Natalie Zed: Defying Gravity

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Day of the Dead

Way back in the middle of June, I got a shit-ton of paperwork from my ex-husband's lawyer. After the agonizing wait for the year-long separation to run out, the time had officially come to file for divorce. I read through all the forms, scrawled my illegible signature across each one, and got them notarized. I sent them off the day before I left to spend a month in Los Angeles. While away, my ex sent me an email to let me know that the papers had been received and formally filed on July 12th, my twenty-sixth birthday. In a mere six weeks, the process should have been complete.

Four months passed. Because he had to file in the summer, most people working for the family court system were on vacation. This led to a huge backlog of paperwork and ridiculous wait times. All because every judge in that godforsaken city decided to spend six weeks at the cottage instead of placing three stamps and a signature on my divorce papers. Every day I would check the mailbox, and no matter what other goodies might be in there for me, I'd always swear a little under my breath when once again, my divorce judgment failed to show up.

And then, today, the Day of the Dead, after a very full weekend of Halloween-related debauchery, it finally arrived in a nondescript white envelope. The paperwork that officially severed my last remaining legal connection to my ex-husband.
I proceeded to pour myself an awful lot of bourbon over ice and am going to get blazing drunk. I can't imagine a more logical or appropriate course of action.

The process not completely over. 31 days after the judgment was granted, I can request a copy of my Certificate of Divorce, the last bit of paperwork that will ever need to be processed in the matter and something I will need if I ever want to get married again (ha. ha.). But the judgment is the important thing, the formal degree that the marriage I once had has been dissolved.

Because here's the thing: while I've been using the term ex-husband since Ed and I separated, we've still been married. We've been completely autonomous, completely apart, since I got on a plane at the end of June last year, and as more time and geographical distance elapsed and I started to scab and scar over. But the feeling of being somehow still being bound to another person that I would be perfectly content to never see or speak to again was deeply uncomfortable, and the wait has been awful.

I expected to want to celebrate. I expected to do an undignified dance and invite everyone I know out to drink with me. It's a kind of freedom, to be sure, but even more so it feels like a cauterization. An old wound that might have eventually gone bad has been reopened so it can finally heal. This is good; it also hurts like a motherfucker.

I have a high pain tolerance. Winter is almost here. Its the Day of the Dead. I'm ready.

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Natalie Zed updated @ 8:11 PM!!