I arrived back from a wonderful week in New York, not knowing if I would ever see Sam again, but at that moment I was perfectly ok with that conclusion. While in New York I had become clear on what I needed to do with my life and now I needed to make it a reality.
Waking up on June 12 I had a knot in my stomach the size of a basketball. I knew the next 24 hours was going to be very difficult but kept telling myself that if I could just get through it I would be ok.
Journal Entry 6/12 morning.
“Today I am crossing the road. I am getting on a different bus and heading back to my path. The girl in the mirror is starting to feel stronger. I woke up today knowing that my life will never be the same. The last time I felt this way it was my wedding day. “
I boarded a Southwest flight from Burbank to Oakland early in the morning, landed in Oakland and got in my rental car. I was there for a one on one therapy session to be followed by a joint session with my husband. I was driving to the therapist office and I began to feel a burning behind my eyes, soon tears started to fall and I wasn’t even really crying- water was just pouring down my cheeks. Now that I was back in California it was all very real, suddenly I wanted to be back in NYC sitting at the rooftop bar sipping rosé. As I parked and walked into the therapist office I suddenly felt very calm. I walked into the room and sat on her couch like I had done many times before, and she asked me the question she had asked me each time, “how are you feeling lately?”
I looked at her and said, “I feel pretty good, but I can’t do this anymore.”
Her face had a look of surprise, which she quickly tried to mask, and she replied, “do what?”
I quickly responded, “all of it, the therapy, the marriage, the effort to put it all back together…. I can’t do it anymore. I want a divorce.” HOLY SHIT that felt amazing, I felt such a weight lifted just by saying those words out loud. I was done, I couldn’t keep pretending that one day I was going to wake up and feel different like I could put it all back together and trust him once again. The words of my sister kept playing over and over in my head; “he took 6 years of your life, do not give him one more minute!”
“Ok, I am hearing that you are done trying and you want to file for divorce,” she said.
Well I am glad that is what you are hearing lady because that is what I am saying!!! “Yes, that is what I am saying” I replied. I guessed she was just clarifying my statement and asked that question so I could hear it out loud. So far it all seemed very standard therapy talk, but what she said next was much more surprising, “if you are sure this is what you want then I will support your decision, but now you need to leave.”
What? Leave? Was I being kicked out of therapy? My, soon to be ex, husband and I had a session right after and that is where I was going to tell him my decision. I was so confused. I looked at her, “What do you mean I need to leave? I want to tell him today, I don’t want to work on this or drag it out any longer”
“I cannot be responsible for the reaction he has when he learns the news, I am not sure what will happen. You are going to go and I will inform him of your decision,” she said to me with a concerning look on her face.
Again I thought, WHAT?? I was so thrown and so scared at the same time that I just said ok and got up to gather my things. I am just never going to see him again? A semi-stranger is going to tell my husband that our marriage was over? She was going to end my six and half year relationship and I wasn’t even going to be in the room? I didn’t know what else to do but agree and get the hell out of there. What did she mean his reaction? What did she know that I didn’t? Suddenly I couldn’t move fast enough, I was almost running to my car. I got in my car and started driving immediately. I had decided to stay the night with a friend in San Francisco but suddenly wanted to not only get out of the therapist office but also get the hell out of town!
I decided to drive the long way back to the city and ended up being lost most of the time, I finally found a gas station, I pulled over and bought a pack of cigarettes and sat down on the curb. I hadn’t smoked in years but it seemed like a good time to start again. I was shaking, crying, and smoking all at once. My phone started ringing and I didn’t even want to look at it. I finally did look at the caller ID and saw that it was my sister. She was calling to check in on me and ask if there was anything she could do or say to make me feel better, she knew today was the day. She couldn’t. I felt like my heart had been stabbed with a hot iron poker and someone was trying to rip it out through my throat. I kept thinking; What did I just do? Was it the right thing? Why wouldn’t the therapist let me tell him I wanted a divorce? Why was she that concerned about his reaction?
As I tried to drive again and talk to my sister I was rambling, shaking, and making very little sense. She was as stunned as I was that my therapist had asked me to leave and that she would tell him, but she felt relief that it was out there and done in some sense. Suddenly I needed to walk around, I felt like I was having an outer body experience, I told my sister I would call her back and get out of the car. I found a strip mall and decided to get some air plus I needed another cigarette without stinking up my rental car and having to pay extra! I kept looking at the clock on my iphone, had it happened? Did he know?
As I sat in the parking lot, chain-smoking to hold back the tears, I thought about the first time I uttered the words; I want a divorce. It wasn’t any easier this time to say the words out loud but the one major difference was that this time I had the support of my family and friends- no one but my x thought I should stay.
When my first husband and I divorced I had zero support from my family. From the day, I left I was living on friend’s couches and basically using my trunk as a closet. I hadn’t prepared financially to leave, much like this time, and my parents were not happy with my decision- which they made very very clear. Granted, when they knew it was what I really wanted they got behind me and supported the decision in the end but it was a long few months of going through it on my own. The other factor of saying the words, I want a divorce out loud means I was giving up. No matter what the circumstances were I felt like I was “failing” at marriage yet again. I know I know, it isn’t failing but no matter what it actually is, in that moment divorce feels like a failure- I felt like I had failed.
After a few cocktails and dinner with a girlfriend in SF I went to bed though I didn’t sleep at all. Tossing and turning while going over every moment and every word of that day in my head. I wondered how he took the news, what his reaction was, why he hadn’t tried to contact me, what was he doing at this moment. Even with all that we had been through I still didn’t believe that his intention was ever to hurt me, I never thought of him to be a malice person. Though I could only imagine the rage he had against me now for taking this step and calling it quits- especially the way it all happened.
I woke up the next day hoping to feel better, I didn’t. My limbs felt like they each weighed 1000 lbs. Just the simple act of getting out of bed seemed impossible but I had a flight to catch and was very anxious to get out of town.
Journal entry 6/13:
“I thought yesterday was hard- but that was until I woke up today. The head spin and fog are overwhelming today. I don’t feel relief, I am just utterly exhausted and sad. It hit me that I may never see my husband again. I remember this thought with my first husband. It is just so strange to go from saying I do and planning the rest of my life with this person- family, kids, dreams, building a life to never seeing him again. I really want to go one day without crying… that would be nice.”
I arrived at the airport, sunglasses securely on my face, and went to purchase my usual airplane necessities; water and a gossip magazine. “Will that be all?” the kind lady behind the counter asked. I went to swipe my debit card and put in my pin, “sorry that card didn’t work ma’m” she said to me. “Huh? I will try it again, I must have used the wrong pin” I responded. I swiped it again and put in my pin, taking extra caution to put in the correct pin number- I knew it was correct because it was my wedding date…1-0-0-8. The card was denied again. I could tell the other fliers behind me were growing anxious so I dug around in my handbag for a ten-dollar bill, paid and was on my way. As I walked away I thought that is so strange the card didn’t work. The one thing my husband had been good about was helping support me financially until I got back on my feet. Since I had a few moments I decided to call the bank. As the line rang I was hoping to myself that it wasn’t a fraud issue (we had that issue a lot) because then I would have to call my husband and tell him, go to the bank and sign documents, etc… the whole process was just a pain in the ass. As I called Bank of America and punched in all the numbers it finally connected me to a representative, I explained the situation and she quickly informed me “I am sorry Ms. Sanders, that account has been closed.”
“WHAT?” I screamed into the phone, everyone in line for my flight turned to look at me. I ignored the looks and went back to the phone “what do you mean the account has been closed? When did that happen?” “It was closed yesterday afternoon, has there been some mistake?” she asked. “MISTAKE? Mistake? Yes, there has been a giant mistake but it has nothing to do with Bank of America!” and I hung up the phone. This was one of those times I really wished for an old time phone so I could really slam it down, such satisfaction in that!
I crawled onto the flight back to LA and stared out the window for the next 55 minutes. He closed our bank account…. suddenly it hit me. He had just made the first move in what would be a very long war.