I finally filed.
It wasn't easy. Or cheap. Since I can't afford an attorney, I've had to do everything myself so far. Filling out the dissolution packet was interesting. I had to go into court for a clinic to make sure that all appropriate boxes were checked and all forms attached. Each page had a capture section where I had to fill in my name as well as my soon-to-be ex's. Each time, I filled in the address to my new starting-over house. Every letter was penned deliberately. Every letter brought to mind the finality of it all.
But it wasn't until I was at the clerk's window when each document was stamped with that large, monster of a File Date stamp that I got that this marriage was finally coming to an end. This moment that has been so long coming was actually happening. It felt like a hammer hitting the nails on a coffin. With each loud imprinting of the stamp, I winced a little.
I remembered how excited we were when we first decided to get married.
I remembered the house we all lived in.
I remembered the beautiful garden I tended every morning.
Then I remembered the truth. The signs I saw before we got married. The house where so many ugly battles occurred. The garden that I escaped to every morning to avoid the realities of our lives. I wasn't mourning the loss of those things. I was saddened that our life could have been so wonderful and beautiful. Not perfect. But not so awful, either. But we never had the chance. We were so mired in disease and dysfunction. Looking back from a place of health and clarity, I can see what happened. I can see what we could have done differently. But it's just a futile mind game. It's like watching a sad movie where you know the outcome but you just wish that the characters would get it... that they might change the ending...
But they don't.
Because it's already done.
Tears began to dribble down my cheek at the clerk's window. The tears weren't for my husband or for the marriage that we had, but for the hopes we had when we walked barefoot on that sandy beach at sunset ten years ago. I dabbed tissue at the streams on my face, gathered my forms and documents, and walked out of the courthouse. As I stepped out into the sunlight, I had a strange sense of levity. I thought I had missed a few steps because I hadn't really felt them... almost as thought I were walking on air. My cheeks, now dried, were starting to lift in a tiny smile of relief. I felt so peaceful.
I felt released of all that had not been.