It is official. I am now a first wife.
I don’t like the word ex-wife nor the word ex-husband, really. Both sound so harsh, like getting sliced in a guillotine. My head is still intact. My heart is debatable. I am too young to be a first wife. Just writing the word ex is unsettling.
The divorce hearing was Friday. It couldn’t have gone more awry apparently. It was almost cancelled. There were 5 of us waiting with our attorneys and each one of them was getting antsy. The court doors weren’t open and no one was in sight. My attorney was especially nervous since she had a hefty schedule ahead of her and couldn’t be held up. The verdict? The schedule had been changed and we were all waiting for no one. Talkings of a cancellation filled the air.
If you can imagine, two major questions popped into my head. Is this a sign? Why is this happening to me?
The anxiety immediately raised in my already uneasy chest. I just watched the locked court doors as the attorneys chatted beside me. I honestly don’t know what I would have done if it was cancelled. I probably would have sat in my car and stared at the steering wheel wondering how the universe could play such a cruel joke. I started running over how I would go about telling my husband that hey, we aren’t getting divorced just yet. You ok about that? And then I slowly became even more upset that he wasn’t there with me feeling all of the tension growing in the hallway. I hated having to do it alone.
But then my attorney used her magic and got the judge to come back and do our cases so we wouldn’t have to reschedule. The kicker? My attorney had to leave me in the hands of another colleague so she could dash off to her next appointment. He was kind, but just another last minute change to that maddening day.
When the doors opened I was scared of walking in. It must have shown on my face since my attorney coaxed me and said the judge was nice, to not be afraid, and that I would be up at the podium for only 30 seconds. As she exited down the stairs, I made my way through the gates of Mordor and found a seat.
How humiliating? Five marriages sat in that room and each one of us had to get up and announce that ours was ending. Who wants an audience for that? Like a funeral open to the public.
Two people went up before me. And as one of the attendees made his way out of the courtroom before my name was called, he wished me luck. What else can you say to a stranger before they severe marital ties with the person they thought they’d spend the rest of their life with?
The podium was tiny. I had to share it with my newly appointed attorney. He stands there and asks me questions. Please state your name. Are you married to ******? Were you married September 4th, 2014? Have you lived in Florida for longer than 6 months prior to filing for your divorce? Do you have any children with him? Is this the marital agreement you both entered into? Is this your signature? Is this his signature? I have no further questions. And then the judge fiddles on her computer and states that yes, she has jurisdiction over the case and that the marriage is seen to be ‘irreversibly broken.’
Irreversibly broken. God that was like a knife just twisting in my heart.
And that was it. My attorney looked at me with a smile and he told me to wait outside before we had to go downstairs and receive all of our paperwork. As I waited for him, I looked outside the court windows. It was grey and dingy, the palm trees slumped in the wind. I took deep breaths and crossed my arms over my chest to keep it from exploding open. All I could think was this will make her happy. My loss is her joyous gain. Of course her being my ex-husband’s girlfriend. He isn’t mine anymore. He is now no longer my legally binding partner.
A long time ago, as a gift, my ex made me a clay heart. Not a Hallmark one, but an anatomical heart. He painted it and put it inside a glass container, filled it with water, and sealed it with a top that said “You have my heart.” It’s sitting on a shelf in my room. I don’t know what to do with it. I’ve always been a sentimentalist so tossing it out would be absolute torture. But I also don’t own his heart anymore. I get it, this is a baby step process, but man… does it really suck. No amount of platitudes honestly help, even the ones we utter to ourselves to get through the day.
I got my paperwork — one for me, one for my attorney, and one for my former husband. I walked out of the courtroom and straight to my car. Once inside, I let pour out. That was inevitable.
It was over. The day I had been dreading had finally come and gone. Closure right? Doesn’t really feel like it. But I’m being hopeful. That’s all we can be x
Love, B. R. Wren