It took three months from the date of my divorce for me to find out about it.
Having resigned to part ways in as good-natured a way as possible, Z and I had decided that lawyers would be unnecessary to the process. We DIYed the divorce with as much aplomb as one might’ve planned a wedding: we smothered our coffee table with stacks of forms and divided our possessions with an unerring eye for detail (e.g., Z kept our roll of stamps, while I pocketed our A4 envelopes).
When time came to file, I swept our forms into a folder and took one Forever stamp (oh, the irony) from
our his roll with me to the courthouse. The instructions had insisted on the necessity of this stamp as, once the divorce went through, the court was supposed to mail us a postcard saying “Congratulations! You’re divorced.”
Once I got to the court, however, I was informed no such postcard would be sent. The State had finally discovered the internet and would be e-mailing me instead.
As I slid the stamp back into my purse, the irreparably jaded civil servant asked if I had any questions. Almost as an afterthought, I asked how long it would take.
“About six months,” he replied, then paused. Scrutinizing me, he added, “Why — you in a rush to marry someone else?”
After filing in January, Z and I began slowly disentangling our lives.
In August, I finished up my Master’s degree and flew to France for a wedding. Being in the country without Z felt both strange and liberating. (Strange because my relationship with Z had comprised so much of my initial Francophilia. Liberating because I finally realized I could enjoy the country independently.)
Upon my return, I landed a job at a university in Boston. With a deadline to move out of state, I grew increasingly concerned about our lack of a “Congratulations! You’re divorced” e-mail.
So I logged into the court’s website to check the status of our case. (I’d checked the site every couple of weeks, but it’d always said our case was in queue.)
Now? The case status read one mysterious word …
I had no idea what that meant, especially since we hadn’t received any notifications from the court.
Had we fumbled the paperwork so badly the entire case got thrown out?
Perhaps our assigned judge had passed away or been fired (“deceased” + “deposed” = “disposed,” I guess?).
Or was this the last step before a decision was made? (Possibly the judge had been indisposed before, but was now “disposed” and ready to review our case.)
I knew I wouldn’t get any answers by staring at the court’s website, which looked like it’d been built on the Geocities platform of the late ’90s. With much sighing and muttering of anarchist screeds (why does the State have such a huge say in our personal lives anyway?), I dragged myself to the courthouse again.
That was how I found out I’d been divorced for months.
Even now that I’m living and working in Boston, Z and I keep in occasional touch. Though our relationship didn’t work out, I don’t regret the memorable chunk of my life it spanned (for what it’s worth, I decided not to change my name back).
Still, I’m moving on — exploring Boston, practicing yoga, and teaching myself Spanish. As part of that onward movement, I’m veering away from blogging to devote myself to other writing projects.
For those who have followed over the years, thank you for taking an interest in my misadventures on both sides of the Atlantic. I hope you’ve been tickled by my journey from bumbling expat to femme fatale (divorcées are necessarily femme fatales, right? — or is that widows?).
This is not goodbye (a word whose etymology stems from”God be with you,” and which I’ve always found needlessly grim). Rather, I’d say au revoir — “to the seeing again.”
I know I have more to live. Someday, I’ll have more to share.