Our divorce is officially final, our court date was scheduled right before Christmas (it came without ribbons, it came without tags, it came without packages, boxes or bags!) the gift that keeps on giving.
Who could ask for more?
Standing before a judge, seated high in his chair behind a big desk, in a small courtroom with what appeared to be pews behind us – I know that they weren’t, but it still had somewhat of a church quality about the whole thing – we were now declaring that our marriage was officially over. We were asking permission to get divorced.
The last time we stood before someone in a robe on an elevated altar, and made a promise, was the day we were married over twenty years ago. A declaration witnessed by our family and friends, sitting in pews. I couldn’t help but notice the comparison, the irony of it all.
My soon to be ex-husband stood on the other side of our two lawyers, staring stoically toward the bench, but with an emotional look on his face. Eyes tearing up, a look of fighting back emotions, trying not to cry?
I answered the questions with a firm voice, head held high, confident. This was not the time to replay the happiest moments of our past lives together, in a slow motion Kodak commercial. This was not the time to mourn the severing of our bond, to express regret. That time had passed, the moment was gone. It was officially too late.
We walked out separately from the courtroom, my ex took a seat in the lobby area. I said my goodbyes to my attorney, thanked her, turned on my heel and left. I didn’t cross over to say goodbye to him, or exchange a look to connect. I felt a twinge, an almost magnetic pull towards him out of habit, but I ignored it. Nobody gave me the rule book, or the “etiquette of exiting divorce proceedings”, beforehand.
Should we shake hands? Hug? Such an awkward moment.
Oddly, it felt good to walk out of the courthouse that day. I felt lighter. Happier. The sun was shining brighter, the world came back into focus. I could breathe. Suddenly, there was promise of better days. A sense of freedom. Relief. Is this how it’s supposed to feel?
As I drove away, I turned the radio up and smiled, heading down the road to my new life. An open road on all sides. It was mine now, completely mine.