About A Cop’s Wife…
When I first saw Sacchi’s call for Lesbian Cops, my mind filled with a hundred hot and dirty imaginings. When I sat down to begin writing, I was certain what would emerge would be kinky and sexy. I mean hey – who hasn’t had a fantasy about a smokin’ hot woman in uniform? But when I tried to assemble all the parts in my head, it just wouldn’t come together. There was another voice in there, telling me very pointedly that I had another story to write.
Sometimes the things that we write are fiction through and through. Sometimes there’s something – a mannerism of a lover, a turn of phrase, a kernel of truth – around which we craft fiction. And sometimes, entire stories are based on our experiences. I’m not married to a cop, but my story A Cop’s Wife is probably the most personal story I’ve ever written.
Two things were at work for me, and they blended their way into a fiction that nevertheless feels very real to me. Once upon a time, I had a long relationship with a firefighter, and I have endless respect and admiration for all emergency responders – police, firefighters and EMTs – and for the partners and spouses that support them at home. I drew on my own history to craft my character Amie, and to describe how she feels about being married to a cop:
There is an understanding that, on any given day, the likelihood that bad things could happen to your spouse is much greater than if they were say, an accountant, or a school teacher. You imagine what it would feel like to get the phone call, or the knock on the door, that tells you that they’ve been injured, or worse, that they’ve been killed.
People say I don’t know how you do it, but the fact of the matter is, that despite this understanding, the fear remains mostly abstract because by and large, nothing does happen. And at the end of the day, you trust in the training and the instincts and the support that enable these men and women to do their jobs and protect the public.
Much more fresh in my mind though, was the subject material of the story: how do you deal with someone threatening your life? My partner (a very different kind of hero) spends much of her time helping people who suffered terrible abuse as children. Sometimes these people grow up to be very damaged adults, with a lot of misguided rage. And sometimes, though rarely, it winds up directed at her. We found ourselves in a situation similar to the one in my story in the spring of last year. How do you deal with that? What do you do when someone says I will kill you, with every bit of conviction they have? Let me tell you, it’s the stuff of nightmares.
And then I wondered, how would a cop, someone trained to deal with all manner of violent situations, handle something like that? How could they –how does anyone – fight something as intangible as words?
…[E]ven like this, held tight in the circle of her arms in the privacy of our bedroom, he was there. He was everywhere. His taint was like a mist curling in through a crack in the window, seeping under the doorframe, spilling through the keyhole. It was insidious, filling the inside the room until I felt like I couldn’t breathe again, until I felt like I was suffocating in fear and anger and despair.
Patrice was vibrating, struggling with emotions of her own. I knew I should say something about how everything would be o.k., and about how I knew she would catch this filthy coward, but the words couldn’t make it past the lump in my throat. I was determined not to cry – she didn’t need that from me right now, but when she said, “I put a copy of my will in the lock box…” the tears fell of their own volition, and she rocked me in the dark, and nothing more was said.
Fortunately for me, and the characters in my story, things work out in the end. And the relief when it’s over? Indescribable.
After all these weeks of vacillating between belief and disbelief; strength and weakness; between calm assurances and horrible despair, I needed her – the indisputable, solid proof that she was real, beneath my hands, against my flesh – more than I needed air to breathe.
Sacchi has put together a tremendously diverse collection of stories which manages to capture both the fiery-hot fantasy that women in uniform can inspire, and the sometimes more serious reality of a cop’s life. It’s a great read, and I’m honored to be in the company of such fine authors. If you haven’t read it yet – pick it up already! You won’t be disappointed.