 so that I would go to jail.  I stood there baffled for a moment trying to mentally process what he had just said, and realised that he thought that if he called 9-1-1 and told the police some story in his FUBAR English about how he had just been sitting there minding his own business when this martial arts-adept monster suddenly and inexplicably attacked him and threw wine all over her own room and destroyed the equipment she had been using, they would automatically believe him and arrest me without question because he was the one that called.  This shit would actually be rather amusing were it not so very distressing.

He made a big show of trying to taunt me by slowly pressing the keys for 9-1-1 and hovering over the green button.  I told him to go right ahead.  I am not certain whether he actually pressed the green button and the call for some reason didn’t completely go through, but it also seemed to have somehow got stuck in the phone because it wouldn’t go away either when he tried to disconnect it.  Apparently he had reconsidered his certainty of the police believing him and began to panic, trying to get the phone open to take the battery out so he could terminate the call.  In any case, that attempted 9-1-1 call did not connect either.  That’s zero for three.

I told him that he has two choices: either go back to Japan or go to jail.  He said that he can’t go back to Japan, and if he goes to jail, he’ll just come back here (to the house) as soon as he is out.  He apparently does not understand that we have these things here known as restraining orders.  I sat down at my desk and attempted to open my email to write to my supervisor at my job and let him know what happened, and that I would most likely not be coming in the next morning.  Unfortunately that alerted Chi that the computer was still operational, although very difficult to use due to the damage he had done to the monitor, so he disconnected the hard drive and left the room again, taking it with him.

hard drive missing

I then removed my hair tie and began stripping out the hair that had been torn out when he grabbed my ponytail, which I piled on the desk and photographed the large mass of it.  He came in the room one more time while I was dealing with my hair, made an offhand comment that he had done something bad, and then remarked that there was still one more computer.  He unplugged the power cable from the PC, disabling it, and left the room, taking the cable with him.

hair torn out in DV incident

He had apparently also at some point done something to the modem, disabling our internet access.  After he left again I took note of my injuries: there was a sore spot on the left side of my forehead where I am not sure if he had struck me or if I had bumped my head on something when he pulled me out of the chair onto the floor; my left knee was bruised and also my left ankle.  There was a sore spot on my left elbow as well.

I spent some time trying to think through what to do.  I contemplated going to the police immediately following the incident, but with no working navigation or communication equipment (Blackberry/phone, computer, etc.) I would have trouble finding it, and concluded that wandering around downtown L.A. on a tiny scooter by myself in very cold, heavy rain at 11:00 PM would put me to greater risk and discomfort than I was in by staying home and dealing with it in the morning.

After things calmed down I went into the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth and get ready for bed.  While doing so, I felt a weird sense of profound relief tinged with something oddly like elation: that I was finally about to be free from this continuous waking nightmare; and that Chi had elected to end it the way he did, taking the excruciating burden off of me to have to end the relationship and push him out of my home and life without such a clearly defined, readily defensible and compelling “reason” for doing so.  There simply is no more rationalising this shit away.  However after getting into bed and settling down with the cats to drift off to sleep, the relief and elation was gradually dissolving into the sense of illusory comfort that always accompanies the relative calm following a violent episode with Chi.

Since I had no communication or navigation infrastructure available in an operable condition at home anymore, I decided to get up early and go into my office at my day job to borrow the gear there even though I wouldn’t be able to get much, if any, actual work done that day.  I’d take it as a “vacation day”, however perverse that seemed.  As much as going into my office greatly facilitated the communicative hoop jumping I had to do that day and availed me of lots of very welcome sympathy and support from friendly, familiar faces, the familiar routine greatly reinforced the habit of being lured back into the false comfort of a violent incident fading into “relative calm”.  Spending the night in a shelter for domestic violence victims, while ensuring that I got no sleep at all, would certainly have kept me entirely out of my comfort zone and preserved the sense of urgency and my resolve to follow through and remove Chi from my home and life, which was eroding at a rapid pace.  Also I belatedly realised that  if I had elected to go to a shelter (assuming I’d been able to locate one with no comm/nav equipment), they would very likely have notified the police (or at least assisted me in doing so) and Chi would probably be in jail now, greatly expediting my liberation from this wretched predicament.

Nevertheless, I pushed on through the process of writing a timeline of the incident before my memory faded and a list of things I had to do, and then began making the necessary contacts starting with legal counsel.  My injuries became more painful as they set in.  New “hot spots” kept appearing.  My neck and back got stiffer, and I kept finding more bruises as they developed.  It was still “light surface damage”, however, so no need to waste time and money going to the hospital to get looked over.

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