This morning, I awoke at 5:30 a.m., contemplating the day to come. I showered, dressed in a suit I bought in New York before my wedding in 2000, and mixed 2% milk into a cup of Elite coffee.
I’d made the kids’ lunches the night before and arranged for another mother to drive them to school. My babysitter arrived, and I hugged the children and left.
My heels clicked on the sidewalk as I walked toward the courthouse. The sky was clear blue and vivid, not a cloud in sight. The sunshine was bright but cool. My father and I rode the elevator to the fourth floor and I kept my mouth shut as Avy tried to further nickel-and-dime me outside the courtroom, the 17-page-thick judgment sitting on his lap.
Aren’t we finished? I wanted to scream, but I kept quiet on the hard black chair outside the courtroom. Finally, at somewhere after 9 a.m., it was our turn, Schreiber vs. Schreiber, and we with our attorneys approached the bench.
It’s official. Judge Leo Bowman officially proclaimed, in his soothing, authoritative voice, that my marriage was over and irreconcilable. But we already knew that. He just made it possible for me to escape the unrelenting tension, anxiety, sadness, and misery of a marriage that never worked.
It’s not quite over, though. It won’t be until Avy packs up the dishes, dining room table, a few beds and some towels and leaves this house for good on May 30. Then I’ll change the locks. And begin to breathe.
Today, some of the most wonderful people in the world texted me, called me, emailed me – I am so so lucky to be surrounded by quality people. It’s no coincidence. I make most of my choices wisely, and I yearn to be around people who are dynamic, brilliant, loving, and fun. Those who are superficial or surface-only I have no time or patience for.
Since I filed for divorce last October, it is as if I have finally come alive. I am the butterfly who lingered too long in an old, stale cocoon. But no matter. All that matters is right now, is the fact that I broke free, that I shed the encumberances of the past, that I never let the cave consume me, but rather I used that time to properly gestate into the person I was meant to become.
Today I am whole, my shoulders no longer bent under the weight of a person who needs me to hold him up. Good timing. I received an email announcing the publication of an anthology in which some of my words play a part. Bread Body Soul it is called, a collection of writings about food and life and meaning – and I dare say, that is the underlying yes of all of our lives, or at least of lives well-lived and completely enriched.
When I asked him how he felt today, Avy said, “I don’t know. The hard part is ahead of us now.”
For me, the hard part is behind. I know there will be hard times to come, many in fact, but they’re the kind of hard I can handle.
Spring is the perfect time to get divorced. The time of all things blooming, the world waking up, coming alive. In my yard, one bush blooms with white flowers. The lawn is lush and green, and the bench swing beckons. The trees smell of rain and dirt. The worms have more energy, more presence, burrowing their tunnels into the fresh limey earth, knowing there is only warmth ahead for some months now and absolutely no fear of frost.
This summer will be a season of senses, as I walk through the farmers market with my children, Asher palming tomatoes and sinking his teeth into the sweet flesh, the juices dripping down his chin. Eliana and Shaya will eat the strawberries that we pick before we can get them home, their fingers stained red, their chins in automatic grins as they nod into a satisfied sleep.
And me. I will be the one at the wheel, steering us to adventure and escape as much as I steer us to safe shore and home again every night.
I’m sad that I had an unsuccessful marriage, but I’m not sad to be divorced. I am grateful that I can put a stop to things that don’t work and begin anew.
A friend said to me once that the first time a person gets married, she should know her spouse well; the second time, she should know herself. I don’t know if I’ll ever marry again. But no matter what lies ahead for me, that’s what I’m shooting for. Infinite, intimate knowledge, and sweet moments of endurable silence.