February 4, 2000
Cue: Tammy Wynette


David called me at work last Friday morning.

"Well," he said simply. "I'm divorced." 

And with that -- sans hoopla or fanfare or jail time for either of us -- it was over. He was a free man. (Or as "free" as a man can be with new flowery sheets on his bed, a medicine cabinet full of Super-Mega-Absorbency tampons and five pairs of dripping wet pantyhose slung over his shower curtain rod.)

I immediately wrote to my pal Feef. "We're no longer committing adultery!" I crowed. "Now we're just living in plain old garden-variety sin!" 

(I vaguely remember saying the exact same thing twenty-some years ago, when the balding aluminum sales guy got his divorce. Funny, the recurring patterns in our lives.)

She wrote back:

" ... 'garden variety' sin?..........heck -- all you need is some Bleu Cheese dressing on top! (insert Willie Nelson here):
"Bleu cheese, smilin' on youuuu.......
It's about damn ti-iiime........
Dee do do dee do."

... And PLUS, garden variety sin is the best kind. I'm pretty sure it contains antioxidants."

 I wanted to sing! I wanted to shout! I wanted to broadcast the news over the company P.A. system ... not to mention the Internet!

(I wanted to put my phone on "Do Not Disturb" and run the ten blocks to the Oakland Tribune Tower, dressed in nothing but a raincoat ... and a smile!)

But I had to curb my glee with a little maternal levelheadedness.  At least, temporarily. The girls had flown in from TicTac the night before, and I was distracted with making dinner plans and buying Polaroid film and drawing little maps of the Alameda/Oakland bus system. I knew we had a busy, Tot-intensive weekend ahead of us.

So the *celebrating* -- and the raincoat -- would have to wait for a few days.

Amazingly ... *I* was divorced for two whole months before I even knew I was divorced.

Or maybe it's not so "amazing," when you think about it.  Communication between the Ex-Hub and I during that particular chunk of time was patchy ... to put it mildly. There was a period of about six months there when we communicated solely through e-mail, routed through The Tots, and the occasional terse phone conversation. 

(I'm sure the Ex-Hub would have preferred to *communicate* with me through a séance, at that point. But that's another story for another day.)

Compared to David's four-year divorce, mine was a mere blip on the timeline of history.

I ran away with Mr. Wrong in August of 1997. The E.H., feeling justifiably betrayed and homicidal, began divorce proceedings more or less immediately.  I drove up to TicTac sometime in the early part of 1997, where I spent an hour sitting in my ex-kitchen with the soon-to-be-ex husband and our "lawyer" (my brother-in-law's brother, who handled the divorce for us for free, as a family favor), signing some not-very-complicated papers. We agreed on everything, including child custody, my monthly support payments, division of "property." (I got my high school yearbooks: he got everything else.)

And then I went back to Oregon and didn't hear anything about it until months later ... until long after Mr. Wrong and I had split up, and I'd moved alone into the Tree House, and the E.H. and I had begun to find our way back to being friends again.

I called him one night, midway through the summer ... fueled by cheap chablis and loneliness ... and asked him how the divorce proceedings were coming along.

"Oh, that was all final in May," he said.

Say whut?

"You mean we've been divorced for two months, and you didn't even tell me about it?" I screeched.

He got a little defensive. "I thought maybe the kids mighta told you about it," he said.

I said no, nobody had told me a thing. "Don't we get papers or something?" I asked. "Isn't there some kind of official notice sent out?"

The E.H. said yeah, he'd received a notice from the court, saying that the divorce was final. But he hadn't thought about sending me a copy. "I didn't think you'd want one," he said.


So of course the obvious question is ... what now?

Am I shopping for wedding dresses and waffle irons, effective immediately?


I know that David and I are partnered for life. Ours is the singularly most secure, committed relationship either of us has ever had. (And of course it happened when neither one of us was really "looking" for it. It's like the TV commercial I saw for e-greetings.com this morning  --  "I spent my whole life trying to find love, and then love finally reached out and found ME.")

I know that eventually I'm going to have to change the last name on my checks. We've talked about it, almost from the very beginning.

But I'm willing to wait until everything is right.

Next time I get married, I want things to be perfect ... or as close to perfect as possible. Basically, I want everything I didn't get the first time around.  A real proposal, for one thing: preferably something silly and romantic, when I'm least expecting it. Flowers. Music. A dress that didn't cost $17.00 on a JC Penney's clearance rack. A real honeymoon, involving real suitcases and real room service (and as little *real sleep* as possible).

And most of all, I want to know what it feels like to be deeply, profoundly, madly, passionately, crazily in love with the person I'm married to. I'm looking forward to that more than anything, I think.

It will be a brand-new experience for me.

But I also want David to have something that I DID have, and that's a little time, post-divorce, to get used to the idea of not being married anymore. Because regardless of the people or the circumstances or the amount of legal silliness involved ... regardless of how long you were married, or how long it took to become un-married ... it's still takes some time to process the fact that -- in this particular instance, anyway -- "til death do you part" no longer applies.

So for the time being, things stay just the way they are. SecraTerri and DRaftervoi continue to blissfully share a rental agreement and a toothbrush holder ... if not a last name. 


Now if you'll excuse me ... I need to look for a raincoat.