Monthly Archives: November 2011

I Hate Being Divorced From You

I immediately contacted a lawyer.

I explained to her my situation.  I wasn’t able to afford a long, drawn-out divorce battle, and my in-laws were holding the Quitclaim Deed hostage.  My husband and I had nothing to fight over, really, but his parents’ cruel and intrusive involvement was making things far messier than they needed to be.

Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do.  California is a no-fault state as far as divorces go, so I really couldn’t plead with the judge for some favoritism.  I had to re-focus on moving forward with the paperwork, and accept the fact that I’d have to split everything 50/50.  I was doing all the work, and even helping my husband along, just to get the damn thing done.  I knew, deep down, he would do nothing.  

After all, he was out of the country.  Per usual.

The lawyer gave me sound advice, and, for a nominal retainer, helped guide me through the paperwork.  It would take about six months for the whole thing to go through, provided my husband’s cooperation.   There might still be a way for me to keep my house, but the lawyer posed an interesting question.

“Do you really want the responsibility of a house at this time in your life?”

I sighed.

I didn’t know.  I just didn’t want to lose everything.  To me, the house was a symbol of maturity; adulthood.  It meant I was responsible.  I loved my home, and I wanted the safety and security that accompanied it.

For the next month or so, my journal entries were full of anxiety and confusion.  I had re-entered my social life, and it was met with enthusiasm, support and encouragement. It felt good to return to some sense of “normalcy”, yet the old life was still hanging on.  I had random bouts of grief, where I felt crazy, inconsolable and out of control.  I had random crushes on men, all of which I knew were futile to pursue or entertain.  I wasn’t ready to move forward in that area of my life, at all.

I wrote out my crazy.

Feeling extremely lonely.  Sad.  Vulnerable.  Frustrated.  Wishing my husband would email me and just BE A MAN.  Seriously.  Wishing a man would take me in his arms and love me. 

Why can’t anyone love me?  Oh, my heart, my heart longs for love, my heart longs for someone who loves You, who will love me.  God, forgive me for being impatient.  There’s my husband, whom I still love.  Or do I?  Do I love him?

All of this distraction and I’m not focusing on my divorce.  It’s hard to let go of the life that I loved with my husband.  I loved my life with him.  I don’t know how to wrap it all up – not sure what was right and was truly was wrong.  I am so easily distracted and disappointed in myself. 

I know I have to heal.  And I cannot hurry anything up.  Patience, not immediacy.

I pray about the divorce and the next step I’m supposed to take.  Oh, LORD, it’s terrifying and I feel paralyzed.  I want to go back to a month ago where everything was clear, where I trusted You 100%.  It was just You and me, God.  And it still is, but I’m getting foolish…I feel like crying, I feel like being bad, I feel like I want to crawl under the covers and sleep for a week. 

I’m so real and raw it’s scary.

And then, out of the blue on a typical June Gloom day, I received an email from my husband. It was simple.  He hated being divorced from me.

Little did I know, he was a newly engaged man.

Divorcing the In-Laws

I left the Conrads parking lot that evening, feeling a sense of peace and closure.

My husband filed a response to my petition for divorce the next day.  He also signed and notarized the Quitclaim Deed so that I would become the sole owner of our house.  I asked him if he could bring the document over.  I was playing “Harmless Housesitter” for my neighbors, Lisa and Laura.  They had taken the steps to adopt our dog, Wimbley, and I wondered if my husband wanted to come over and see him, and, frankly, say goodbye.

He responded, and told me that he was leaving that night.  It would be too hard for him to see our dog and our house.  He said he’d be back in LA soon, but he didn’t know when.  He also said that he’d like to see me when he got back.  He anticipated emailing me, and if I ever wanted to correspond with him, all I had to do was just tell him.

Feeling a surge of compassion, I wrote him back.

I’m broken up, too.  Hurting a lot.  It’s been a long, hard, hard road and I still wish that you would choose me.  But I understand that you can’t/won’t, and it’s ok.  Too much time has passed, and too much damage has been done.  God has something good in store for both of us.  I have been praying for, and will continue to, pray for you.

Take care of yourself.  Don’t waste your heart on some silly “hot” girl.  Wait for the real thing, because you are an incredible person.  God wants to restore you; God wants to redeem this messy situation, and He will bless you.  He will.  Be careful and make good choices.  And you will see how God takes care of you and heals you.  He will heal you.

I’m not trying to preach at you, I just felt that those words should be shared.  And, at the risk of going overboard, I’m attaching that song that has spoken to me so much over these past few weeks.

I hope your parents and your family know how much I love them.  I understand we are all hurting right now, and I also understand that blood is thicker than water, but I just wanted to put it out there.  I love you all.

Safe travels – may God be with you.

He thanked me and told me he loved me.  It made me sad.  Yet, I breathed a sigh of relief.  The paperwork had been completed, and I could now move forward in my life.  My husband, although lost, had actually made a responsible and wise decision.  I had hoped it would be the first of many.

A few hours later, that sense of peace and closure I felt was immediately ripped from me.  To my surprise, I received an email from my father-in-law.


I read the email and freaked out.  I immediately got on the phone and called my father-in-law.  I was upset, angry, frustrated and hurt.  These people had meddled in my marriage and my life one too many times. I wasn’t going to take it anymore.  The conversation was fruitless – I could not reason with either of them.  I told my father-in-law that he was “just a flea”.  He could not hurt me, no matter how hard he tried.  I actually understood that his cruel words were out of his own pain, confusion and disappointment in himself and his son.

Before I hung up, I told my in-laws that I loved them both, and I loved their son.  There wasn’t anything they could do, or say, to take that from me.

My eyes – although blinded by tears of hurt and confusion – were being opened.  I might be losing everything in my divorce, but I was gaining more.

I was gaining freedom.

Maybe We’ll Work it Out Someday

Wednesday came.

I was wisely dubious of my husband’s intentions to actually show up at either the Mediation or marriage counseling appointment.  Sure enough, he had an excuse, and wanted to re-schedule the appointment with the Mediator.  I was beyond frustrated, but not surprised.  The Mediator had a stick-it-to-you 48-hour cancelation policy, and charged $350.00 an hour.   I didn’t have the money to shell out for my husband’s no-show.  I panicked, called and pleaded for grace in canceling the appointment only 24 hours prior.  The Mediator extended it to me.   I’m sure she has to deal with flaky people all the time.

Furthermore, my husband refused to attend the final meeting I had set up with our marriage counselor.  I was firm with him – I did not want to see or talk to him without a third party present.  I knew that I wouldn’t be able to withhold my emotions, and I didn’t feel like being manipulated any further.  We exchanged emails regarding the matter, but he patently refused to attend.

He didn’t want to meet with anyone but me, and also didn’t want to be flogged with failure.  He accepted responsibility for contributing to the demise of our marriage, but also felt that he had tried.

I told him I was still going, regardless.  He asked me to meet him afterward.  After much deliberation (and encouragement from my marriage counselor), I agreed.  Perhaps this meeting would bring the closure I had been looking for, all along.

I left my appointment and trudged across the street to Conrads.  Ironically, the restaurant was situated directly across the street from my counselor’s office — at the church where we had been married ten years earlier.

My husband was waiting for me in a sunken booth by the window.  My heart sank when I saw him.  Yet, as I scooted into the vinyl seating across from him, it all felt so familiar; comfortable.  I half expected him to crack some inside, lighthearted joke about the whole ordeal, and then we’d forget about the whole thing and just go home, take Wimbley on a walk and watch TV, as if nothing had ever happened.

Other couples struggled and got divorced.  That was never us.  It wasn’t ever supposed to be us.

For a fleeting moment, I forgot that I didn’t know him anymore.

People change.

I ordered a cheap glass of red wine and an expensive, low-quality chicken salad.  We attempted conversation, but it kept going back to the old, familiar arguments.  I hadn’t supported him when he “needed me most”.  He hadn’t communicated with me when I needed the security of our relationship – especially after the trust was betrayed, and then further broken. 

At some point during the conversation, I encouraged my husband to immediately file a response to my petition for divorce, and then asked him to relinquish the house over to me via a Quitclaim Deed that I had already prepared.  His job was to get it signed, notarized and delivered to me.  The house would be mine.  He agreed.

And then, he cried.

I sat there and watched him, and felt like a cold-hearted bitch.  I was still angry with him.  Perhaps I was even more frustrated than angry.  Deep down, I wanted to believe that he hadn’t become this new person that I genuinely didn’t like.  Yet, his actions spoke louder than any of his words, or tears.  In 24 hours, he’d be back on a plane to Australia.  Same, familiar story.  Always about the story.

We finished our meal, not really having resolved anything.  We walked to our separate vehicles.  I noticed he was driving his parents’ car.

He asked me if he could hug me.  I bristled, but finally allowed it.

As his arms enveloped me, his familiar scent wafted into my nose.  I relaxed, and wrapped my arms around him.  Tighter.  We held each other.  A tidal wave of emotion washed over me and released itself in the form of a single tear.  My body sighed.

I didn’t need to look up at him to know that he was crying, as well.

After what felt like an eternity, we let go of each other.

Our marriage just ended across the street from where it began, I thought to myself.  I took a sharp breath in through my nostrils.

I started to open my car door, but turned back for a moment.
“Hey,” I offered, hesitantly – “Do you want to hear a song I sang recently?”

“Sure,” he said.  He always liked hearing me sing.

He walked around to the passenger side of my car and slid into the seat.

I pushed play, and we sat and listened to an extremely rough recording of me singing a very beautiful, poignant and moving song.

How high, how wide –
no matter where I am, healing is in Your hands.

After the song finished, we sat in utter, complete silence.  I stared out the windshield at the sun setting behind the scattered clouds.  The flourescent parking light buzzed, then flickered on and off, on and off.  I could feel the heat of my husband’s body next to me.  He breathed, slowly: in through his nose, then out.   An elderly couple exited the restaurant and grabbed hands as they walked to their car.  Somewhere, in the distance, I heard a crow caw.

I finally broke the silence with a random thought.

“Do I need to get tested again?”

He spoke softly.  “No.”

He fumbled for the door handle, then looked at me.  “Maybe we’ll work it out someday.”

I shrugged.  “Who knows?”

“I love you, Leslie,” he said, as he got out of the car. “I have never shut the door on you; on us.  I don’t think I ever will.”

“And I love you,”  I answered, truthfully.

He then shut the door and walked away.

You Didn’t Ever Fight For Me

Very shortly thereafter, I got drunk.

That weekend, I was scheduled to housesit for Jeff and Jenny, and take care of their sweet dog, Mia.  I was exhausted from the day’s events, and asked Andrea to come over and stay with me.

I didn’t want to be alone.

She brought flowers, two bottles of champagne, and beer, just in case.  We drank the champagne pretty quickly and ended up outside, running around, giggling and playing tag within the confines of the white picket fence.  I did handstands and cartwheels.  Eventually we collapsed into a heap of laughter on the front lawn, laid on our backs and watched shooting stars fall from the sky.  We dubbed ourselves, “The Harmless Housesitters”.   It felt good to “play” and temporarily escape the surge of pain that was sure to hit after I emotionally processed what had just happened.

We woke up the next morning and giggled our way to Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘n Waffles for breakfast.   I publicly announced my drunkenness and lack of a bra on Facebook and, frankly, didn’t give a shit.  I had been hiding for a long time.  It felt good to finally look — and be — imperfect.

I spent the rest of the day on Jeff and Jenny’s sunny porch, writing.

I am not strong.  I am weak and needy. Sad, lonely, hurt.  Incredibly hurt that my husband made the choices he did.  We were happy, I thought.  I was happy with him.  I didn’t want to be divorced.  And even though it’s a nice fantasy to think that there is someone out there who will love me and be affectionate; warm and caring – do I really believe it?  Will the love go away?  Who really will love me?

God, I am having a hard time now – the effects of the nervousness have worn off, as has the beer.  And at the end of the day I am alone.  My husband will leave for Australia in one week and I probably will never see him again.

God, I know You are sovereign over all creation and situations.  You have my life in Your grip. You have his.  And You have our marriage.

I genuinely do not want to be married to him anymore.  His journey is far too long and vast – I believe You can perform miracles but I don’t know what Your plan is.

And still – he was the one.  My husband.  My favorite person in the world.  Who betrayed himself, first.  And hurt me deeper than I have ever thought imaginable.  My husband, so plagued by his sin, could no longer truly love me.  And it hurt so badly and it still hurts so much…there really wasn’t closure but how CAN there be?  He’s tragically incapable of doing anything, taking any responsibility.

Yet he will forever remain a part of my soul.  My husband, whom I loved so much.  And still love.  And lost. 

I am scarred, broken.  But I know I am healing.

A couple of days later I had dinner with Tim, Joseph, Katie, Curt and Kathy.  Tim and my husband had met for coffee earlier in the day.  Tim sensed my husband was experiencing a major internal struggle.  He expressed his concern and wonderment at the whole thing  — and told me he was continuing to pray for our reconciliation.

I was confused.  I had the support of all of our friends, but I didn’t want any of them to pray for the reconciliation of my marriage.  I was done.  I had already experienced the final death of the relationship and done all of the work to end it, “amicably”.  My husband did nothing, showed up and told me he was done, and got to walk away, scott-free.

I had lost – and was continuing to lose – everything.  I just wanted to focus on getting the divorce done.  I had just a few days left while my husband was in town, so I had to take advantage of it.  I made an appointment with both the Mediator and our marriage counselor.

I emailed my husband:
If you have any time I think it would be good to talk through the mediation paperwork so we can save some money (time) on Thursday.



He offered to meet up with me that night, and somewhere in Pasadena around 8:00 would work.

I mostly need to get information from you.  I can just photocopy the forms that she gave me and you can fill them out.  Any way we can calmly fill out info and allow the mediator to teach us the process will be good. Could we could make it 7:00?  You name the place, I can’t think of one.

He suggested the Yard House.  It immediately stung my heart.

I’d kind of prefer not to go there, since we were there for our wedding anniversary.
I need you to bring all of your bank info (even Australia bank), Sallie Mae, credit cards, etc.  Don’t worry, it’s just information.

He then suggested Lucky Baldwin’s, because he wanted a beer.

I made an appointment with (our marriage counselor) at 5:00 for Wednesday, Maybe we should just meet then?  Unless you want to meet tonight, too.

He didn’t feel like talking about anything, but if I wanted to meet up with him for any other reason, then he was up for it.

I don’t know what else there is to talk about, I guess. Both people are done with a relationship.  I just want it to end well.

He disagreed with such a thing as “ending it well”.  He was tired of fighting, arguing, feeling like he was hurting, and being hurt.

Me too.
I guess if you could hug me one more time I’d really like that, but I don’t trust you at all and I don’t think you really, truly care.
I’m tired of fighting with you.  We are both losing.  Nobody wins.  I never wanted this.
You didn’t ever fight for me.

He didn’t feel like getting into it, and said that he was going for a walk.

Ahh, yes, the walk.  I remember that well. OK.
See you Wednesday.

He balked at my response.

I’m sorry.  I just have sad memories of the last walk you took.
No more digs.
We can end this well.  I want to, because I love you.  And you are free.  I am setting you free.

He never wanted to be free, and said that he never would be.  He just wanted understanding.

I know.  I hear you.
And I just wanted to be loved and not left.

You Got Served

I woke up the very first morning at Curt and Kathy’s, my heart pounding.  I had just experienced a very vivid dream, wherein I yelled at my husband:

Later that day, I received an email from him.  It was almost as if I had conjured him up.

He was flying back to LA in a little over a week. He needed money to book his plane ticket, and a check would be arriving at our house very soon.  He asked me to deposit it into his account.

I never responded.  I was too exhausted from the move to even deal with him, but I was still anxious about getting him served.  I prayed and journaled.

It was interesting to hear Curt voice, “You left your husband”.  I guess that I did.  I left my confused, narcissistic, derelict, infidel husband, who is still hurting me with his insistence on getting information from me…I don’t NEED or WANT this.  I want him served, and OUT OF MY LIFE!  I want a NEW life; I want to be whole; I want to be LESLIE SPENCER and meet someone new.  I PRAY he can be served this week, before he comes home (if he even comes back)…after me packing the house and saying goodbye to it and my old life and my neighbors…

Such sadness now.  Reality once again.  God, have mercy on me.  God, hear my cries.  You see my tears.

I am not strong.  I am tired of being strong.

Nothing I ever thought would be.  I kind of want to die.

Two days later, my husband emailed me again.
I don’t want to be rude, or pushy, Les, but that money is a little important. If you can’t or won’t do it, can you at least let me know where the mail is going so I can try and get someone else to deposit?

I was furious, but knew that any emotional reaction would only just hurt me in the long run.  I vented to my best friend, Joy.


Okay, I feel better.

I then carefully responded to the email.
I understand how important money is.  All of your mail has been forwarded to your parents’ address, so you should contact them about the check. The new tenant is not responsible for our mail.

Ten days passed.  He finally re-appeared.

April 29, 2010
I just landed in LA. It feels like a different planet. I have no idea where you are or what you want to do.

April 30, 2010
I know that you are probably dreading seeing me…or to be honest I have no idea what you are feeling. Absolutely no idea. I will be here for a week then I go back to Oz. I’ll be in Pasadena later today, I think, if you want to see me…I don’t like emailing you like I would a stranger…

I panicked.  The one-legged ex-boyfriend/process server had not gotten the chance to serve my husband the papers.  I learned that he had actually tried to make an appointment to see my husband, but the people at the magazine offices said he wasn’t available, or didn’t know when he’d be “in”.   I thanked the dear guy for all his time and hard work, and offered him my first-born son.  Via FedEx, of course.

We both agreed it was a valiant effort, and became Facebook friends.

At least my husband was back in town.  I had to figure out a Plan B.

It just so happened that our dear friend and former pastor, Tim, had flown in from his new home in Portland, Oregon.  He was in town for the week to take a class at Fuller Seminary.  Tim was really the only close friend of my husband’s that I had ever trusted to be a good influence in his life.  Ever since discovering the truth about my husband and his small “cast of characters”/travel companions, I was sickened at the very thought of them, and their life choices.  His crew has manipulated, deceived and hurt a lot of people.  Most of us have stopped “drinking the Koolaid”, so to speak.  I pray for the ones who are left.

I digress.

When the affair was first revealed, Tim was the only person to whom my husband would talk, or listen.

I met up with Tim over dinner at Joseph and Katie’s and threw out the idea of him serving my husband the divorce papers.  He did not hesitate, and agreed to be “on call”.  Although it wouldn’t be as dramatic as the covert, one-legged, serve-your-papers-in-a-pizza-box operation, I knew that God had worked it out in His perfect timing.  My husband would be served by a good, faithful friend.  The intention was to do it with love and grace.

Everybody needs some grace.

I cannot think of a better person to have executed the deed.  I also started to think that I’d probably want to hang onto my firstborn son, should I be blessed with one.

May 1, 2010

YOU ARE ON THE PATH OF MY CHOOSING.  There is no randomness about your life.


He was served yesterday at Curt and Kathy’s.  He had emailed me in the afternoon asking to see me and I texted Tim; asked him if he could do it that day.  Yes.  So husband showed up at 2:00 p.m.  I was playing the piano when he arrived.  I answered the door.

“How are you?” I said, as I opened it.  I didn’t know him.  He was a different person.  Total stranger.

“Uhhh, not that great,” he answered.

“Want something to drink?”  I offered.

“What are you drinking?”  he asked.


“I’ll have some water.”

“I’ve got cheap beer, too.”

“Yeah, I’ll take cheap beer.”

We go outside.  Commence conversation.  He wanted to know what I was up to.  I told him.  Back at the Co-Op, doing a show in July, singing in a casual band.

And then I noticed he wasn’t wearing his ring.  It made me flub my words a bit…finally I got to the point:

“Why are you here?  What do you want from me?”  I asked.

He was unable to accurately explain.  Talked about how he was done, finished, and — “looking at you now, I still feel finished.”

I said, “Okay, well, to be honest, I filed for divorce and Tim is coming over right now to serve you papers.”

“Why do I have to be served?”

“Because it’s legal.”

And we argued.  Talked about the house.  He won’t give me the house; said he wanted me to buy him out, and he would give me “a deal”.  Clearly he just wants money.  Then he talked about how I ruined it all – he really needed me, and my support while he was in Australia, but it just broke down; I cut off communication, etc.

It was just all the same bullshit storyline.  I’m not buying it anymore.

He asked me what I had been up to but I didn’t want to share very much.  He asked why, and I told him he wasn’t in my life anymore.  And that the lesson I have learned was that you don’t leave the person you love.  Ever.  I said I’d take that into my second marriage – you don’t leave.

Tim showed up, and talked with him.  I went up to my room but eavesdropped from the top of the stairs.  My husband was spouting off about me, how I said “this and that”, sent a “constant barrage” of emails. Tim, being the gracious and patient pastor and person that he is, observed that we were not hearing each other.  True.  poor communication.  Husband accused me of throwing him under the bus to everyone, to which I yelled from the top of the stairs, “NO, THE STORY SPEAKS FOR ITSELF”.

He yelled back, “YEAH, OUT OF YOUR MOUTH!”


After a while, I rejoined Tim and Husband, and talked to Husband about his sick stories I found in The Man House.  He denied, denied.  I asked why I would make up the Russian interpretation.  Why would he write his Leave Them Wanting Less stories and have detailed accounts of his sexual history?

“I have no sexual history,” he replied.

I calmly said, “YES, YOU DO.”

Ugh!!  The lies, the denial.  De-ni-a-l.  I don’t have to DEAL with him anymore, thank you Lord!

Husband talked with Tim some more and Tim told him he needed to be wiling to sacrifice his career for his marriage.  Husband flat out was — and is — NOT willing to do that.

“All she wants is kids,” he spat.

“And why is that bad?”  Tim asked, gently.

Husband accused me of wanting it only my way, and he would be stifled by it.  He argued that “traditional” was not who he was, and I knew that when I married him.  And he was, in part, right.  But eventually I DID and DO want “traditional” things, like, say, stability?  A family!  A faithful husband.

Tim finally left.

Husband wanted to talk to me.  I went downstairs.  I handed him his bank stuff and checks, along with the $300.00 I had received from the sale of his motorcycle.  He refused it.

He held the manila envelope.  Served.

He held his head in his hands, and started to cry.

“This is tragic,” he said, quietly. I think I saw a tear fall.

I pointed out that he got what he wanted.  I also told him I thought he was sick.  I was grabbing my own hair and saying, “YOU ARE SICK, HUSBAND.  SICK.”

But in the end: he was sitting there – looked pretty bad.  Very skinny, bags under his eyes.  Emptiness behind his eyes.  I started to cry, a bit, and apologized for the awful things I had said in the past.

I explained that this was not what I had wanted, even back on that September night when I learned the truth.  But now it WAS what I wanted.  I had moved too far forward to take a step back.  I kept saying that Husband would find someone else, and it wouldn’t take him long.

“Why do you say that?” he asked.

I just looked at him.

“Why are you looking at me like that?”  His voice got a bit higher.

“Come ON,” was my response.

NOT ONCE did he apologize.  Not ever.  Blame, blame, blame.

He asked me where I was going to church.  I said I didn’t want to tell him.  He wanted to know why.

“Can’t you guess where I’m going to church?”

He guessed correctly, and asked me how it was.

“It’s really good.”

And then he wanted to know how Joseph and Katie were doing.  I started to cry.

“They are great.”

I told Husband that I had – and always will have – fond memories of our marriage.  It was great.  We were good together.  I had no regrets; I gave all I could and he said that he felt the same way, so we could just agree that it was mutual.  Over.

“Sometimes,” I explained, “there has to be a death in order for a resurrection.”

I asked him why he was there.  What was his plan?  If he was done, then was he going to file?  Why was he back in LA, anyway?  How was he going to end it?

He said he didn’t have a plan.
“I’m not like you.”

He told me I never gave him a chance.  He said he was owed money “all over the world”, and he knew he was bad about collecting it.  He needed a Secretary to help him.  Like me.

What the fuck?  I’m not going to be anybody’s Secretary.

I said I was glad he was making money, and good luck with it.

UGH.  SO gross.

Then I said I thought he should have done whatever it took to save the marriage.  If he truly wanted it, then he would have been willing.  HE GOT WHAT HE WANTED.

“You’re free,” I said.

“We could have been free together,” he replied.

“No, we couldn’t have.”

THEN – he asked me if we “could at least go to lunch or something.”

My mouth dropped open.

“Why not?”

“Because it’s not a good idea.”

WHAT THE FUCK!??!?!?  You just got served and you’re asking me out?  Really?!  What part of NO don’t you comprehend?  You don’t have “an affairs” and then keep leaving your wife and expect her to stick around.


So then he asked me if I wanted him to leave.  I hesitated and semi-shook my head.  He asked if I were glad he was going back to Australia.

“No. I never like it when you leave.  I never have.”

He got up to leave.  I walked him to the door.

“I should have done whatever it took,” he said to me, sunglasses on.

“Yeah, you should have.”

“That’s the story.  That will be the story I will write for the rest of my life.”

Always about the stupid story.

He walked out the door, but turned back around.  I think he was going to say something, but I had already closed it – firmly – and walked away.

I never looked back.

Goodbye, House

I had two weeks to move out.

Within ten days, I sold the majority of our belongings, and stored only those items I figured I would need for my future: the digital upright piano, music, kitchen items, a table, and a couch. My plan was to live with Curt and Kathy for at least six months, and then move back into my house once my tenant’s lease was up.

I was beyond determined to keep my house, but for the time being, I had to let it go.

So many people helped me.  My college (now close) friend Jessica, came over on Easter Sunday and helped me sort through and throw away a bunch of clothes. My sisters came over frequently and let me put them to work scrubbing floors, cleaning out the hot tub and sorting through more clothes and jewelry.

Andrea helped me exorcise The Man House.  In a ridiculous ceremony filled mostly with laughter, a couple of beers and — shall I say —  “unladylike” gestures, we re-named the space “The Vagina Mansion”.

My dad called and/or came over every day to help with whatever I needed.  He is such a good man.

Church and theatre friends responded to my pleas for help by buying, transporting or storing furniture.

My neighbor, Lisa, spent hours helping me pack and organize the garage.

My college roommate left her husband and three children 200 miles north to spend the last weekend in my house with me.  We cleaned, scrubbed, organized and giggled, just like old times.

One of the sisters of my husband’s “cast of characters” came that weekend, as well, and cleaned out my refrigerator, amongst many other daunting tasks.  We worked alongside one another and marveled at the strength of women.

The house was filled with love and support, even though it was being emptied of the remnants of my ten-year marriage.

During the days, I felt beyond blessed.  Nights were harder.

God, I need to be honest: I am so sad.  I am sad that my husband left me.  He won’t even communicate with me.  I know that his problems run deep and that his absence really doesn’t have anything to do with me. It’s all HIM.  But it is still very hurtful; painful to have been abandoned.  Cast aside.  Rejected. Strangely, I don’t have ill will toward him. I wish I meant enough to him for him to turn his life around.  But, again, I can’t turn this on myself.  I guess not having ANY answers is what is so frustrating.

LORD GOD, I wanted to be married.  I wanted a husband and a home and a family.  And now I am single, homeless and unemployed.

God, I don’t understand.  Fill me. Fill my emptiness.  YOU are here.  You.

In the midst the moving frenzy, I was trying to figure out a way to get my husband served.  I had started the process of divorce by filing, but he needed to legally “receive the message” and then file a response, in order for the divorce to move forward.

The problem was that I had no idea where he could possibly be, or if I’d ever see him again.

I became increasingly anxious.  I just wanted him out of my life, but had to do it properly.

Since I had decided to forgo using a lawyer, I researched the serving process as best I could.  I narrowed it down to two options: (a) hire a process server in Australia to hunt him down, or (b) serve via publication in an Australian newspaper.  Neither seemed very promising until Option A fell into my lap.

My dear college friend, Melissa, had a one-legged ex-boyfriend (yes, true) who was now married and living in Australia.  He just so happened to have worked as a process server at one point in his life (pre or post-motorcycle accident, I am not sure).  Melissa got in touch with him.  After hearing my story, he offered to take a day off work to drive to Sydney to track down and serve my husband the divorce papers, free of charge.

It seemed like an amazing plan, so I immediately him sent the papers via FedEx.  It would take a little while, but my anxiety was relieved.  Thank God for one-legged ex-boyfriends/international process servers who are skilled in covertly hunting down douchebags.

Then, unexpectedly, I received an email from my husband.  He didn’t know where I was, what I was up to, how I was feeling or what my plans were.  He also wanted to know if his check had arrived.

My heart was filled with anxiety once again.  I was no longer committed to picking up the pieces of our obliterated marriage, yet I was hurt and infuriated by my husband’s continued selfishness.

I carefully worded my response.

It’s been a long time since we have communicated.  I honestly would prefer to talk to you in person, not over email anymore.

The last check that came through was at the end of February.  Nothing since.

Do you have a mailing address in Australia?

He didn’t really have an address down under, but said I could send emergency mail to the magazine’s office.  He then told me of his plan: he would be returning to Los Angeles in a few weeks, and then return to Sydney.  Of course, we didn’t have to decide anything over email, but he was not happy with the way we ended, at all.  He went back and read through our emails from the start of his trip and was disappointed.  He explained that he was excited at the possibility of what we could have created, but that it had been shattered into a million pieces.

I shook and sobbed as I read the last part of the email.  I did not understand how he could still continue to freely blame me for the ending of our marriage, especially from thousands of miles away.  He never once lifted a moving box or wept over a picture in a frame. He didn’t even know I had filed for divorce, and he certainly didn’t seem to care.  Furthermore, I had just sent the papers to Australia; would he be home before he had a chance to get served?   I became angry at myself for not having filed for divorce the very second I had learned of his affair.

The very thought of his laziness and cowardice sent pulsating waves of rage, hate and malice through my blood.

But I did not have time to mourn or be angry.  I had to keep going.  I had to move out.

April 17, 2010

Everything is clean, done.  I am moved out.  I am sitting here on my deck for the last time in this chapter of my life. 

Amy drove with me over to Curt and Kathy’s before heading back home.  I have all my stuff there.  It’s hard.  God, I am sad and my heart is heavy.  The life I built here is gone.  And still my home remains, but nothing inside.  Oh, Lord, it breaks my heart.  So much work and time and I know You have a plan for me but I am still holding on.  God, I need your help in letting go.

Isaiah 41:10 ~ So do not fear, for I am with you: do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I went back inside after penning my prayer, and headed through the open hallway towards the back bedroom. There was a heaviness about the room as I entered.  Oh, that room where so much love and pain had been shared.  I took a picture of the sunlight as it struggled to stream in through the window and warm the freshly painted wall.

I wandered down the short hallway and snapped a picture of the bathroom, then the guest bedroom.  Then, I headed out to the main part of the 900 sq. foot house.

I sat down in the middle of my living room.  The original hardwood floors were still shiny and wet from having just been mopped.  I listened to the birds as they joyfully sang outside.  A gentle breeze floated through the open bay window. The sunlight poured in with ease and illuminated the deep, warm color of the floor. The house seemed so small in its emptiness, yet it seemed to creak, groan and yearn for newness and hope.

I sat, silent, only for a little while.  Goodbyes are never easy, but I would be back.  I took a deep breath, smiled, and patted the floor.

“Goodbye, House,” I whispered.

Little did I know that day, I would never set foot in my house again.