As soon as I hiked down from the mountain, I received a text from Kathy.
My house was sold. I was even able to pick up a check that reflected my half of the profit. It felt surreal. I deposited “the blood money” into my savings account that day. It was done.
Two days later was my “Universary” . I just so happened to be house/dog sitting for my neighbors. Oddly enough, it was good to be back in the neighborhood. It was good to hug my dog, Wimbley (whom my amazing neighbors adopted). It was hard to see my house, sitting next door, but I knew it was for the best.
I sat atop my neighbors’ deck and wrote.
October 30, 2010
Here I am, at Lisa and Laura’s. It is a beautiful day; calm and peaceful. I treated myself to a facial this morning at Burke Williams and am now enjoying the beautiful, late afternoon. Clean. Free. I don’t own [my house] anymore, and it feels REALLY good.
NO looking back. I have my chair turned away from the property. Oh, how far You have brought me, Lord! Thank You! Today is not sad. It is a celebration of You and me, and our journey. You are with me…You are here now, causing the breeze to gently caress the trees; shining the light; loving me. Oh, how much You love and care for me! I am so blessed!
After I finished writing, I flipped open my 14-year old Bible.
I rifled through the front pages: a certificate of “Holy Matrimony”, a list of births and deaths; a family tree. I have always wondered why it was necessary to list these things in a Bible, and laughed to myself. Of the four marriages that I had written down, only two of them remained.
50%. 50% of marriages end in divorce. What a shitty, shitty statistic. My Bible even told me so.
I flipped back to the front page, where I had lovingly filled in the details of my wedding day.
THIS CERTIFIES THAT
Leslie Leigh Spencer and [my husband’s full name]
were united in HOLY MATRIMONY (Wow, they really wrote that word out, big and fancy. HOLY MATRIMONY!!)
on October 30, 1999…
I studied the print for a moment. Everything about that day was just a faint memory. It had no place in my life anymore, nor did it hold a place in my Bible. I took the page and calmly ripped it out. I then tore out the rest of the pages of “memories”.
I wanted my Bible to just be a Bible.
I placed the pages atop a pile of ashes in Lisa and Laura’s chiminea, grabbed a lighter, and lit each corner on fire. I watched in peace as the pages burned. I returned to the blue leather to find an appropriate verse to accompany the “ceremony”:
“…a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” ~Isaiah 61:3
A few weeks passed. My show closed after a 10-week run, and Joy and I took a trip to Sonoma. I really needed to get away, and it felt good to get out of Los Angeles and enjoy my best friend and good wine.
One night we decided that I should join an online dating service.
“It’s time, Leslie,” Joy encouraged. “You need to get yourself out there. You need some dating experience!”
It was true. I just didn’t really know how to go about it. I had gotten married before online dating really existed, so it was all strange, new territory. Furthermore, I hated having to advertise myself as if I were some sort of show horse.
Joy sat with me and helped me fill out the seemingly never-ending questionnaire. I wanted to represent myself well, and it was good to have the person who knew me best at my side. She didn’t let me off the hook, not once. We laughed, drank wine and marveled at the experience. As much as I would later dread online dating in general, I was excited to be moving forward with grace and such loving support.
It felt right. I wasn’t exactly divorced yet, but it was just a matter of time. All the paperwork had been turned in, and we had a court date in a month. Surely the divorce would be final then.
And then, a week later, I discovered that my husband was engaged to be married.