It was an ordinary day. Following last night’s overcast skies, rain poured. I chanted the Hare Krishna mantra, hearing the eternal sounds and allowing them to touch my soul.
About an hour into my practice, I set my beads down as tears spilled out when I thought of today’s court date to formalize the termination of my twenty-eight-year marriage. My heart turned and recoiled as I faced the need to forever, and once and for all, set aside my long-cherished hope for love between Nog and me.
It’s really much more than that. The end of the marriage sears open the underbelly of my belief–an imperative belief–that love is achievable. I squirm with uncertainty. Determinedly I wipe tears and pick up beads in a conscious move to soothe the raw roaring doubt: the foundation of my entire life could be faulty.
I don’t call him Nog anymore–unless I slip. I call him Nagaraja, the name I first came to know him by, back when I was a separate person from him, when I still had youth.
Arriving late to the courtroom wasn’t a subconscious subversive act: a bus stopped for ten minutes at a one-lane section of 6th Street.
A few things stood out in court:
- Couples divorcing sat together.
- The women petitioned the court (is this the pulse of a raging unhappiness consuming so many women in their marriages?) . The men simply agreed when the judge addressed them. All men, but one, appeared mousey.
- The majority of the marriages took place in 2010, 2011 and 2012. The longest marriage (besides mine) was seven years old.
- Several of the men dressed in old jeans and a t-shirt. Most of the women dressed down–a shocking contrast to the Bollywood-type sequined, long dresses at the wedding I attended at the Ritz Carlton last weekend.
- No one was accompanied by other family members–another contrast to the 275 people at the Ritz wedding. Soon to be ex-husband and ex-wife stood alone at a podium as the judge, by rote, inquired,
“Were you married on August 2, 2010?” “Yes.”
“Did you file for a divorce on August 23 of this year?” “Yes.”
“Have you lived in Florida for more than six months?” “Yes.”
“Bailiff, collect their driver’s licenses. It is noted as issued on February 2, 2011. Is your marriage irretrievably broken?” “Yes.”
“Is there anything the court can do to help you make amends?” Everyone said, “No,”
I said, “I wish.”
“Are there any children from the marriage?” “No.”
“Are you pregnant or expecting?” “No.”
“Are you requesting alimony?” “No.”
“Are there any outstanding debts in the marriage that the court needs to attend to?” “No.”
“Do you wish to return to your maiden name.” Most people did, I didn’t. I’ll wear “Comtois” like a badge in recognition of a valiant attempt made.
“The court hereby dissolves the marriage and you are now single. How do you wish to receive notice of the court’s findings?” “By email.”
Time at the podium: about three minutes. Time in the courtroom for nearly a dozen divorces–
The meter’s thirty-minute red flag rose as I approached the car to begin my journey into answering the query haunting me over the past two years: Can genuine love be found in the material world?
I’m not searching for another relationship, but an approach to living. Damn, I hope I can answer, Yes, and tell you about it.
I refuse to give up heart, and pray you have courage too,