Wednesday, March 23, 2011

That's All She Wrote...

It started off with an icy look from my attorney. "You've got your kids," she remarked, her mouth twisted with disdain. "Yep, that's why I was hoping this could be done another day. I have no childcare on Tuesdays." She recovered from her initial shock and we made a bit of small talk - enough that she could scope out my kids and see that they are indeed, darling and for the most part, well-behaved.

We headed in to the courtroom shortly thereafter and took our seats. Courtrooms are large, quiet and imposing. Having never been in one before I've decided I don't need to see any more - I'm pretty sure they all look the same. G and T are supposed to be sitting quietly on the padded bench behind me, their hands folded neatly in laps, cherubic smiles all around. As it were, G has taken off his boots and is running up and down the bench. T is singing Twinkle, Twinkle - loudly - and neither of them has any sense of the intimidation that I was hoping would stun them into silence for the duration of the hearing. Lovely.

We stand as the Judge enters the courtroom and the hearing itself lasts for about seven minutes. During which time my children worm their way under the table and begin a rousing game of "No, that's MY mommy!" which leaves T screaming to beat hell until I make enough room for everyone on my lap. G then picks my nose while T pulls on my eyelashes. In the meantime, I'm trying to answer questions from my attorney and the judge and I'm cringing on the inside, just waiting to be yelled at. With luck on my side, the hearing is finished quickly.

At the end the judge commends me for not turning this into a "knock-down drag-out fight" and goes on to say how it speaks to my integrity that I have taken "the high road" and put the best interest of my children first. Thanks, I guess. He unceremoniously shuts off his microphone, stands and exits to his chambers. After a few kind words of encouragement from my attorney, I am alone with all three of my children. Now officially divorced, I look around the room. I feel like things should look, sound, smell... different. I see my reflection in a window and note that I don't look any different, nor do my children. I am stunned that seven minutes is all it takes to erase five years - a marriage, three pregnancies, deliveries and babies, laughter, tears, screaming and hateful words. All gone in a matter of minutes. Less time than it takes me to shower or fold a load of laundry.

Marriage is hard work and not for the faint of heart. Nor is it for adulterous, pathological liars with substance abuse and anger management issues - but that's for another day. No, marriage is not easy, but getting a divorce sure can be. Seven minutes is all it takes.

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