By Pamela Richardson
Sometimes Dash was whisked off for hamburgers just as I was due to arrive.
Other times he waited eagerly for me at his door and sprang out and hugged me excitedly, leaping into my car and holding my hand tight the whole drive back to our house.
At the same time that Peter wrote in one of his countless affidavits, “Dashy is happy, content and exuberant in every aspect of his life, except when it comes to these access visits. Dash wants to visit every second weekend and he doesn’t really like mid-week visits, at the end of a school day”, Dash would be in my car, chattering away merrily and blasting questions at me about what was planned for the evening or weekend.
Still, when I drove over to pick Dash up for our access time, I often found no one home. I’d wait for a half hour or so, fighting back tears and rising frustration, then drive home alone, rehearsing my ever-unspoken questions: Why doesn’t Peter think about what this does to Dash? Why, when Dash lives with three professional adults and a nanny, can no one respect the access order and have Dash packed and ready to go when I arrive? Where are they? How will this end? When will I see him next?
The first of many times Suzanne took on the role of gatekeeper and refused me access to Dash, I turned on my heel, brushed away hot tears, and called my lawyer from the car. He told me to go home and then sent a fax to the Hart house, saying I would be arriving again at seven that evening to pick up Dash.
Breaking out of his background role, Dave volunteered to go. He needed to do something. I had come home in tears yet again. When Dave arrived at seven o’clock, Peter and Greg were standing guard at the door.
“Go away, little boy. You’re not getting Dash,” Peter sneered.
“Get off our property,” Greg said. “You’re trespassing and we will call the police if you don’t leave.”
Peter wrote an affidavit later, saying, “Pamela complains of a denial of access. Her accusation is false. At no time have I denied access. I have conducted myself, regarding access, in a manner that is quite the opposite. I have been flexible and generous.”
Dave had worn a little recording device that night, and the whole exchange was on tape. But what could we do? We might have a tape, but they had Dash.