There’s a joke that goes something like this:
Why is divorce so expensive?
Because it’s worth it.
Ha. Ha. Ha.
I recently marked the anniversary of the longest, strangest day of my life: the day I went to family court to have my marriage dissolved.
Even that term seems strange. Dissolved. As if our union was solid and real prior to entering court, then magically swirled and separated into tiny particles that simply disappeared.
If only it were that simple.
I was wearing the dress I’d intended to wear to my wedding rehearsal dinner years earlier. That dinner had been canceled because Hurricane Irene forced us to bump our whole carefully-planned wedding up by 36 hours. It’s a thing friends and I have since joked about — that if even Mother Nature objects to your nuptials, maybe you ought to take the hint.
That day in court, though, nothing was a joking matter. I had to face a courtroom full of strangers and answer intimate questions about my marriage and how it all went fabulously to shit. I suppose that’s not exactly how my attorney phrased it, but that’s what I heard. I went into defensive mode. I didn’t feel it all went fabulously to shit. I felt that much of the time it was all pretty damn good — lots of love and happy times — but something important at the core of it went quietly, insidiously to shit. Did I not get to explain that? Should these voyeurs not at least be required to hear the full story?
It seemed not.
Worst of all, there was my husband — very, very soon to be my ex-husband — sitting next to his lawyer, somehow looking to me just like he did on our wedding day. Handsome and stoic and uncomfortable in his button-down shirt.
I lost it.
In front of all those strangers, I dissolved into a shaking, blubbering mass of jelly. I’m pretty sure I looked like this:
Do you need time?” the judge asked.
A voice barked sharply: “No. I need this to be over.”
It was me.
Snapping at the judge.
Luckily, it seems if you are forty-ish, wearing a rumpled sundress, flapping your hands like the wings of some deranged bird and sending mascara down your face in rivulets reminiscent of Alice Cooper circa 1973, you get a pass on some things, even in court. The bailiff handed me water, which my shaking hands promptly spilled everywhere. The judge and attorneys waited for me to pull myself together. I dried my eyes and looked at my husband, who was looking carefully at the ceiling.
Ultimately, the divorce was granted, and The Ex and I did what any newly-divorced couple would do.
We went fishing.
Yeah. Not kidding. I kind of feel like when it comes to the whole Conscious Uncoupling thing, we out-Gwyneth-ed Gwyneth Paltrow on this one.
With no children — named after fruit or otherwise — we still decided to at least try to replace a negative experience with a positive one. We went out on the boat (his boat, by court decree) and drank beer (his beer, because, well, we’d filled the cooler from what was now his fridge) and cast lines into the water. The fish never bothered us.
At some point, it began to irritate me that we were out on the water enjoying a gorgeous summer day as we had so many, many times before. As if we hadn’t just been granted an “absolute divorce” by one stranger in a room full of them. Seven years together. Seven months apart. One hour and fifty-three minutes in family court, and it was done. I tried talking politics, hoping for an argument that would remind me of why we separated in the first place. But The Ex wasn’t taking the bait any more than the fish were.
So we just took the boat out into the chop outside the harbor. I love choppy seas. I always want to go as fast as possible, while The Ex generally prefers to take it slow.
“Go fast,” I said.
The man who wouldn’t look at me in court turned to me and smiled. It was the thinnest, saddest smile at first, but it grew. He leaned on the throttle and aimed into the whitecaps.
And I felt the smile creep back onto my own face as well.
— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Divorce – The Huffington Post