Just before I signed the Dissolution of Marriage papers several weeks ago, I paused for a moment with my pen hovering above the line with my name printed neatly below. I'd let them sit idle on the table next to my laptop where I was working for an hour or so while I processed what my pen and my heart was about to sign away. Then enough was enough and just once more, I read through each neatly numbered item -- the factual remains of a ten-year relationship that produced a son, few assets and more pain than my swollen heart could ever have dreamed -- and then dashed my handwriting across the page.
The fax machine buzzed productively and I felt the weight of the months and lies and betrayal and appalling behavior rise up out of me. I felt lighter. I felt a great sense of relief. The end was beginning and that was right.
While I waited for the papers to be served, my grrrlfriends and family tightened their circle around me. Molls and I agreed to plan a ritual, a blessing of the wedding tiara I hopefully passed on to her to wear in her own wedding next March but now felt tarnished. For me, we decided we'd make a ceremony out of removing my wedding rings, of offering the hope embedded in them up to the universe for greater things to come. In the weeks since, I've turned those rings around and around on my finger anxiously, sentimentally. As the sad weight has been subtracted from my body, the rings have fit more loosely and maybe that's why I've noticed their presence more than I did when they were shiny five years ago.
Maybe it was because the rings came to represent something unfelt, uncommitted, unattainable, untrue. Or at least almost all those things. Still, I held on to that ritual, to the vow to myself that I'd have a deep sense of knowing when the time arrived to slip them from the finger that traced to my heart.
You know, I've numbed. The grief of no longer being
loved or respected gave way to the grief of losing my own love and
respect. And then the numbness and rage made it all seem easier. I'd
been feeling the most pain of my life, and given motorcycles and death and near-death and birth and desire and unrequited dreams and un-blogged trauma of the last twelve years, that is significant and palpable.
And then today, the terms my attorney laid out in those signed and sent and sent Dissolution papers were responded to -- and of course, countered -- by the other attorney. I read through, breathed through and then realized I was full of rage, I was infuriated, I was appalled. Most of what I am fighting for in this divorce is for the best interest and well-being of Lil E. But this bit, this moment was about me and only me.
I knew then that it was time. I pulled the rings off of
my finger, rubbed the atrophied place where they've rested quietly.
Then, just as I was about to slip them back on, I realized that these
rings were choking me.
I walked into the room I am staying in at my parents' house, dug through the box of jewelry I've toted over here and found the little velvet navy blue box with the delicate gold clasp. I opened it, inhaled and slid the rings into the fold. That little box, once filled with such promise and nervous energy for a proposal on Christmas Eve to the Widor's Toccata, can now have and hold my wedding rings.
I loved those rings. I chose them myself and was delighted that the diamond chosen for me nestled into the platinum cathedral band with a hint of delicateness in a straight and perfect line across my finger. Part of me hates to put them away. What I cannot bear is the inscription, "My angel, my life" that feels like a sentiment far to empty to wear on my body.
I'm no longer that angel. This is no longer my life. So today, without ritual, without ceremony, I took off my wedding rings. Here I am now, bare and brazen, fingers outstretched, waiting to find exactly what is next for me to wrap my hands around.