Posted by: itneverrainsinseattle | February 16, 2011

Filing For Divorce, Take Two

The second time I went to file for divorce, it went like this:

Two weeks later. Friday.

I left work early. The weather was unseasonably warm and still. Although the sky was overcast, there were patches of blue here and there. I circled the area near the courthouse and quickly found street parking very near my destination. I paid for a couple hours parking; the sign said I had to be gone by 4pm, which was fine: the clerk’s office would be closed by then, anyway.

I strolled to the 3rd Street entrance, found the right door, and transferred everything from my pockets to my jacket while advancing in the line to get to the metal detector.

“Step right up! Walk on through like you own the place.” The deputy at the metal detector was having a good time at his job, and you know what? I have no doubt that if there were trouble, he’d be more than able to do what was necessary to take care of it. But his manner was jovial as he kept the line moving . I walked my paperwork through, and picked up my jacket.

“Sir,” asked the man who had scanned my jacket, “is there a pocket knife in your coat?”

Oops. I’d forgotten I had that.

I’ve gone through multiple airport security checkpoints on multiple occasions (all of them accidental) with knives much larger, and never been called out on it. Here, security personnel actually seemed… competent. 

“Yes,” I answered.

“If you could just check it with that man over there.”

I gave my pocket knife to a deputy who put it in a bag and handed me a claim number. Imagine that happening at airport security. I was actually going to get my knife back.

I went up to the sixth floor, over to the cashier station. There were three windows, but there were… three people working at them. No line. The woman at one of the windows waved me in. Not the same woman as last time, which was a relief, given the outstanding impression I must have made last time.

As before, I felt sheepish handing over the documents, but she made short work of that. She smiled, handed me a brief form, pointed to where I needed to provide some basic information, and all the while, she was stamping and stapling and clipping and filing and turning my modest paperwork into a mountain of Processed Documentation.

“Okay, all we need now is a check for $280.”

I pulled out my new set of checks, with my new address printed proudly at the top, and filled out the very first one and handed it over.

She finished up stamping and stapling and organizing, and here’s where things get weird:

“Okay, here’s what you do. This set is for you. This set is for her. Since this is uncontested, you are responsible for getting these to her. Here’s the list of what you need to bring when you’re ready to finalize. Only one of you has to show up. Cases are handled at 1:30 in the afternoon, Monday through Friday, but you have to wait at least 90 days. So, that means on day 91, if you want to, you can come in and finalize. Here’s information on the parenting course; you’ll both be required to take it, but you can go to different sessions. Here’s the form you send back to tell us what day you want to finalize.”

She was pleasant. She was helpful.

“How far in advance do I have to submit the form asking for the date we want?” It was the only question that occurred to me. For all I know, the instructions may have been on the sheet, but I didn’t seem them when I quickly scanned them over.

“Make sure it gets here at least two weeks before the date you selected.”

“You’ve been very helpful.”

“Thank you.”

“I hope I never see you again.” I said this with a smile, and she laughed delightedly.

I headed back down to the main entrance with paperwork in hand, retrieved my pocket knife, and went outside.

It was warm. In fact, it felt a little warmer than when I’d gone in. The air remained calm, and the sky remained overcast with patches of blue. I strolled to my car. The city beckoned to me. It had been a while since I’d been downtown without somewhere to be immediately, and it was nice to just be in the city. I walked up to my car and put the paperwork in the back seat.

From the sidewalk where I”d parked, you could see Safeco Field and Quest Stadium, with the Union Station buildings (where I once worked) and other landmarks nearby. In the other direction, the downtown skyline loomed overhead, gleaming brightly in the fading daylight. A large billboard featuring Nicole Kidman as a blonde, showing off some jewelry or the like, smiled down upon me. The colors were somehow brighter. The air clearer. I wanted to shout. I wanted to stay silent. I wanted to run down to my old haunts in Chinatown. I wanted to stand still. I wanted to drive away. I wanted a hug. I wanted to be alone.

I typed up a quick text message on my phone. It was direct: “Just got out of courthouse. I have filed.” I sent that message to a few close friends and family members. Then I leaned against the car and watched the city of Seattle do it’s thing. There was still another half hour before the cars had to be off the street in anticipation of rush hour. I drank in the city. I read the text message responses. I felt connected to my friends and family. I felt alone. I did not, however, feel lonely.

I thought about sending that message to Penny. Eventually I did, but for that moment in time… that half hour or so, I didn’t let her in just yet. I just allowed myself to be.

I took a quick digital video of the view from where I stood. I documented the moment. I still didn’t know what to say, think, feel, do.

I took a last deep breath of the city. Time to get back to my chores and responsibilities. I got into my car and pulled away.

91 Days. That’s 13 weeks. Thirteen weeks to the day from when I filed, assuming Penny and I have all the details wrapped up by then. My guess is that we will.

The countdown has begun.

I have filed for divorce.

My marriage is all over, but for the final paperwork. I don’t feel particularly happy or sad or angry or down. So, what do I feel?

I feel ready.



  1. **hug**

  2. Congratulations. May waves of relief was over you.

  3. Gosh I remember that feeling. It was a mixture of sadness and liberation for me. Very strange. It almost felt like I could breathe again.

    Glad that things are moving. Good for you for fully appreciating where you are.

  4. What you feel is unrestrained freedom. You aren’t used to it. So while you find it very pleasurable, you also find it unfamiliar. Visualize your new emotional situation as if you are a sailing ship which just cast off from the dock. It’s too soon to unfurl the sails; you have to let the tide carry you for a bit. But the further away from the dock you get, the more you will unfurl the sails and pick up speed, which will (if you know your physics) improve the stability of the craft – and you – as the conn will more readily respond to your touch. You will again be Master and Commander (Buckle my Swash!) of your own fate! Sail on, sail on, Sailor!

  5. It makes me unbelievably happy that you feel this at peace with your situation. I’m very happy for you and so (so, sO, SO!) proud of you for handling it like you are!

    Welcome to the rest of your life, Inris… 🙂

  6. Wow. I love this narrative, I really do. I felt like I was right there with you and feeling that moment. I remember it for me. I did feel alone but I felt empowered and a sense of closure. I loved your text…was awesome. 🙂

  7. What? I didn’t get a text? LOL….

    Congratulations! It’s been a long and winding road, but you’re finally there.
    Can’t wait to hear more about the joys of living alone and eventually (gasp!) dating.
    (I’m good with dating advice, you know…) I feel more free just having read this post.

  8. I think that feeling of being ready means that you know, in your heart of hearts, that you did the right thing. Awesome!


    p.s. Now get going on that parenting seminar. You know they won’t let you finalize without it! 😉

  9. I’m not sure what to say. Does Hallmark make a card for this? As a sufferer of divorce myself, I can’t quite bring myself to “celebrate” this occasion, and yet, I feel like this is a huge step for you. Something that’s been coming for a long time. I wish you all the best in your new adventure.

  10. beautifully written, and so, so what i felt when it happened. like i wrote the other day, this is a time for a form of congratulations. not the jubilant, streamers-and-confetti woo-hoo!!! kind, but no less valid. you’ve taken the step you need to get closure. it’s a great feeling.

  11. There is an unexplainable feeling with all of this. It is a mix of everything and I love how you explained it. So true. You are on your way my friend and I’m excited for you. Congrats on the next step.

  12. Wow. Hugs

  13. Summer is such a lovely time for a divorce. Just imagine the weather then. Ahhh.

    Feels like a huge weight has been lifted, huh? Thrilled for you. I know what a long road it has been to get there.

    Sending that hug. Use it when you need it. 😉

  14. You did it!! Congratulations 🙂

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