Open on a shot of a nondescript courtroom in Pierce County Washington.
A few dozen people sit on uncomfortable benches, waiting to stand before the court commissioner.
One by one each player is asked to come before the court, paperwork in-hand. Each scene unfolds with alarming regularity. Each player is found to have some issue or other that causes the commissioner to send them away to either fix or add to their pleadings.
Some are even told that their case will not be completed because they are too far off the mark with their attempts at supplying the correct legal documents. Some should clearly not even be in the courtroom.
The cameras, as they are lurking in every corner of the room, all pan towards me- The Petitioner in case 17-3-01458-2, Dissolution of Marriage. I begin to worry that after countless hours and checks and rechecks that I may have forgotten something, or left something out. I wait as each name is called, equally anxious to be done but also dreading that I may be one of those who is sent away with unfinished documents. My brain cannot grapple with the fact that I may have to return to this room another day.
My case is called, and like everyone before me I proceed through the swinging gate and step to the microphone in front of the clerk and commissioner.
“Please raise your right hand and repeat after me…”
“Right? Which one is my right?”
“State your name.”
“Already too many questions. Can’t he see that I don’t want to get sent away. Just sign the papers, please”
Most of the rest is a blur. I was asked basic questions about the marriage. I was asked numerous questions (probably about 4 actually) about the division of assets. I was not scolded about my paperwork being messy or inaccurate. I was not sent from the room to add to or fix anything. I watched the clerk place a large letter G next to my name on her list. It only struck me later that she was signifying for her own notes that my decree had been granted.
Pan to the commissioner’s desk. One by one he signs off on all 5 documents that I had put in front of him. He announced his signature with each one, and as those before me had done, I politely said “Thank you, Your Honor.”
With the signing of the final decree it was announced to the room, “You are now divorced. Thank you and have a good weekend.”
The lights begin to dim as I collect my notebook and purse and move back through the swinging gate, already forgotten by the commissioner and those players still waiting for their turn in the spotlight. I exit the courtroom with the realization that I am now divorced.
And we close the scene at 10 AM July 21, 2017 on what was just over 34 years of marriage.
**This process was probably the most surreal experience I have ever had. The reality for me is that this entire marriage was truly over so long ago that this was a formality. The emotion levels of this process have come and gone, climbed up and down, and been a constant presence in my life for so long that earlier today, and even now almost 4 hours later, I feel emotionless. It is just another day and nothing feels any different. I wonder how long this will take to really sink in. Maybe when I move into my new apartment and can just sit, quietly and alone and reflect. Or maybe this is all there is. Maybe there will never be anymore to care about or reflect upon. Maybe I can just move ahead now because this is finally, unquestionably over.
Thank you all for reading, and supporting, and being willing to stick through this process with me.