It was the day I had been dreading for the past three months. No, not dreading, I was glad. I was happy. I knew this was the day that would end it. This day would define me. It would be a new beginning. A new chapter in my life.
Busy typing away at work was all I could do to keep myself from getting nervous. I watched the clock, watching for the hour to strike to leave. I kept busy. Calling for interviews, writing articles. Anything from stopping and thinking about what was about to happen.
Today, I was getting my divorce.
The decision did not come easy. A decade spent with this person. Friendship, attraction, then came dating and finally marriage. We had a long distance relationship for the first two years. The long trips back home, then the long flights. Visiting family. Work. School. Finally, we decided it was time.
The happy life that I worked hard for, was about to be over.
The court house seemed dark. Lonely. Everyday as a reporter, my job was to go in and make a quick left. That would get me to the deeds department, marriages and divorce records. Names of unknown people that I would write down and print in the newspaper. I always wondered why this type of information was made public. Why must a local newspaper send someone to get the information and print them out.
But this time, I was making a right. I was heading to divorce court. I was nervous, afraid. I had no one with me to keep me company. I had no support, no family or friends. I felt ashamed. I worked hard. I wanted this to work.
He didn't fight for me. He didn't try.
After a few hours of sitting in court, watching other cases of people getting divorced, others adopting children and others just trying to fight custody battles, I couldn't help but feel naked. Here I was, sitting and watching others go through a life changing event. It was an open book for everyone to see. Such a vulnerable time in people's lives.
But my name never came up.
The last case was called and the judge was about to leave.
Then he noticed me. I was all alone, standing in the isle. Despretly not wanting to be forgotten.
"I am sorry, I don't seem to have your case."
A few minutes later I got called. He had found it and I was indeed the last case. I raised my right hand and swore to tell the truth and nothing but the truth so help me God.
"You are here to get a divorce is that correct," the judge stated.
"Yes, sir," I said.
And were was the husband, was his next question.
"Oh, never mind," he said.
He quickly saw that he had signed his rights away. He didn't want anything to do with this divorce. Whichever way the judge decided, he signed away any rights to anything.
The divorce proceedings lasted but a few minutes.
Any kids? No.
Any debts? No.
Any property? No.
"Congratulations Ms. Acosta, your divorce has been granted," he stated with a smile on his face.
Once I thanked him and I walked out of the court house, a feeling of relief came over me. I was free. The state of Texas said so.
Then it started to rain.
Was that the universe crying for a broken heart? The end of what should have been a "till death do us part?"
I felt numb. And that feeling didn't leave me for a very long time.
Even know, six years later. This day of celebration is met with uncertainty. Did he finally do what he said he would do if I left him? Would he ever do what he said he would do and spend the rest of his life making it up to me? Or is he happily married now with three kids?
Unsettling questions have gone unanswered. I try to live life in the moment. But little things I see during the day sometimes bring back memories.
I see happy couples. I see coworkers married, with children and I wonder - what would life have been like had we stayed together? Would I have made a good mom? Would I have been able to follow my dreams had I been married?
A day does not go by where I don't think of him. I think of what went wrong. What could have been? Would I be here if I were still married?
It seems that as soon as my divorce was final, things in my life changed for the better.
After enrolling in journalism school, and becoming an editor at the university paper I soon after, become the editor and general manager of my own newspaper. I had finally accomplished what I wanted in life.
Today, six years later, I wish that I would stop remembering this day as if it were a birthday or a celebration. I wish I could just forget this day. But there are certain days you never forget. Your birthday, family birthdays and celebrations, other people's days and then there's yours: the day you get married and the day your marriage ends.