Monthly Archives: December 2011

New Me in New York

I went to New York last week.

Every time I fly in, I cry.  I don’t know how to explain it.  I just do.  I have always cried upon landing.  The minute I see the skyline, I burst into tears.

I think it’s because it feels like I am finally home.

The last time I flew into the City was in 2009.  I was flying back from Amsterdam, where I had just completed an almost two-week tour with the Brian Setzer Orchestra.  We toured Canada and parts of Europe.  I had gotten special permission to take a hiatus from my off-Broadway show.  My contract would end in just five weeks, and I was completely at a loss as to what I should do.

On the long flight back, the man sitting next to me had a mild heart attack.  He was sitting with his family and needed to lie down after the fact, so they asked me if I would mind giving up my seat.  The plane was full, so I was placed me in the jump seat for a few hours.  Finally, I was re-seated: in the very back.  It smelled like shit.  But, because I had been so nice and accommodating, I was given an extra glass of wine and a tiny porcelain Dutch house with the airline’s logo on the bottom.  I studied it for a moment, slammed my glass of wine, and started furiously writing.

July 19, 2009

On the plane back to New York…tour is over.  I had to change seats because they guy next to me just about died — wonder what they gave him as a “prize”?

Last night’s gig was amazing.  I was invited to fly in a private jet to Pori from Helsinki.  We drank Dom Perignon…what a treat!

Yet I couldn’t truly enjoy it.

My marriage is falling apart.  [My husband] is nicely trying to explain that his feelings for me have changed – that it broke him when I left (the first two months), and now he doesn’t need me like he used to.

He’s going on the road until mid-October and then not sure what, but it looks like six more months in Hawaii for whatever.  He wants me to stay in New York.  I don’t want to.  I regret everything; how could I not?  He says “our decision changed everything,” and “our relationship is different”.  All I know from that is doom and gloom.

I thought You wanted me in New York, God.  I thought I was supposed to be there.  I was wrong. 

I am numb.  I feel sick.  I single-handedly unraveled my marriage…  WHY?  Why didn’t I listen to the people who said DON’T GO?

And [husband] says I could have heart the sadness in his voice but obviously I was so self-centered and didn’t pay enough attention.  And now it is too late.

I don’t know when I’m going to see him again.

Part of me is angry that he gave up on me so easily.  I have sat at home for six years waiting for him to come back.  I have endured his selfishness and when it was finally my turn, it bit me in the ass.  I cried to him that I was so sorry but he deosn’t understand why I am so sad.  He says this opportunity (for him) would have never been a thought had I not left.  So, whoopee, I left, and a world of opportunity opened up for him and closed on me.

What is awful is that I am alone, broke and facing unemployment.  I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M GOING TO DO.  It is agonizing.  Crippling.  Heart-breaking.

Thoughts run through my head:

~He met someone else
~Maybe we should separate
~I will go back to LA until tour and then move to NY in January 2010.
~Where is God in all of this?  I thought we were special.  I thought we would prove to the world that our love was different; we were different, and that was good.
~What the heck is going to happen to my career?
~Will I be alone?
~Will I ever have children?
~Who am I, why am I here?  What am I supposed to do?
Going home solves nothing.  Perhaps it will provide some sort of solace for me after my 32nd birthday/contract ends.

~Where will he be on our 10th wedding anniversary?  Where will I be?
~Am I getting divorced?
~Why do I think such final, cryptic, awful thoughts?

I haven’t really slept in two days…how much longer is this suffering going to last?  I don’t have the strength to deal with this.  Last night, I Skyped [Husband] from my hotel room in Helsinki. I told him that I had no career or husband.  He said I have both but I can’t see it.  Maybe I am too pessimistic.  I am so grateful for my opportunities but maybe I’ve been granted too much freedom.

Maybe I am destined to have loved only him, but for a short period of time.

I can’t imagine loving anyone else.  I never want to get married ever again.  It’s too painful.  Maybe I’ll end up a bitchy old spinster in NYC with a sperm-bank baby when I am 40.  Gross.

I failed, God.  I failed, failed, failed.  I made my career too much of a priority and I missed the window of opportunity of grace and selflessness.

I don’t know what You are doing, God.  I don’t know how I can continue like this.  I shouldn’t have put everything into my marriage OR career.  And here I am, totally financially broke, totally broken.  Do with me what You will.  I want so much to turn away from You in my pain and brokenness but YOU ARE ALL I HAVE.

You, God, are all I have.

You are all I have.

You are the only one who knows me intimately and deeply and You are the only one here now.  There is no husband.  There is only You. You are my God.  And You give and You take away.

I don’t know what else to do but turn in absolute desperation to You.  I thought I knew what I was doing but it is so abundantly clear.

I don’t know what You have for me.
I don’t know what you have for my husband.
I don’t know if You still will have us together.  I don’t 
even know when I’m going to see my husband again.

I have to let him go.

It hurts.  It’s not fair.



Five weeks later, I would fly out of New York, back to Los Angeles.  I sobbed and sobbed upon leaving, because I didn’t know when I’d be back again.  I would return, just a few short months later (via tour bus), but my world was upside down.  It was hard to be back in New York during that time.  I was working so hard to save my doomed marriage.

Fast forward to December 19, 2011.  For the first time in two years, I finally returned home.

I gazed out the small airplane window as we landed, yearning to see that skyline I love so much.  It just so happened that I was seated on the wrong side of the plane, so all I saw was Long Island City and Queens.  Still, it was enough to send me into my typical, blubbering blurb of salty tears.

Tears of joy.

I gathered my luggage, wrapped my scarf around my neck and fought my way towards a NYC taxi.  I wanted to clap and squeal when I slid into the backseat of the cab; I wanted to hug my cab driver and pat the turban around his head.  I wanted to kiss the pavement, but I maintained my composure.

It just felt so good – so right – to be back.

My schedule was full for my brief trip to the City.  The next day, after breakfast in Union Square with a talented friend, I strolled up Broadway.  I popped into my favorite dish store, Fishs Eddy, to do some Christmas shopping.  I had about an hour to kill before my next reunion with a dear friend, so I continued to happily wander around.

As I found myself nearing the Flatiron District, I stopped, and gazed up at the Empire State Building.   Something didn’t feel right, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

And then I remembered.

The last time I was in the neighborhood was with my (ex) husband.  It was March of 2009, just a few weeks after I had moved to the City.  It would be the only time my husband would visit me in the short seven months I lived there.

I don’t remember many details, or why we were in the area, but I do remember exactly where we sat.  We took a picture, with the Empire State Building looming in the background.  We both have forced smiles on our faces.  My husband spent the majority of our time together that weekend, texting his lover.

All of this came flooding back to me as I stared up at the Empire State Building.  Out of the blue, I started to cry.  The old, familiar grief welled up inside of me and I had to let it out.  I pulled up the same chair I had sat upon with my husband, nearly three years ago, sat down, and allowed myself to sob, quietly.

That moment surprised me.  Grief will sneak up on you at the most unexpected moments.  At the same time, I felt a sense of renewal and strength.


As I wiped my tears away, I silently reclaimed New York for me again.  Then, I slowly realized that it had always been mine.  I was supposed to be there in 2009, no matter what. I hadn’t failed at anything.  As I reflected upon the New Me in New York, I marveled at how easily I fit back in.  It actually felt like I hadn’t ever left.  Nothing about the City had changed in two years, except for one thing.

I am the one who has changed.

In a few short days, 2012 will be upon us.  I have no idea what is in store for me in this New Year, but I am hopeful and expectant.  Funny how my questions have remained the same over the past few years.  I still wonder what the heck is going to happen with my career.  I still yearn to live in New York.  I still wonder if I’ll ever have children.

For now, I know this:  There is no rush to arrive.  We never, truly “arrive”.  More importantly, we never miss any window of opportunity for grace.   I’ll always be embarking upon a journey, and I hope to keep changing and growing into the woman that God wants me to be.

Help me, O, God. I Hurt.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It happened.  The papers were signed.  I met him in Starbucks at noon.  Walked in and bought myself coffee.  He looked as he always looks — this new person — dirty, not taking care of himself.  He asked me how I have been and I replied, “We are here to talk about the divorce.”

We agreed on everything – I am taking half his retirement and he will keep his credit cards.  He said he would pay me half of the lawyer fees.  I don’t believe him, I should have had it in writing.

I said I worried about him.  He asked why. 

After a long pause, I responded, “Because I love you.”

He never told me he loved me.

I told him I didn’t think he was in a good place or on the right path.  I also told him about my vivid dreams of him – all his drugs and women.  He didn’t say anything.

I said I was excited to meet someone who will truly love me – also someone with whom I can have a family and care for.  I need to move on.  I expressed excitement at having sex again.  He smirked.

I told him he never made himself trustworthy after the affair.  He told me I should have trusted him – that we had ten years of trust.  I explained to him that it was broken.  He defended himself and said the marriage became “irreconcilable” after I “only wanted to go to marriage counseling”, and he wanted me along for the next chapter.

He is delusional.  He wanted “me and…” ???

I said he needed to have only wanted me.  The “and” would come.

We then went to the house.


I made him take boxes of photos, our dishes and china, and my wedding dress.  He said the dress wouldn’t fit in his car (some Jeep, I don’t know where he got it). 

“Throw it in the trash, then.”

He carried it to the Jeep.

Going through boxes – I broke down in the middle of the garage.  Lisa (neighbor) came outside and comforted me.  Then, after a while, [husband] said, “ I have to go.”


He just stood there.

And then he spoke.
“This isn’t what was supposed to have happened,” he said, softly.  “Why couldn’t we fix it?”

I fell to my knees in the street, sobbing.  Snot and tears bubbled together into a pool of grass and dirt on the hard, grainy asphalt.  Tiny pebbles dug into my kneecaps, causing them to bleed and bruise.  I couldn’t bear to look up at the street or behind me at the house, which was now no longer a part of my — our —  life.

Dramatic?  Yes.  But I couldn’t help it.

He just touched my back.

And sneezed.

He said his heart was broken just as much as mine.  He wished I would forgive him for the Ukrainian girl, but that he wasn’t what I wanted.

I agreed. “Not after her.”

He never followed through with ACTIONS.  I expressed that to him.  As I pulled myself together and got up to leave, he tried to hug me.  I stopped him.

“No, do not touch me.  It is too painful.”

I told him I hoped that he’d be happy and find what he is searching for.  But he lost the one person who really, truly knew him – the one person who would really love him the best.  I also told him I was really great.

He said he knew.

He openly admitted that, yes, he would always continue to leave me.

My heart breaks into a thousand fragments again.

Lisa later told me that one of our neighbors saw him parked outside of our house, long after I had driven away.  His head was slumped over the steering wheel and he was sobbing, loudly.

I must move forward.

Help, God.  I feel like I can barely move.  I still love him and that’s not going to go away easily.

Oh, God, it’s so painful.  SO, so painful.

I can’t even begin to digest the pain.  Grief.  Shock, Horror.  All over again.

I feel totally dead – like my body sustained one too many blows and I succumbed to my injuries.  I want so badly to press forward, yet my heart still clings to my husband.  Even after all he has put me through, I still love him and I wish he would choose me.

He can’t.  He won’t.  And all that is left of us is in boxes.

I can’t see, God.  I can’t see anything.  My heart is broken. Smashed into a billion pieces and then set on fire, pointed and laughed at.  It is then dragged through sewage and hung up on display for all the women and druggies in my husband’s life to see.  His “friends” – those three cast of characters.  They laugh at me and mock my pain and blame me for not letting my husband do whatever he wants/wanted– drugs, women, scandal, surf, party.  

I know, eventually, that life will get tiring, but the question is, when?  I feel rejected all over again.  A million times over.

The life we had was a mere joke; a laughingstock for all the mistresses and “investment bankers” in the world.  Such pain.

I still love my husband and want a life with him. But he is too lost.  You have made it clear that he is not for me anymore…yet my heart aches and aches for the husband I once knew; the love we had.  I know I am forgiven, as is he, and I have to let go.  Help me to let go of him.  It is so difficult.

Lord, end my pain.  Take my life.  I want no more.  I refuse to buy the lies that have convinced and corrupted my husband and his family.  I reject those lies.  

I trust that You are leading me out of this marriage because it is best for me.

I cling to You.  You who promised are faithful.  You have a plan for my life.  You are moving in my life.

I cannot see, but I trust with whatever human ability is left.

Help me, O, God.  I hurt.




Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I’m so drained.

I can’t keep doing this – [my husband] makes me insanely angry; crazy.  I am tired of doing everything for him.  I want to claw his face off.  I want to punch him until he feels the hurt and anger and rejection that I do.  I want him to feel; I want him to be responsible.  But it’s entirely impossible.

There’s nothing I want more in the world than to be done with this divorce.  Oh, please, God, have mercy.  I want to move on with my life and not be stuck in limbo.

I just can’t do this any more.  God, I leave it in Your hands.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

“Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You.” ~Psalm 9:10

“Show me Your ways, O LORD, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.”  ~Psalm 25:4-5

JESUS, I TRUST YOU.  You will never forsake me; You are always taking care of me.  I know You have a plan for me and my life.  I cannot see it and I am scared, but I must let go; let You take control. 

The house is going on the market and it hurts me so badly.  “As is”.  A divorce sale.  And for what?  For what?  What a waste.

I have to stop crying.

God, I don’t know where You want me.  I sit here, amongst the unknown and my heart screams out.  I TRUST YOU!  I TRUST YOU because I know You will not let me down; I KNOW You have plans for me.

I am still grieving, still wondering what to do; where to go.  It’s starting, Lord.  And I am trusting that You want me to sell the house.

I have to let go.

I’m giving my future to You.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


My tenant offered on the house.  I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.  Counter?  Just walk away?

Was up until 3:00 a.m., crying and crying.  My eyes are swollen.  My body screaming.  [Husband] responded at 2:00 a.m. to my email, where I asked him to meet with me to discuss the remainder of the divorce and sign the papers.  He said he had “meetings” but would work around my schedule. 

I told him to cancel his (stupid ass, fucking horse shit) meetings and do what is right.

I can barely move.  I am so exhausted…It’s You and me, God.  Who better to have?  Close in 30 days.  No property tax.  No more mortgage payments.  Nothing.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I have one more day to decide if I accept my tenant’s offer on my house.  I have some peace, but I am not sure if I am just being hasty in my decision-making?

I HAVE NOTHING.  Losing everything.  All.  Husband, house, family.  I’m even down to my last unemployment check.

This is from You.  I am trusting it.  Your timing.  Would I like more money?  Of course.  But I am trusting, trusting.  Oh, Father. You give and take away, and You are so good to me.  You are loving me through this.  How can I thank You enough?  How?!  Everything is Yours.  And I do believe You orchestrated this.

I pray for peace.  I don’t understand, and I don’t know what is next, but I believe You are leading me.  Out of the mire, and into the new life You have planned.

Friday, September 17. 2010

Proverbs 16:9 – “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.”

Psalm 37:5-7 – “Commit your way to the LORD, trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him.” 

Today I will sign the offer on my home.

Tonight I will open a show.

Lord, You are so good to me.  I have peace.  And I know You give peace in all circumstances.  You have carried me through this time, and the end of this chapter is near.  I cannot plan anything.  I have seen Your mighty hand in everything so far; how can I not trust You?

I am heartbroken to give up my home but I know it is Your will.  A NEW start.

I pray for [my husband].  Please help end this pain.  I do not know what will become of him; it’s too painful to even know where he is.  I pray for healing.  Healing is in Your hands.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My tenant bought the house!  Sold!  Escrow opens Monday.  Huge.  This is huge.  And, I have to admit, a relief.  You are so good.  You knew all along.  The timing is Yours, and I feel peace.  Your hand guiding me.  I am so curious as to where You will lead me.

Oh, God, I love You.  I am losing everything but gaining YOU.  Freedom.  There is such unbelievable freedom in You.

I pray that [my husband] would show up on Monday to sign the divorce papers, and that we would be able to communicate.  I still grieve him and his choices…but it needs to be over.


“That’s Not a Real Gun!”

The day after my 33rd birthday, I was held up at gunpoint.

After rehearsal on that Tuesday, several of my fellow cast members and I celebrated our end-of-the-summer birthdays at the Cat and Fiddle in Hollywood.  We enjoyed bonding over cocktails and several raucous games of darts. Rehearsals for our show, Merrily We Roll Along, had been intense over the past several weeks, and it felt good to blow off some steam.

Before we knew it, we had closed down the bar.  As we dispersed to our individual vehicles, my friend Dave offered to walk me to mine.  Being the independent woman who I so love to be, I declined his offer.

“Naaah, I’m fine – I’ll be fine.  You don’t have to walk me to my car,” I dismissed him, gathering up the mass of birthday balloons by each individual string.

“Les, I’m walking you to your car,” Dave stated, firmly.

“All right!  All right!”  I conceded.  “You can walk me to my car!”  I had parked a little far away.

I was not used to kind, gentlemanly offers as such.  Later, I’d be more than grateful that Dave insisted upon accompanying me.

Toting my balloons in one hand and my green purse hoisted upon my right shoulder, we made our way across Sunset Boulevard.  We talked and laughed up the side street where my car was parked, about a quarter of a mile away.

It was a little past 2:00 a.m.

As we approached my vehicle, I noticed another car drive up, slowly, alongside me.  The passenger leaned out the car window and called to me.  I couldn’t understand him, but, for some reason, I assumed he was asking for directions.  (Because, of course, a man would be asking for directions at 2:00 a.m.)

“I’m sorry, what was that?”  I asked.  I was happy and always welcome the opportunity to be helpful.

“Gimme your purse,” he demanded, somewhat quietly, as the car slowed down and stopped just in front of mine.


The car stopped, and the man got out.  He kept himself backed up against the open passenger door.

Gimme me your purse,” he demanded, a little louder.

I looked at him for a moment, scrunched up my face, and responded,

“GIMME ME YOUR PURSE!”   He gestured with his right hand.

At that moment, I noticed that he was holding a gun.  It rested gingerly up against his waist.  It was aimed right at me, almost politely.

I sighed.  I glanced back at Dave, who was on the other side of the car, standing frozen, with his mouth agape.

I turned back to the guy with the gun.

What came out of my mouth next baffles even me.  Contrary to everything I have ever been taught – or shall we say instinct, maybe? – I took a step towards the man and his gun, and got angry.


The “K” sound rolling out of my mouth felt like I was delivering a bullet right back at that stupid guy and his dumbass gun.  It felt really good.  I gestured dismissively towards the gun, and continued to curse.  Loudly.

“Get the FUCK out of here!  That’s not even a real gun.  I don’t have any money, anyway.  FUCKKKKK OFF!

The guy looked at me briefly, and, in an instant, got back into the car.  His driver sped them away.

I watched the car’s tail lights disappear around the corner, opened the rear door and tossed my green purse inside.

I made eye contact with Dave over the roof of my car.  His mouth was still agape.  I started laughing.

“Do you realize what just happened?” He asked me, in disbelief.

I kept laughing.

We got in the car and I drove him back down the empty street, across Sunset Boulevard, and onto another “much safer” side street where his car was parked.

We sat in silence for a moment, until I burst out laughing again.

“Leslie, do you realize what you did back there?”  Dave was shaking his head.

I hadn’t really taken the time to process it.  To be totally honest, I am sure the alcohol I had consumed assisted in my “bravery”.  I hadn’t had time to think about my word choice, or the consequences of my actions.  I most certainly wasn’t representing Jesus very well.

But it was beyond that.  I was fed up.  I didn’t care if I lived or died at that point.  I was in pain. I was tired of people taking from me.  I liked my green purse.  It was mine.  I didn’t feel like giving it away without a fight.

We “debriefed” a little further, making sure each other was okay.  We truly wondered if the gun was real or not, but, regardless, Dave thanked me for “saving his life.”


I drove home carefully, replaying the events of the past hour in my mind.  As I got home and quietly slipped into bed, it started to sink in.

I just told a guy pointing a gun at me to “fuck off”.  What is WRONG with me?  At the same time, I’m feeling like a badass!  Thank you, God, for protecting me.  That situation was in YOUR hands and YOU protected me.  Not my own strength, at all. 

A few days later, as the endorphins wore off and the Facebook “likes” and attention from my story dwindled, I was able to process a bit further.  At the same time, I entered into a brief period of darkness and confusion.

I CAN’T DO THIS, GOD.  I CAN’T.  I can’t live this life.  I can’t do anything without You.  I see happy couples, people getting married all around, people with babies, happy marriages.  And I am living with Curt and Kathy, unemployed, no one to go to sleep with at night.  My husband chose to leave me, time and time again.

I know I didn’t come this far to fall.  But I can’t do this.  I am a troublemaker.  Getting mugged and not even caring.  Sometimes I wish I would have been shot and killed that night.

I know you love me, God, I know.  But, being honest, I don’t even know how long I can do this.  Do not let evil win, do not withhold blessings from me.  I cannot see.  I cannot understand because my understanding is finite; human.  I am scared.  I am anxious.  I need Your peace.  I need guidance.  I am utterly, completely dependent upon You I cannot see the future; I don’t even know what You want for me.  How, where?

You haven’t let me down thus far; I KNOW I can trust You.  I have to trust You.  I want to trust You.

Psalm 39 echoes in my heart.  I still wish You would take my life.  Just take me home.  I am ready. 

I cannot do anything.  I need You.  I am exhausted from trying to be self-sufficient.  I know You have plans for me, but what?  I must be patient. I must be still.

“Be still and know that I am God”.  ~Psalm 46:10

Smith vs. Smith

Almost immediately after filing the second round of paperwork, I received a summons in the mail.

It was a court-ordered Case Management Conference, to be conducted exactly one week before my birthday.

I asked Andrea to accompany me this time.  I did not want to go alone.  I dressed casually, thinking that I would just show up at the counter and explain to the clerk that I had already filed the next round of paperwork.  I was tired of dressing in my “court clothes”.  Plus, I was getting used to the routine:  Drive, park, walk, breathe, stand in line, file, stamp, stamp, stamp, say hi to the Disney Opera House, walk, pray, hope, move forward.

Clearly I had misunderstood the nature of the summons.  I had no idea that it was an actual hearing.  I panicked.

Thankfully, Andrea was dressed appropriately, so we swapped clothing in the bathroom on the 4th floor of the Los Angeles Superior Courthouse.  She rocked my Levi’s jean capris (they’re actually cute), and I wore her black skirt and jacket to appear before the judge.  I managed to conceal my plaid shirt, and my tall, tan espadrilles didn’t exactly communicate “business attire.”

I shifted uncomfortably in my seat for three hours as I listened to divorce hearing after divorce hearing.  I marveled at how every single person in that small courtroom was angry at each other. The heaviness, pain  and reality of broken relationships was astounding.  I was amongst a sea of many, yet it was oddly comforting.

When my name was finally called, I stood on the right, behind the gold placard that read, PLAINTIFF.

The DEFENDANT spot was empty.  My husband had not shown up.

I swallowed hard.

“Smith vs. Smith,” the judge murmured, rifling through our thin file.   He then looked up at me.

“Mrs. Smith –“

I shuddered at the name.  I wanted to scream and kick and throw things, all while yelling through my teeth and slapping the judge’s face: “DON’T YOU DARE CALL ME MRS. SMITH!!!  THAT’S NOT WHO I AM!”

But I kept my mouth shut.  After all, I was dressed inappropriately  — trashy, really —  and totally unprepared for this hearing.  The armpits of my shirt underneath Andrea’s jacket were soaking.  I thought about washing the jacket in cold water and a little Tide, else taking it to get dry-cleaned for her.  It was going to staaaank after this morning.

The judge continued.

“Mrs. Smith, where is your husband?  Why is he not here?”

The entire courtroom got quiet.  Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the court reporter’s fingers, poised, waiting for my answer.  A fellow divorcee shifted his weight on the bench behind me and it creaked, loudly.  A lawyer sneezed.

I took a deep breath.

“Your Honor, I have no idea where he is,” I answered, truthfully.

He was supposed to be in town, for he was actually going to meet with Kathy to sign papers to list our house on the market.  After much prayer, deliberation and tears, I had made a decision to go forward with selling my beloved home.   It was not an easy decision to have made, but I trusted that it was right.  Still, it felt unfair.

The judge didn’t look up, but kept going through my paperwork.  Apparently he hadn’t done his homework.

“Well, this looks like an easy case.  You don’t have any children…”

Rub it in, why don’t you.  Yes, I know.  I’m single AND barren.   

“…and it looks like you just have a piece of property that you have to figure out what to do with..”  He shuffled the papers back into the case folder, took off his glasses and peered down at me.

“You know that your husband is supposed to be here,” he directed, firmly.

I wanted to scream again.


Judges get paid for numbers of cases that they resolve.  They are not interested in the details of your personal life, why you are getting divorced, or even who is responsible for the demise of the marriage.  Even though you both checked the box, “Irreconcilable Differences,” the judge doesn’t care who hurt who.  It’s all an even playing field.  You are just a case number he needs to resolve.  Sell your possessions and split everything 50/50.  Stop fighting and move on with your lives.

It’s a cold, cruel business, but somebody’s got to handle it.

I answered, with a little edge in my voice.
“Yes, your Honor.  I wish I knew where he is.  He does not communicate his whereabouts with me.”

The judge sat back and nodded.

“Well, the reason why I called this conference is to help you both through your divorce,” he explained.  “I am going to extend your case, so that you two can talk things through and figure this out.”

“Yes, your Honor, it is my – err, our – intention to get this done as quickly as possible.”

“All right.”  The judge then directed his conversation towards the clerk.  “This case is extended to December 22nd.  That should give this couple enough time.  I am placing sanctions on Mr. Smith, and giving him an OTC (Order to Show Cause).”

He then looked back at me.
“Let your husband know he needs to appear in court,” he reprimanded.

I wanted to scream, Part Three, and then burst into tears.  Throwing a wild tantrum on the courtroom floor actually sounded like the more sane thing to do, and I had the the outfit to go along with it.

DECEMBER?????  FOUR more months of limbo???  I’m going to die.

I couldn’t hurry it along.  I couldn’t win.  I had to wait for my husband.  We had to do this together.  And what was almost worse was that the judge had extended him grace.

I swallowed again, harder this time, and squeaked,
“Yes, your Honor.  Thank you.”

Life Begins Anew at Journey’s End

The next few months were busy ones.

I was cast in two shows, back to back, and welcomed the opportunity (and distraction!).  It was so good to get back into doing what I love, and I felt that I could approach my art with a more real, honest perspective.  I spent a lot of time with my cast members and friends, and started to become alive again  — this time in a new, raw and beautiful way.

I met again with the lawyer at the beginning of July to try to sort out the next round of paperwork.  I emailed my husband to ask for his address overseas, so that I could get him properly served with “step two”.  To my surprise, he responded right away, and then added that he thought about me every day, and wished our lives had never gotten off track.

It made me incredibly angry.  I didn’t believe a single word of his sentiment.  Furthermore, my life hadn’t “gotten off track”, so to speak.   And, if it had, it was all due to him and his stupid choices.


The only other communication I had been receiving from him was regarding our house.  He kept asking me to put it on the market, to “just see if we’d get any nibbles”.  What the fuck?  The housing market had crashed; people were upside down on their mortgages, or short-selling their properties.  The only reason to sell a house was to get out from under the crushing responsibility of a mortgage payment.  We had a fantastic tenant, paying the mortgage for us, and we could feasibly gain equity all the while.

I had a suspicion that his parents were behind it all.  One email suggested I “buy him out”.  In another email, he explained that his sister’s husband had offered to spend the summer fixing up the house so we could put it on the market.  Never mind all the work that I, myself, had just put into it.

I was exhausted.  I couldn’t wrap my mind around putting my house up for sale at the moment.  My blood boiled at the thought of my husband gallivanting around Australia without a responsibility in the world, and acting like the victim in our divorce.

I ignored every request.  He wanted money, and wanted it fast.


Using residual anger as fuel, I proceeded with filing more paperwork.  I started getting used to the familiarity of the big, scary courthouse.  I’d drive downtown, get off at Hill Street, and chuckle to myself  that I had “the Hill Street Blues”.   I even developed a favorite parking spot – right next to the park where they filmed a scene in the movie, 500 Days of Summer.  I tried to look on the bright side:  I never would have discovered that little gem of a spot had I not gotten divorced.

One blazing July day, I carefully dressed in my “court clothes”:  a crisp, black, button-down dress with classic black pumps.  This time, I would face the courthouse alone.

Yesterday was a huge day for me, and I think I’m still feeling the effects of it.  Got the paperwork done, copied, delivered to Andrea at 2:30, took the Proof of Service to the courthouse, filed, then ordered a copy of his response.  That was hard to see: his handwriting and shaky mistakes.  It’s tragic.  And my heart hurts.  Hurts so much for him, for us; for what we had, even when it wasn’t all that great.  And I still mourn him.  He’s been gone for nine weeks again.  Still rejecting me.  That hurts, too.  Maybe more so?

And people say, “Oh, he’s crazy to have let you go,” and I know it’s true.  I think I truly can forgive him for cheating because he fell apart.  Fell vulnerable.  Or, in his words, “(fell) off the tracks.”

So, after filing in court, I went across the street for lunch.  Alone.  I sat at the bar and made conversation with the bartender.  He noticed my thick divorce file, and asked me about it.  I just shrugged, and delivered a half-sly smile.

“Getting it done,” I said.

“I guess you have to do what you have to do,” was his sympathetic response.  “But it’s lucky for the rest of the world that a woman like you is now single!”  

I told him I had been asked out twice at the courthouse.  It was true.  He laughed.


Then it got quiet.  He wiped the counter down and averted his eyes from mine.  I knew we were both thinking that divorce court was not exactly the place to find a date.

I thanked him, paid my bill, walked to my car, slid into the seat, closed the door, and broke down.  I sobbed and sobbed.  God, it’s horrible, that place.  That courthouse.  Awful.  I don’t want to keep going there.  It’s so cold.

I still do wish my husband would choose me.  But it’s too late.

I don’t want my heart to break again.

Yet I know I wasn’t alone at that courthouse, God.  You were with me.  And sadly, it DOES get easier to be there.  It’s still painful.  I first filed three months ago.  Soon it will be a year since I discovered the affair.  Soon it will be Christmas.  Soon it will be a year since I have filed for divorce.  Then two, three.  Ten.  Twenty.

Where will I be?  Where do I go?  New York?  Do I sell my house?  My car?  And go?  And leave my family and friends?  Do I stay here?  Do I start over completely?  Lose everything?  Where am I going to live?  Where do You want me?

I want to get to the place where I fully forgive my husband.  I can see, even now, what a blessing it is for him to be out of my life.  When I explained to my therapist that I did not believe that he thinks of me everyday, she observed that was a source of deep hurt for me.  And, yes, it is.  He hurt me, very much.  It definitely hurts to not be chosen.

Ultimately, I wanted love to win.  Love should overpower narcissism and selfishness.  Love should conquer all. 

And still — as the lyrics of this beautiful new musical I am helping originate, say —

“Life begins anew at journey’s end.”