Papers

This afternoon, the ex will be coming by to pick up more of his things and visit with the dog. I have our separation papers for him to review before we sign in front of a notary. They are printing as we speak.

It’s so very strange to see myself listed as the petitioner and to see him listed as the respondent; to have a relationship that spanned more than a decade come down to a list of assets, debts and possessions, with neat columns for Wife and Husband. A life built together, neatly divided into his and hers, separate and apart.

“WHEREAS, irreconcilable differences have arisen in the marriage of the parties…”

Well, that’s putting it mildly.

Once we both sign these papers, agreeing to the division of our property, it’s all over but the waiting. On July 14th, 2010, I will file for my divorce decree that will legally change my marital status. A year and a day from the date of separation, and although all it really means is that I can’t remarry until then (not a concern of mine), it seems like a long time to wait.

It’s a very strange and awkward feeling, to go from feeling as if you know someone intimately, from having an intimate relationship like a marriage, to awkward strangers. Friends? No. Not right now. I think it’s probably impossible to move on, to move forward, to process the loss and try to be friends. Also, there are other reasons why I don’t feel like the ex is any friend of mine, really. I’m not angry or spiteful or bitter, but nor do I have much desire to maintain such a casual bond with someone who, for so long, my bond was anything but casual.

This isn’t just the end of a marriage, either. It’s the end of a dream. Lots of dreams. Dreams I had of bringing children into this world, of walking hand and hand into the sunset of old age with someone who had been there my whole adult life. The death of silver anniversaries and the obviously futile hope that at some point the drama and chaos and calamity would end and we would find ourselves on the same side of the fence again.

Make no mistake, this is what I want. It’s what I need, what’s best for me, it’s the truth of my heart and soul. I don’t love him anymore. He doesn’t love me anymore. When I look into his eyes, a cold and untrustworthy stranger looks back at me. I drive myself crazy wondering if it was his eyes that changed, or the accuracy of my assessment.

Still, in looking at these papers, at the cold and factual details of our dissolution, I’m driven to write my own papers. To bring the same sense of formality and finality to my leftover emotions. To say the things I will probably never say, both because he doesn’t deserve to hear them and because they’re my private thoughts and feelings, which he will never be privy to again. So, instead, I’ll settle for a little James Taylor.

Well, people got used to seeing them both together
But now he's gone and life goes on
Nothing lasts forever, oh no
She gets the house and the garden
He gets the boys in the band
Some of them his friends
Some of them her friends
Some of them understand
Lord knows that this is just a small town city
Yes, and everyone can see you fall
It's got nothing to do with pity
I just wanted to give you a call
It used to be your town
It used to be my town, too
You never know 'till it all falls down
Somebody loves you
Somebody loves you
Darling, somebody still loves you
I can still remember
When it used to be her town, too
It used to be your town
It used to be my town, too
-James Taylor
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11 Responses

  1. I send you hugs and wet dog keeses and fluffy clouds.

    thanks, lady. i love you.

  2. It may suck, but you know ultimately it’s just a milestone on the path you want to take. :-)

    it is, and i know that i’m better for having walked the path.

  3. so sad and heartbreaking. :(

    it can be, sometimes. there’s a beauty in it too, though.

  4. Very powerful post (as always… :) ). It really captures the emotions of separation and loss.

    thanks.

  5. I hated signing papers. Blech. But I remember thinking that my ex felt like such a stranger—he seemed like no one I would ever want to spend time with. It was so strange. I wish you the best—hold tight to the fact that you know you are doing the right thing. xoxo

    i don’t mind dealing with the papers. i just wish that was the ending and not the beginning of the ending, you know?

  6. Continue doing what you do well: writing and being brave.

    i will. i promise. and thank you. :)

  7. It is possible to eventually be friends. It’s funny, I’m totally cool with my first ex… we were too young and the woman he’s married to now seems like a good fit for him.

    My second ex…I sortve wish I could just erase that whole chapter of my life.

    The 3rd is actually the hardest… on one hand, the few times we’ve seen each other socially since the divorce it’s been like it always was. And even though I’d wanted the divorce for a long time, I cried after the court hearing that made things final. And I cried on the 1st anniversary of the divorce. And I want him to move on and find someone new and be happy, but will be perfectly happy if I never meet the person he ends up with.

    I understand, though, how hard it is to see an emotional attachment end in what is pretty much a business transaction. And I think when we cry in these situations it isn’t for the person or even the relationship, it’s for the broken dreams.

    I know it seems like a long wait, but when next July rolls around, you’ll wonder where the time went. ::HUGS::

    i’m doing the best i can to preserve goodwill between us, because yes, i would like to be friends at some point. that point being after the awkwardness has lessened, when i can look at him and see a man, a friend, a piece of my past, and not the man that used to hold me while i slept.

  8. finality is so weird.

    but just because those dreams of anniversaries and children and other happy things are no longer a possibility with your ex, well, that doesn’t mean they’re not possible. you’re still young, and someday you might find somebody who wants all those things, and wants them with you. hard to imagine right now, but i would encourage you to try. :)

    i know, i know. it’s hard to think about starting over at 29, though, and getting to the point where i can have those things (namely children) with someone i love enough to trust after all of this. at this point, i’m not seeing the potential.

  9. I’m with courtney on this one… Bringing children into the world, walking hand-in-hand into the sunset of old age – all of that is abso-fucking-lutely still possible, and probable, actually. Just maybe not the part about it being someone you’ve known all your adult life. That may be a blessing, however. It means you get to learn about someone, and fall in love with them, when they know more about themselves than anyone does at 21. And you don’t have to be trapped by someone’s conception of you that was created at a time when you were only part of all you are now. You are an amazing, awesome, beautiful woman. Recover yourself, pamper yourself, have fun exploring this new phase of your life. Don’t get hung up on the age thing – PLEASE!! Believe me. I spent far too much time in my 30s hearing nothing but a clock. Smash the clocks and just trust that you have no idea how your life with blossom, but that it will.

    This was incredible. Thank you. I will save this and refer to it often. <3

  10. there is only the future.

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