The peak of my despair hit at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday as I drove to my HTML class, for which I’d never received a cancellation alert. With plenty of time allotted to take the kids to their dad, and drive to my destination, a disastrous drop-off sent me reeling down the emotional spiral of divorce.
As I drove away from what can only be described as an unexpected, venomous encounter with my ex, I worried about my kids. What does it do to them when their father and I can’t contain our hate? We despise each other, yet we’re supposed to parent together. We have different views on life, yet we’re expected to co-exist. We have history that I wish could be erased.
Not knowing how to get to the Wake Tech campus, I input the address into Google. But what I really needed to do was cry. So I pulled over to call my bestie.
When she answered the phone I burst into tears, pulling over the car to be safe, rather than sorry.
It didn’t matter that just yesterday we talked about all of the ways I’m doing great; my business is growing, my kids are learning, they love school, we’re doing fine.
What mattered at that moment was all that was wrong.
There’s a lot that’s wrong.
I cried so much that when looked in the car’s vanity mirror, my eyes were bloodshot, and rimmed in red. The splotchiness that comes with a burst of unstoppable tears speckled my cheeks deep reds and pinks and white.
“I’m sorry Stace, I have to figure out where I’m going. I’ll call you later…”
Pulling it together enough to get to where I was going, I covered up my face with a good dose of powder as the car idled in park. Nothing could be done for the eyes, and I knew it as I entered the fluorescent-lit hallway leading to the classroom that would never be.
Going back to school was supposed to be the sure-fire way to propel my business to the next level. Had it not been so important, I would have turned around right after the tear inducing fight and gone home to lick my wounds. I wasn’t sure there was anything more to disappoint me on this day, but there it was.
The long drive home gave me time to think, and cry some more, and think, and cry, and think.
A cookies and cream milkshake from Chick-fil-A filled my empty heart more than my empty belly.
I got home, threw my bags on the kitchen floor, tossing my clothes to the ground as I walked to my room. Choosing my flannel, ducky pajamas, I headed back to the kitchen to locate chocolate, a side to go with the milkshake.
I emailed my lawyer who offered solutions.
I called my mother who couldn’t hide her worry.
I got down to business, surrounding myself with the paper, and digital trail that are the legal requirements for ending a marriage; custody agreements, separation agreements, schedule A versus schedule B, records of sleepovers and school pick ups, receipts, emails and copies of texts, lists of ways that agreements weren’t met, or were, or should have been.
By the time the sore eyes could no longer see, the exhausted brain could no longer think, I marched the weary body to its bed.
When I awoke on Wednesday morning, my rush to make it out the door for a meet-up of self-employed Raleigh, businesswomen made me almost forget the drama from the night before.
I checked the mirror to see if I’d accomplished the goal; presentable, professional, together.
The outfit was good, the jewelry just right, and the makeup as it’s done everyday.
But the eyes told the story that good clothes and jewels couldn’t mask.
The windows to my soul were all fogged up by the legal, financial, and emotional toll of an unhappy marriage, and the ugly course it takes on the way to the end.