Friday, June 29, 2012
Finding Forty: Unraveling
Yesterday A and I met to talk about the details of our divorce. Despite hurt feelings and anger that boils to the surface every so often, we can sit across from one another at the kitchen table for two hours and discuss the logistics related to the unraveling of our more than two decades together.
When the doorbell rang, I opened the door to find him standing there in flat front khakis and a blue, plaid button up shirt that matched his eyes perfectly. My heart skipped a beat. Before me stood the boy of 18 I'd fallen in love with so many lifetimes ago.
I offered him some ice water and we sat down to get to the business at hand. The more we can agree on together, the less money we will spend having the attorney prepare the legal documents. Talking through everything is mostly easy enough, but I think it's because it seems so abstract, so completely foreign to me.
We can agree on how we want to divide our time with the boys, right down to divvying up holidays and weekly switch offs from one house to the other. Our assets, while a bit more complicated, are also fairly cut and dry. They are just numbers on paper that add up to this and that which will be sorted through the years as situations change. Easy enough, in most regards, to follow.
What's not on any divorce decree is how to fight the loneliness you feel as you make a frozen dinner for yourself on a night that you don't have the kids or the helplessness you feel as the washing machine overflows from the laundry room into the kitchen. No where in the decree is there a place to list your sins and the remorse you feel for them or pledge that you will always be friends once the divorce is finalized.
Will the judge want to know who gave up first (me) or who tried harder to make things work (him)? How can over twenty years of weaving a life, a family together be dismantled and then sorted again by one single legal document?
In my heart, I know this is for the best. But that thought gives little comfort when you look into the hurt eyes of someone you promised to love and cherish forever.
The ice in our cups melted as we talked through the details. When he got up to leave, I walked him out the door. Standing in the street as the sun was setting behind him, I apologized again and told him that while I knew this was for the best, there would always be a small part of me that regretted how I'd let things get out of control. As tears silently streamed down my face, I told him that I couldn't imagine him not being in my life in some way, as the father of our children but also as a friend.
He smiled and replied, "The funny thing is, you just never know how life will turn out."
Friends believe things like that...