The judge slammed his gavel sharply and yelled, "I hereby sentence you to fifty years with no possibility of parole!"
I awoke with a start, my body wringing with sweat, staring into the darkness at the alarm clock. Today was D-Day...the day my divorce would become final...
I am and for the most part, have always been a law abiding citizen. However, a few years ago, I found myself fighting to keep myself out of jail. It's a story I will tell in depth someday, but a local justice of the peace determined that I had broken into my own house and was hell-bent to have me jailed for breaking and entering. The incident escalated to the point of my being detained at the Sheriff's Department, having my rights read to me, and after stepping over to close the door of the interrogation room, the sheriff placed his hand on my shoulder and said,
"Boy, go get you a lawyer. I don't know what you did to piss the JP off, but he intends to see to it you get jail time."
That's when I met my lawyer that I had hired to see me through this divorce at hand. He had made the 'breaking and entering' fiasco go away with one simple phone call to the JP, and when I tried to pay him, he waved his hand and said, "No charge." Wow, what a lawyer...get me off and for free! So it was a no brainer that I'd chose him for my divorce, which wasn't free, I might mention.
I arrived at the courthouse twenty minutes early and made my way to the third-floor hall just outside the courtroom where I would become a free man. I sat nervously in a chair in the narrow hallway for an hour or two...it was actually ten minutes...before my lawyer came up the stairs and wandered by me, peeking into the courtroom.
"Looking for me?"
He turned around and laughed, "You clean up pretty good...didn't recognize you! Wonder where the other party is?"
"Oh, my wife? Pretty sure she's not coming to the divorce hearing. Probably passed out drunk by now."
My lawyer glanced at his watch, "It's ten in the morning!"
"Yeah, that's why I'm here," I said nonchalantly.
I laughed nervously and shook his hand, then fiddled with my tie and buttoned my suit coat. We made our way into the empty courtroom and sat for another hour...ten minutes later...the bailiff entered, followed by a frumpy little lady. An attractive woman wearing a fine fitting blue dress, mid-forties, I guessed, came in carrying a laptop and sat at the far end of the judge's bench. The bailiff stepped out and closed the door, then fifteen seconds later, opened the door and announced,
The judge, a god of our society, stepped in and took his place at his throne. He motioned for my lawyer and me to take our places. We stepped into the glaring imaginary spotlight before the judge and the lawyer muttered under his breath,
"Go take the stand."
I froze in the spotlight before the judge...take the what?
He rolled his eyes and said, "Go up there and sit in that chair by the judge."
I took my seat. The judge looked over at me and said, "Raise your right hand."
Ok, I thought, don't mess this up...righty-tighty, lefty-loosey...no that didn't help. Amazingly, my primal instinct kicked in and I raised the right hand. After saying, "I do," (that's what got me in this courtroom) my lawyer began shooting questions at me. "Is your name..." "Are you a legal resident..." and at least twenty more questions. He didn't warn me there would be a test. I answered to the best of my knowledge and apparently passed. The judge leafed through the documents before him.
My gaze focused on the attractive woman sitting on the other side of him, an angel of the god of society. Blonde hair, not one out of place...perfect complexion...the bluest eyes...our eyes met and as she stared into mine, hers became sad. It was as if I could read her mind. She had sat in this very chair at one time. She knew what I was going through and she felt sorry for me. I felt a sparkle light up in my eye...Give me a bottle of wine and an hour in the hot tub with her...oops, she read that. She blushed and looked down at her laptop.
The judge, eventually satisfied the paperwork was in order, declared me a free man. I watched intently as he rose from behind his bench, the blue-eyed angel obediently following him from the courtroom, her laptop tucked under her arm. I paused in the hallway and shook my lawyer's hand.
"See ya next time around!"
He gave me a puzzled looked and I laughed, "I'm sure I'll find something to get into that you can get me out of."
I skipped down the three flights of stairs pondering what I could do to get back into that courtroom. The woman with the laptop had captured my heart right there in the middle of my own divorce hearing.
I stepped out into the bright sunlight a free man. Walking down the sidewalk toward my pickup, I paused and glanced up toward the third story of the courthouse. There in the window stood the woman in the blue dress, her laptop still securely tucked beneath her arm.
'Looking at me?' I wondered as I climbed into my truck. Well, of course she was, I reasoned, glancing around. I certainly didn't see any other suddenly single men loitering around the courthouse square.
"Life...here I come and I'm looking for adventure!" I said out loud as I shot one more glance toward that third story window, "And her. I'm looking for her!"