Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Final Curtain

So, tomorrow is my court date.

Evidently, I have to show up, take the stand and state that yes, I want a divorce. I guess I have to confirm that I agree with all of the other stuff in all the stacks of papers that have been prepared for the court's consideration. According to the lawyer, all of this will take just a scant few minutes, then I will be dismissed, signed decree in hand. And then it will be over.

All of it.

Which is kind of stunning, really.

It's hard to believe that it can all be distilled down to a stack of paper, but it can. In the end, evidently it comes down to dollars and logistics, and who has the insurance, and which weekends the children will be here or there.

Very cut and dried.

Of course, I know it's more than that. What happens tomorrow morning is a formality. It's not the whole story, but it does mark a moment in time. To the rest of the world, the moment before I take the stand, I will be married, and the minute I leave the stand, I won't be. To the rest of the world, the divorce will be "officially" final tomorrow morning, even though in MY head, the marriage has been over for a much longer time. But, despite my feelings, I am bound by the tangible.

The papers.

The judge's signature.

The date.

Everyone around me is similarly tied to these things. They rely upon them to mark time and put things in order, and make sense of things. I find myself trying to remember that people around me are dealing with news that is seemingly brand new. To them, I will be divorced tomorrow.

They will expect me to mourn. To grieve. To wear sackcloth and ashes, maybe. It's a bit like attending a funeral for someone that has long since passed. While those around me are weeping, there I sit, seemingly unaffected.

Truth is, my mourning happened privately and it happened quite a long time ago.

This admission has brought about a range of reactions from friends and loved ones . . .

"Why didn't you ever tell me?!"
"How could this be? I saw you, and I never noticed anything!? You looked happy . . . "

And they are right. I tried to look happy. It's what I do. I appeared to be happy when I wasn't, and I kept things hidden that they feel I should have shared.

But I didn't.

I had my reasons, of course. I didn't want to hash through what was going on with me with my family or my friends. They all had their OWN problems, and there always seemed to be much larger issues to address that eclipsed my marital problems. There wasn't any room to introduce more problems into the mix. What could they have done except worry?

Maybe if I had, they would understand this more now. Maybe if I had told my family and friends the truth, I would have found out that people would have supported me. Maybe, but maybe not. And when you divulge problems to people, you have to be prepared to DO something, and I wasn't ready to make the changes that I have now made. The heartbreak took time for me to work through, and it took time for me to finally realize that the marriage was over, and mourn that, and heal from it.

More than likely if I had told the truth, the people that loved us as a couple couldn't have continued to love us both. Sides would have been chosen, and that's the last thing I ever wanted.

What I wanted was to part amicably and retain my OWN dignity. And his. And my childrens'. And I wanted to do it in a way that caused the least trauma and heartache for them.

What I'm trying to say is that I think we all do things in our own time. And sometimes, to people on the outside, what you see, and when you see it, and what's tangible isn't the whole story.

I'll be divorced tomorrow.

On paper.

But for me, things didn't happen in a logical order. I didn't follow a linear path to get here. It didn't all happen this month, or even this year.

The tears dried a long time ago and the scar on my heart barely shows now. Today, I have a smile on my face and renewed hope and love with a man that shares my vision of a happy future.

Regrettably, that makes some folks very angry.

I guess that's the price you pay for keeping a secret.

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