Readers may have noticed that many of my stories are set in the past, and infrequently, when something is particularly significant to me, I write about the present. Today, 23 January 2018, my divorce was finalised in court. It’s been a long process, as those who have been through it know, that started when we separated in June 2016. But it was only in June 2017 that shit started to get real. The following is what I wrote at the time:
Yesterday I printed off my application for divorce. It’s not like it was a surprise. I suppose it had just always seemed like a “one day” situation that future me would need to deal with. But here I was, sitting with my four sheets of paper, pre-filled thanks to the questions I’d completed during the online application process. All that was left was to sign the box under “Wife” in front of a witness and pop the application in the mail for my ex.
Wife. Once this was processed I wouldn’t be anyone’s wife anymore. But it’s hard to really feel sad because taking away a title changes nothing. It changes nothing about the person I am, have become. All it changes is my legal eligibility to re-marry.
And it erases nothing. The memories of our wedding day – still one of the best days of my life. How happy we were, how happy our friends and family were. How perfect the weather turned out, how great the music was to dance to.
I do feel less than I used to. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t care or I no longer have the capacity to feel sad. There are times I am upset, especially if it involves the dogs in any way. Just the thought of not having seen them for weeks, not cuddling with them on the lounge or in bed of a morning, brings quick tears to my eyes. Saying goodbye after a visit with them is the worst.
But mostly, I don’t feel anything about the demise of my marriage. Almost like the past nine years didn’t happen. I know they did because I have memories of them but the feeling, the way I felt when I was with S … it seems to be gone.
I remember when we were together, when I could feel that love overflowing, threatening to overwhelm me. I’d have moments when he would hug me, hold me and I would tell myself to remember how it felt, to treasure and savour that moment. But when I was telling myself those things, it was for a future when S and I were no longer together because I’d lost him through a tragic accident or death by old age. It was never because I pictured divorce.
Now I try to recall what it felt like, to be in his arms and I only have the faintest memories. Did I feel safe? Did I feel loved and wanted? Or did I just feel his arms around me, warm and tight? Did I remember just the feel of his breath on the top of my head but not the warmth in his voice?
I know the moment I first acted on the knowledge that I didn’t truly love him but I don’t know when I decided I didn’t love him. Was it the moment the doctor told me my collected eggs that had been blasted with hormones for the past three weeks hadn’t matured? When she said using an egg donor was our only option? Or was it later, when I wanted to die and S stopped me over and over from destroying myself? When did the love stop?
I fought so hard to keep us together in the early days of our relationship. When he broke up with me after 18 months, I did everything to convince him to stay. I cried for days. I plead and begged him to come back. I knew he was the one I wanted to be with and obviously, we worked through it and got back together.
But this time, neither of us begged. Neither of us was pleading with the other. We just let it happen.