I am sitting next to a stapled packet of mind-numbing legal documents.
Stamps and notaries.
Looks like a big wonky passport, at times. A stamp. A scribble of someone’s name. A date.
I guess this is it.
Legally, the end of an agreement. No contest. Swept away almost as quickly as it came.
For some reason, the idea of a marriage being confined to a number feels a little haunting. Almost like branding cattle or some serial number on the bottom of your wireless router. But I suppose we are all numbers, aren’t we? We are statistics and I suppose I became part of a much larger one. Unlike the “men who go bald before they’re 30” piece of pie in the chart that I assume is substantially smaller than the couples in their 20’s who realize it’s all for the better.
My last notary was finished yesterday, via UPS store by a woman named Pamela Anderson. Which was funny, because well, Pamela Anderson is known for a lot of things.
“So, whatcha need notarized??”
“Oh, just, these uh, name change papers for a divorce…just one little thing.”
“Huh, I’m sorry sweetie. Happened to me too! That’s why I’m here…”
She was shorter, with a tattoo sleeve that I couldn’t make out, dark curly hair. She was from Beaverton, OR. I thought that was funny. The only thing I could say was, “Oh yeah! Nice! There are some pretty good places to eat out there!”
We talked about missing good public transportation, and just living in a big city where things were always going on.
I paid my five dollars and walked back out into the muggy inferno that is July in Mississippi.
I just see a lot of fancy words.
A lot of them are confusing. A little over my head. I can’t imagine how people going through this much pain can stand to process the government jargon and hences and hereforeouts and stipulations.
Eventually, we are filed away into a cabinet, along with all the other ones that didn’t quite work out. Some, for the best. Others, tell a different story.
There will come a time when I will forget what so much of this felt like. Thirty years from now I may read this, or some other youngin’ who is diving into a world of loss and heartbreak, and I will remember what that pain felt like, in my gut, and all over. I already brace myself from time to time, when I get that text from one of my family members saying, “I need you to call me.” or when I hear someone’s defeated tone. I brace myself for impact — for the inevitable and unexpected crack in the Earth when you least expect it.
Except today, I feel good today.
I had scrambled eggs and kale for breakfast.
Also, a steamy hot cup of PG Tips with just enough milk, that it only lightly scalded the back of my throat, which I do actually enjoy very much.
I put on a few episodes of “The Two Fat Ladies” and lost myself for a bit.
I always know where I am.
I’d like to say that I live my days with intention.
To be kind and understanding.
To carry about loads and loads of grace. For myself and for others who might misinterpret me understanding them.
I’m okay with being a number.
But only because I realize we are all more substantial than the numbers and stats and percentages that define us.
As for case #1403631…
There were a lot of things, like canning jams in the summer time.
Or passing out at Bagby hot springs,
conversations in the red Jetta (the good and the terrible)
and for the life of me,
I can’t remember a single day wasted.