Posted on | July 18, 2011 | 11 Comments
Around 3:00 on Friday, the mail was passed out at the office. My boss’s secretary stepped tentatively into my office with a look of concern.
“It wasn’t marked personal,” she explained, holding out the opened mail. “I wouldn’t have opened it if it said personal.”
In her hand was a thick white envelope with my name on it. It had been carelessly ripped open and the stacks of paper inside were readily visable. The name on the return address clued me in to what was inside, but nothing actually prepared me for the knock out punch that holding the divorce papers in my hand would deliver.
The ones signed and notarized by my soon to be ex-husband. He had initialed every spot and signed on the dotted line. He was finished. Our marriage would be finished once I signed my name alongside his and attended one final meeting… just me and my attorney… and the judge.
I wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of emotions that would rush in when I held those papers and saw his scrawled signature across the bottom. I wasn’t prepared for the instantaneous transfer of my heart and soul to the Guilford County courthouse, two days before our wedding, when he and I stood and made small talk with the clerk as she prepared our marriage license. Nothing prepared me for the tears and the choking, gut-wrenching sobs that somehow exploded out of me as though they’d been held at bay by some invisible fence, broken by this paper, this signature.
It seems that no matter what I do, he still comes back. His face still haunts me. His words still break me. He somehow still has power over me.
I signed alongside his name.
I initialed the bottom of each page, watching the ink bleed slightly from my tears. There was no bleeding of ink where my husband signed. There were no tears shed when he waved his wrist and signed away our marriage.
This morning, I placed the papers into a white envelope and sealed them with a mouth too tired to object. I slid the envelope into the mail slot and listened to my dreams of happily ever after fall with a soft whisper against the cold metal box.