I remember having an ultrasound when I was pregnant with my first child. I was so nervous. The technician asked us if we wanted to know the sex (we did) and then told us it was a girl. I cried. I was so happy. And he cried too. He had always wanted a girl.
I remember one day, when our daughter was just a baby, he showed me a book. The book had photographs of nudes. Some of the photos were of young women, many were of children, a few were of whole families. He admired the photographer, whom he called an artist. I remember feeling an uncomfortable sensation in the pit of my stomach. It didn't feel like art to me. I asked where he got the book. He told me his mother gave it to him.
I remember one day, when our kids were toddlers, some girls from down the street were in our backyard. Kids would often come to our yard when we were out because he liked kids and would stop what he was doing and play with them. He started giving airplane rides to the two girls, swinging them around by their feet. The older girl was wearing a dress and when he swung her it bunched down around her armpits. She was trying to pull it back up, she was telling him to stop, but he just kept swinging her. I didn’t understand why he didn't stop. Afterward, I asked him why he didn't stop. He acted like it was nothing.
I remember the internet used to go down all the time when I worked on my computer. My computer was hooked up to the computer in his home office, which was part of a complicated set up with a router and home server. I could never get into his computer to re-set it because he had everything password protected. I would just have to wait until he got home.
I remember him telling me that he didn't understand why men liked big breasts. He said he found small breasts to be much more attractive, even very small breasts.
I remember the door bell ringing and ignoring it, because I had a migraine. I assumed it was solicitors. And then it rang again and I walked downstairs and opened the door and there were three detectives standing there. One showed me his badge and said they had a search warrant.
Later, as they were searching the house, I remember one of the detectives stopping me in the hallway and telling me they would need a picture of my children. I was confused. My kids? Why would they need a picture of my kids? He paused for a long moment, and during that pause it still didn't hit me. Then he said they needed it for comparison. I felt the walls close in upon me. I nodded, and then I went into the bathroom and vomited.
I remember a domestic violence counselor telling me that I needed to go into his office, that I needed to know what was in there. I didn't want to. But I went in and stood among the pulled-out computer wires and stacks of CD's. I found a disc with his handwriting on it. I wondered why the detectives hadn't taken it.
I put the disc into my computer. There were hundreds of images on it. I opened one up. I caught my breath. It was a young girl, maybe nine. Our daughter's age. She was kneeling on some pillows. She wore makeup and a pearl necklace, but other than that she was naked. I called the lead detective and he was at the house in ten minutes.
I remember my aunt and brother flying out to help me pack up his office. Because I couldn't go back in there. Every time I thought of going in there, I felt ill. As they were packing, they kept finding more stuff. The detective came back out to the house several times. Finally, he said to set everything aside and then call him when we were done packing.
That little girl, she looked so much like my daughter. The same round face. I can still see her face. I can never un-see her face. She was just a girl. She had a mother. Where was her mother? For god's sake, she was just a little girl.