This is a piece I wrote several years ago and it remains as vivid today as it did then. I offer it for review with the goal of eventual publication. Thank you in advance for your constructive comments.
I gazed down at the hand holding the pen and it
didn’t even feel like my own. I looked
around this meeting room made of glass with the expensive, dark mahogany
furniture that the ridiculous fees we pay these people affords them. For the
life of me, I never expected to be the person sitting in this chair, preparing
to do this thing. This is not my life.
The pen shook in my hand. Spasmed so violently I almost dropped it on
the shiny, glass-like mahogany table. To
steady myself, and the hand that couldn’t be mine, I took a deep breath and let
it out very slowly. The assistant, noticing my distress, perhaps anticipating
it, pushed the document closer. I poised
the pen on the solid line and began to sign my name; signing to acknowledge
that it was done. Over… Final… The life we shared a bittersweet memory. I
finished the signature, and took another deep breath then let it out. 19 years
of marriage over with the signing of my name…just as it had begun.
I looked up at the man who I now call “my
attorney”; eyes dry, face set, yet broken inside.
cleared my throat, “Is that all?”
“Yes. I’ll file it with the courts this
afternoon. The judge should sign and
make it final in a couple of weeks at the most.”
He paused looking up at me. Although not what I’d
call an attractive man, he had warm, kind eyes.
know this wasn’t easy for you and I’m truly sorry you had to go through it.”
He paused again and continued to hold my gaze with
have to say, after dealing with your husband over these several months, I
honestly don’t know how you put up with him as long as you did. I’ve encountered many difficult personalities
in the years I have done this job, but he ranks the top 3 for me. You are a
very strong woman.” He smiled.
smiled weakly at his compliment, though I felt anything but strong at this
Little did he know that I would have “put up” with
it forever…that’s how deeply I loved him.
So, pushing the chair away from the large table,
I grabbed my purse and stood up. I lightly shook his outstretched hand and
turned to leave, hoping never to have to return.
As I made it to the end of the hallway, I heard
his raised voice trailing behind me,
we will mail you a copy of the final decree once it is signed. “
I called out another “thank you” as I rounded
the corner to the elevators. The secretary smiled at me as I walked passed with
gentle understanding mirrored in her face. How many poor souls does she smile
that same smile at in a given week? Sadly, I really don’t want to know.
the elevator button, my hand beginning to shake again, very slightly. Inside the elevator I felt the wetness of the
first tear sliding down my cheek. I
wiped it away as the elevator door closed and forced myself to breath. Exiting the elevator, I felt the tremors
starting in my stomach and my shoulders were beginning to slump against the
weight of the grief held captive inside me. Dear Lord do not let me lose it here, I
With 3 blocks to go to get to the parking
garage, I quickened my pace. I barely noticed the people or events going on
around me. I don’t recall noticing
crosswalk signs, just numbly followed the crowd. Praying, begging with each
step not to crumble into a jelly-like mass on the concrete. I recall rounding the corner and stepping
into the parking garage. Taking the
stairs 2 at a time, the tears finally spilled over as I reached the 3rd
floor. The sob, long suppressed, escaped
my lips and I realized this time I was going to be quite powerless to stop the
tide of emotions and tears that were crashing through the weakly constructed
armour around my heart. I sprinted down
the aisle to my van, opened the door with a noticeable struggle, and threw
myself into the front seat.
Once inside, the trembling, the sobs and the
tears successfully broke free of the tight hold I’d maintained for almost a
year. The grief, so much an arms-length companion, finally had its way. Consuming me; rendering me helpless to control
the direction or the course. With heart
wrenching sobs and cries of anger and disbelief, of sorrow and feelings of
failure and loss like I hadn’t felt since my 6 year old brother died, I gave
in. I gave in to the grief. I gave in to the sorrow. I gave in so I could go on. So I could learn
to accept and to find a way to live without the man, the family and the dreams
I’d based my entire life on.
I gave in
so, eventually, I could live…again