"As of now you are officially an unmarried woman." It's what the judge told me last Thursday as I sat alone in the courtroom, a pile of perfectly organized financial statements and settlement agreements on the table in front of me.
It took exactly 11 minutes to undo what took several months and thousands of dollars to do in the first place. Suffice it to say I learned my lesson.
It was just me in the courtroom. He opted not to come, not that I was bothered by that. One uncomfortable confrontation is enough. Besides, I make the bed, I lie in it. I chose this for myself, I must face the music.
I've never been in court on my own behalf. Sat through a triple-homicide hearing once, but this was my first divorce court.
I had no idea what I was doing. I suddenly felt like I was 11, so small. A kid in a grownup's clothes. As I sat in the hallway, awaiting the proceeding, I felt like every person who walked past silently judged me.
Oh, look at her. So young. And divorced! Shameful.
Suddenly the diamond stud in my nose felt inappropriate, as did the tattoo on my wrist. The scuffs on my boots seemed more obvious than they were that morning. I was uncomfortable in my own skin. My year of birth - 1982 - jumped out from the documents in my lap. I'm just a kid. What am I doing in court?
I wondered if it was obvious to the judge that I had no idea what I was doing. No lawyer, no husband. Just me, and my perfectly organized financial statements and settlement agreements.
I was sworn in, spelled my name and address aloud for the record.
I testified that my perfectly organized documents were true and correct, and that yes, the marriage was irretrievably broken. Broken. I never thought of it that way, but that's the best way to describe it.
And that was it.
The judge granted the divorce, and the concept gave me pause. He just granted the divorce. Like, waved a wand and made it so. As if months of turmoil and the following months of silence that followed didn't do that on its own.
For the remainder of the hearing, the judge referred to me by my maiden name, because that's my name again, which I'm thankful for. Never thought I was as attached to it as I was until it was no longer mine.
And just like that, it's done.