The Cambridge Family Courthouse has a parking lot right across the main entrance. For those of you (like me), in anticipation of the inevitable after leaving the house late because obviously your kids’ sneakers did not fit exactly this morning, of all mornings, the fact that you are about to get divorced seemed relatively minor in comparison to the sneakers situation.
Battling through construction on Memorial Drive, and devouring an extra-large coffee by the time you get to the courthouse you need to go to the bathroom so bad that the $20 parking fee seems like a done deal!. The parking guy is very nice — with a smirk he asks how long I will be staying, and I assuredly say that no longer than 1 hour. And so you get out of your car, right after you have gathered all of the contents of your purse that spilled on the floor…
So you get into the courthouse and you are faced with the inevitable, the security line. You frantically look for the restroom, and surely you can only go to the loo past security. In a secure state of mind, so to speak.
So there you are in the security line. It is sort of like Memorial Drive but on foot. The nice gentleman in front of you, judging by your face, figures that you must be super late, and offers to go in front of him. See, chivalry is not dead! It is there, in the security line at family courthouse!
I nod to the nice gentleman because I am indeed late. Pass security, and hallelujah I am in! And so you find the holy grail of things…the bathroom!!
And now you are off to find the divorce office. The stairs …Why are they so, steep? I, of course, wanted to wear heels. Who gets divorced in flats? I mean, seriously. Ladies, I know you are with me on that one!
After a healthy cardio up the steep stairs, I make it to the second floor. I now know why my soon-to-be ex is into Cross Fit. I bet he made it up these stairs in PR (personal record, an official Cross Fit term) time. And so you enter “the room”!!! It is grey, dark and everything in it is grey too. If you put on some tasteful classical music, shall we say Mozart’s Requiem, it will fit the ambiance just perfectly. It is depressing.
There he is. My still-for-today spouse, who going forward in this document shall be referred to as the “ex”. I was brushing up on my legal clause!
On his laptop, prepared as always!
There are more forms to sign.
I need a pen. The spilled contents of my purse had one of those and it seems that this particular element did not make it back into the purse. But my lip liner did! Obviously a much more needed item in my books!
I walk over to a clerk. When I ask her for a pen, I get the “look” — the kind of look that you only get when you know you are NOT getting a pen!
Obviously the judicial system is flawed if they cannot even afford pens. That is why you bring a lawyer, they have pens and paper and your documents are signed!
Here comes the last sentimental moment of my soon-to-be-ending marriage. We share a pen together. The clerk calls our name. Yep, that would still be me (for 30 days at least) as per the state of Massachusetts. She looks at me, and at my ex. (They are very good here at giving looks!!)
“COURT ROOM #6”, she announces.
Oh. Then she asks if I need an interpreter.
I look puzzled. (I mean we have done family therapy, where the therapist sits in front of us and interprets to each one of us what the other one in reality meant and felt) and so I shake my head no. She looks at me again. “The reason I am asking is because you are not saying anything, ma’am”.
“Hm, well, I am here to get a divorce. I have said it all”. The interpreter will not likely listen to what I have to say, so there. But I appreciate the free service. And “no thank you”!
So we have to walk out of this building and go to another building to get to the magical, courtroom #6! The walk is graceful. Spring is in the air. The ex is gallant and opens doors and all. It is almost like a first date except in reality this is more like the last supper! But where was I, oh yes. Courtroom #6.
So for those of you who have never been in a courtroom, it is a spacious room with benches on two sides of the walkway. As a matter of fact, the two sides look like a wedding set up, where you have the “bride” and the “groom” side and an official representative sitting at the end of the room. The only difference really is the lack of floral decor and the fact that if the two of you are sitting on the opposite sides it means you have a restraining order against each other, but in all other matters the look is very similar. So it is like a wedding with a reversed result!
If you ever think you are the only person in this world getting a divorce, and in the divorce process there are days when you feel this is only happening to you, once you get to the family courtroom #6, the amount of people there prove quite the contrary. So you sit there and observe how other people do the “deed”. A few things you will notice. For example, if you cannot see the judge’s head behind the pile of files during a particular case that means that the couple on trial owns a yacht. During our trial I could see the judge’s whole head and shoulders, and from this fact alone I was reminded (because we all need reminders) that I don’t own a yacht and neither does my soon-to-be ex, and neither one of us is likely to get one in the near future.
Another interesting phenomenon the yacht couple were discussing was “lice”. Yes, you read this correctly. The kids have lice and it takes a judge to figure this lice situation out. In my humble opinion, given that the father is bald proves the fact that he is not the carrier, and has a low chance of re-infestation, so lice should be his deal. Also, dear people, if lice take you to court and you need two lawyers to resolve the matter, there is a “lice” lady that takes care of this situation in a matter of hours. It is a $200 investment and less time-consuming than the court. Oh wait, never mind, you guys are dividing a yacht too!
And then your time comes. Bam! Stamp. And you are out.
The walk outside.
In my head, the walk out of the courthouse was like a movie. The door flung open, I walk out with a look of sadness and despair, the look of morning. I pause. Glance at the spring weather outside, take out a cigarette (hey, this is my imagination), light it, and take a long drag, camera zooms in on my mouth (I have the perfect red lips). The smoke comes out, and the camera shuts down. La Fin!
But this is not Hollywood. So I scramble for my stuff, make it down the stairs, walk outside with mascara running down my cheeks (note to self, invest in waterproof mascara).
And then you will walk back to the parking guy, and he will walk out, get your car keys, and tell you: “See, I told you it will take you more than an hour to get here.” Smirk.
And he is right, it took 10 years to get here. Well, almost 10, but who is counting now, right? Smirk.
Originally published at medium.com