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.
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.”