And I don’t know who this other guy is.
Yesterday was my second court appearance for my divorce.
The first didn’t really count — it was just an appearance to set dates for the appearances that would follow. My husband and I both showed up with our lawyers. Neither of us got to say anything of substance to the judge. They set dates, we wrote them down, the judge left, and we left. Simple.
Yesterday’s appearance was different. Yesterday, we were each put on the witness stand and questioned by the two attorneys. At stake was who would be able to live in the house and use my hangar until the divorce was finalized.
I don’t want to go into detail about what was said and done. Two reasons. First, I don’t want to save the experience forever on the pages of this blog. It was extremely painful to me on so many levels. Second, my lawyers would probably scold me, depending on how much detail I provided and what I said. It’s not worth pissing off my lawyers or getting into trouble. My legal team rocks.
But I do want to briefly touch upon what I realized when my husband came to the stand and began answering questions that he and his lawyer had likely rehearsed in advance: he was not the man I fell in love with.
It’s funny, in a way, because it looked like him and it sounded like him. But the things he said were not the kinds of things the man I fell in love with would say about me. The man I fell in love with loved me just as much as I loved him — if not more. He always spoke kindly to and of me. He always defended me.
This man, however, was in attack mode, bending and stretching the truth (almost beyond recognition) to make a case against me. The man I fell in love with would never do that.
No Real Surprise
I don’t know why this surprised me so much. I knew the man I fell in love with was gone. I knew it this summer.
In June, while going through a pile of papers that I’d brought with me to Washington to sort out when I had time, I came across two greeting cards that the man I fell in love with had sent me years ago. They were the kinds of cards people in love share with each other, sometimes for no apparent reason other than to express their love. I can’t remember exactly what they said, but I do recall one of them mentioning “love” and “forever.”
I sat on the floor in my RV, looking at the two cards and thinking about the man who had sent them to me years ago. And as I thought about it, I realized that that man was gone — dead, I thought. The man I’d left in Arizona in May didn’t give me cards or flowers or anything else for no special reason. The man I left in Arizona spent most of his time glaring at me when I did something he didn’t like. The man I left in Arizona seemed almost too eager for me to leave.
So I wrote a letter to the man I’d left in Arizona — who is apparently the same man who showed up in court yesterday. I appealed to him to remember the old days, the days when he told me that I needed to “make it happen,” the days when he was an idealistic dreamer and inventor. I asked him what happened to that man. I told him what I suspected: that that man was dead.
I didn’t know it, but as I was writing that letter, the man I’d left in Arizona had already found my replacement. His response to my letter arrived in my mailbox, forwarded with my mail, the day after my birthday, the day after he told me he wanted a divorce.
Right now, all I regret is sending the man I’d left in Arizona those cards. They’re gone now, along with the man who sent them to me, the man I fell in love with. I’d really like to have them back to help me remember him and the way things were.
Amazing as it may seem, there is an upside to all this.
Listening to the man in the witness box bend and stretch the truth to build a case against me was like a slap in the face — a slap of reality. Although he’s spread the word among family and friends — and even to me in email messages and written notes — that he still cares about me, that’s so obviously not true. It’s just another lie in a long series of lies that were likely spun to put me off guard about what’s to come. The man in the witness box doesn’t give a shit about me and the 29 years he and the man I fell in love with spent with me. The man in the witness box is simply seeking revenge for imagined offenses. The man in the witness box cares only about himself.
And knowing that now, without a shadow of a doubt, will help me begin my healing process.