Divorce is an embarrassing public admission of defeat.-Tracy Letts
I sat beside her on the hard bench in the courtroom. I was anxious. She smiled. I grabbed her hand and held it. Told her, “this is your new beginning.” She smiled again. As we waited, another couple went before the judge. He and his lawyer stood at the podium. The soon to be ex-wife sat at the table next to them. The recorder asked her to stand and she swore them in. The judge asked that they say and spell their names. The soon to be ex-husband went first and then the soon to be ex-wife followed suit. The lawyer read the paperwork. The soon to be ex-husband acknowledged it. So did the soon to be ex-wife. The judge agreed and signed it. That was it. A marriage was dissolved. The ex-husband looked devastated. The ex-wife looked relieved. The lawyer was resigned. For she’d been through it many time before. They left the courtroom.
My friend was next. I watched her. I was so proud of her. Knew she was doing the right thing. She had a good lawyer. After the judge declared her divorced, I immediately walked out of the courtroom. Sitting there on the bench was the young man and woman that were newly divorced. The man was broken. Tears streamed down his face, but he didn’t care who saw his anguish. She sat there next to him and handed him tissues. My heart hurt. For both of them. I didn’t know their story. Didn’t have to. He was defeated and she was free.
Just then my friend walked through the courtroom door. The same but different somehow. I told her, “you now only have three children instead of four.” She replied, “they make it too easy for this to happen.” We didn’t say much more. We walked out into the sunlight of a warm November afternoon, hugged and headed our separate ways. As I walked back to my car, I saw the young man walking away from his newly ex-wife. He turned and threw his tissues into the city garbage can. He looked back at her as she walked away and then yelled across the street, “I still love you.”
I went back to my car in the structure and sat and cried. In a matter of 20 minutes I saw the complete disintegration of a life and a marriage. It was devastating.