Monday, December 14, 2015

The Last Day of My Previous Life

Tomorrow, my wife and I are on the "Uncontested Docket" at something something District Court to have our Agreed Final Decree of Divorce blessed by a judge, or whatever it is exactly that they do. Sprinkle water on it and thumb the sign of the cross into the header? Burn some sage? Sacrifice a goat? I don't know. I hope I'm not expected to bring the goat. But this time tomorrow, God willin' and the...

Hey, have you ever heard that phrase? I have a co-worker who has said for the entire 16 years I've known her, "God willin' and the creek don't rise..." I always took it to mean, "with a little luck," as in "if God is willing for this to happen, and also the rushing body of water between us and our goal doesn't rise under extreme weather conditions."

But last month, said co-worker told me that someone had told her that she should be careful with that phrase, as it's actually racist. As in, the word "creek" in that saying should be capitalized. As in, it's not "so long as the creek does not rise under heavy rain and wash out the road" so much as it's "so long as those pesky Creek don't rise up in armed revolt."

As with most things, consulting with the mighty oracle at Google will tell you that it most definitely is true that the saying refers to the North American aboriginal people and their violent resistance to the oppressive conditions under which they found themselves to be living, and also that it most definitely is not true and is in fact related to the phrase "come hell or high water" in meaning and intent.

I did not bother Googlin' the origin of that one or attempt to ascertain whether or not H E Double Hockey Sticks should or should not be capitalized in the context in which I used it. Though I did capitalize in that context. But not the previous context. I don't know. I'm unpredictable. I'm an enigma wrapped in a something something.

Anyway, what was I saying again? Oh yeah, God willin' and the river don't rise, I'll be a divorced man in 24 hours or less.

How do I feel about this? I've said it before, and I'll say it again: you met me at a very strange time in my life.

On the one hand, it's been less than a year from her uttering the words "I want a divorce" to (presumably) a judge uttering the words "by the power vested in me by the great State of Texas, I now pronounce you as done with each other as can reasonably be expected when you're raising a kid together. Go forth and multiply. Wait, no. Live long and prosper?" It's been a long, awful, fast, wonderful, bizarre, mundane, thoroughly aggravating, fascinating, amazing, and shitty year. We've been endlessly amicable and relentlessly bitter and vicious to each other. I'm thrilled that the year is almost over, though I spent the first 4 months of it trying like hell (not capitalized?) to change the direction this ship was sailing. I'm thrilled that it wasn't more than a year. I'm thrilled that we were able to come to a (more or less) amicable agreement on terms.

On the other hand, I suspect the emotions are going to hit hard tomorrow or some time shortly thereafter. Even though this is what I wanted (at least since some time in April), and at times wanted so desperately that I was screaming to the heavens "let it be over already!" I hear from others who've gone through it that there will be baffling feelings of grief and loss that the marriage of 20 years, the marriage that was the center of my life for over half my life, is truly dead. I am excited at the prospect of finally moving forward with the next phase, leaving behind the scorched ruin in which I've been living and finding my happiness in some new metaphorical place, wherever that may be. But I can see how it might be possible that the finality of a court agreeing that we are now to fuck right off out of each other's lives, to the degree that's possible for co-parents to do, will stir up afresh all of the feelings of loss and failure that I suffered through for the first 8 months of the year.

2015 has been a helluva year. I'm not at its close the man I was at its opening. While that's certainly true for any year in anyone's life, it is most acutely obvious for me, for this year.

So let tomorrow come. Let the marriage be over. Let the custody arrangement be set in stone. Let us let go.

Happy New Year, errby!
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