It's a 2-hour drive from Kaleb to where I'm living now. A four hour round trip. This time, the drive to see him also meant the divorce hearing was due.
The hearing happened Thursday morning, a mini-drama in a bubble of its own importance. No one else seemed to notice, or care, what was ending in that courtroom. A judge, a lawyer, a court recorder, my now ex-wife and Me, the only man in the mini-drama. I didn't notice then because it didn't matter.
It was civil, restrained, almost catatonic in its dull routine. Nothing like the worst of My behavior, but it felt nearly as bad.
When asked if she still wanted the divorce, My then-wife said "Yes" without hesitation. When I was asked the same question, I thought I'd hesitate, but didn't. The moment ended, We were called before the judge and she dissolved what was gone already.
I remember thinking the last time We were in front of a judge, We were under the bluest skies at the base of a lighthouse, surrounded by family and friends.
We walked out of the courtroom and stopped in the cafeteria for coffee. We made plans for the next few days: who'd pick up Kaleb at school, Saturday activities, a couple of things to fix at her new house...conversation instead of strained silence. The coffee was too hot and people kept staring at Us as they had a late breakfast or an early lunch. Maybe it was just My imagination.
We drove off in separate directions. The following days were muted, as if pastel were the brightest hue possible. Sunday night, I started My long drive back. I knew then I would move back close to Kaleb in about two weeks. He was happy about that, though still disconcerted about the "separate houses." I thought about that day 'neath the lighthouse's minimal shadow, the sun rising, the clouds drifting in, two quietly confident "I dos" to the lady judge's questions. They sounded very much like the two "Yesses" another judge heard almost seven years later.
I noticed the road lights sparkling, the details of the road becoming hazy, swimming colors that finally seemed bright. The car rolled on, time lingered around Me, the long drive drying a couple of small tears.
The Jenius Has Spoken.