Domestic abuse. Restraining order. Emotional distress.
Oh, I know what you're thinking, just another Monday night at Ted's house, right? Well, you'd be wrong, smarty pants. Actually, I was in Superior Court this morning with Josie, pouring over a long list of court cases being heard that day. And at the bottom of that list?
tedwords vs. ljinsomnia, of course.
You heard it here, folks. After seven years, it was finally D-day for our little extended family. I was no longer going to have both a husband and a wife.
And what were Josie's feelings on such a momentous day? After seventeen years of marriage, five years of dating, and nine months of engagement? After having raised three kids together? Almost losing one of them? After countless arguments and thousands of happy memories? After losing the best dog man has ever known? After having to endure the pain of having her throw away my summer sausage after only six months in the refrigerator? After so many game parties, games of Wolfie played, visits from Mitch? What is it that Josie had to say, on such a day?
"I'm feeling really gassy," said Josie, as we were waiting in the drive through of Dunkin' Donuts. Then she paused and glared at me. "You'd better not write that in your journal!"
So there we were, waiting outside of Courtroom 5, in line to have our day in court. I was wearing a gray suit, making me more like an attorney than a defendant. Josie was wearing a grey sweater and looked lovely, as usual. In my eyes, she's still the 17-year-old girl I first met all those years ago, holding a white rabbit in her arms and a beautiful secret inside. Only even more beautiful.
"It will seem anti-climactic," our mediator had advised us as we were signing the final paperwork a few months ago. But then, after seven years of separation, the War of the Roses would probably seem anti-climactic. As it was, we sat outside the courtroom and waited around for about an hour. Then a lady came out and asked who was not there represented by an attorney.
Josie and I were the only ones to stand up.
We were ushered into the court, at which point the court clerk instructed us to go down to Family Court to file documentation. But when we got down there, they simply asked us to wait outside, and after half an hour instructed us to go upstairs again. Then we waited a while for the judge to speak with us.
Which he did, for about five minutes. He asked us when we were married, when we were separated, and whether we understood the paperwork and what our rights were. Then he said, "So, since there's joint custody, I understand there's no child support, right?"
Josie and I both looked at each other, confused. "No, there is," we both said at the same time.
"He pays the mortgage on the house in lieu of child support," said Josie.
"We worked that out when we first separated," I said.
"Then, if it works, who am I to change things?" he said. "Petition granted, and I just want to commend both of you for finding a way to work this out amicably. Even if your marriage is ending, it's great that you've been able to sort things out so civilly."
And that was it.
As we walked out, Josie looked over at me and shook her head. "You old softy," she whispered.
It was true, I have to admit it. I could feel myself getting choked up, and the tears starting to form in my eyes. For her sake, I tried to pull myself together. Keep things light.
We weren't going to let a thing like a divorce get in the way of a perfectly good day shared by two old friends.
"So, when are we going to take that picture?" I asked. That had been my one request--a photo, taken at the courthouse. I thought it was kind of funny.
"No time like the present," said Josie, smiling.
"First we have to find someone to take the photo," I said.
That turned out to be harder than I thought. The people waiting outside of court didn't seem in any mood to take a photo for us, for some reason. I asked the security guards on the way out and they seemed annoyed by the question. So finally, we took a photo on the court steps. Josie held the camera at arms length to get a good shot.
Then we went out for a late morning breakfast. Both of us ordered our bacon crispy. We talked about work, discussed the kids. Gossiped. Complained about our significant others.
Just two dear old friends, no longer united in matrimony.