June 10, 2020:

Violence began almost immediately.

We went to a bar called "Trout Farm Inn" on East Zayante, a short drive down the road from our house on the creek. I went with her because I didn't yet understand I'd be unable to moderate her consumption, and from a vague sense that when she drank in bars she got into trouble.

It shouldn't have been vague. She had a temporary tooth, filling in for one which had been knocked out in a bar fight. Another clue I was ill-equipped to process in the moment.

She ordered bomb shots of whiskey and Irish cream dropped in pints of Guinness. Some people call these "Irish Car Bombs", although I personally find the violence suggested by that both offensive and prescient. She said, "These will get us drunk faster." I imagine they must have, but I was so profoundly on alert that I don't remember noticing.

She wanted to dance. With me, with the grizzle-beard old mountain men who were regulars. Drink, dance, drink, dance, drink. It was overwhelming, a sense overload, where for me there was too much motion and too much noise and too many strange men becoming far too close. I had a confusing, and very urgent sense of claustrophobia, and fight-or-flight. I had to get outside, where the cold air calmed me down and led to resolution.

I told her, "I need to leave, let's go." She wanted to stay; I said no. She glowered. Being told no infuriated her, as I was to learn for the first time that night, then subsequently plenty internalize. Almost as soon as we were home she began throwing punches.

I was deeply, I mean truly profoundly, confused. It was not something I would or could have anticipated that first time, and I was so surprised and disoriented I think I actually stammered. I remember saying, "Hey — hey — what are you doing? Why are you doing this?" As flying fists flew around my head and eventually connected with my lip, drawing blood, as she screamed in naked rage.

I thought — this shows you how unprepared I was — if I called 911 some kind of emergency service would arrive to calm her down. As if she were having an episode of some sort, like a stroke or maybe even a breakdown. I was expecting paramedics; what came was sheriffs. From their point of view this was domestic battery, plain and simple, and they arrested her over my objection because the rule in Santa Cruz County is that the battered domestic partner is not allowed to call off the process. This is to protect battered spouses, typically women I'd imagine, and for those scenarios I support the rule. This time it seemed extremely unfortunate. It was not at all what I'd been trying to achieve. They took pictures of my bleeding lip, pushed her into a sheriff's car, and drove her away.