"I want to get a divorce."
He stared over his horn-rimmed glasses from the leather chair behind the desk that separated us. Reaching for the silver pen in his shirt pocket, he pulled a legal pad from a drawer. With his silver pen poised mere inches from the yellow pad, he sighed and cleared his throat.
"Not with her, thankfully!" My face took on a faux look of horror.
"I have my stuff and she has hers. I pay my bills and she pays hers. I don't see a problem."
The attorney scribbled illegibly on the pad before him.
"I don't like her anymore."
"Incompatibility," he murmured as he noted my statement.
"What else do I need to know?" He again stared at me over his glasses.
"I just want a 'wham-bam. thank ya ma'am divorce. I just want her to go away."
He leaned back in his leather chair, fondling his silver pen between his fingers.
"Wham-bam divorces run around seven-fifty plus court costs. I'll need three hundred up front."
I pulled my checkbook from the back pocket of my Wranglers and accepted the pen he extended from across the desk.
"Oh, and it would be best if we can rush this through. I have a feeling she will lose her job in the near future and I'd like to be legally unresponsible for her bills."
"I don't see a problem once we clear the state mandated waiting period. I'll draw up the papers. Oh, one more thing...no chasing women until this divorce finalizes! We don't need complications."
I paused at the door, glancing over my shoulder, "I never intend to chase another woman as long as I live."
It was a statement I truly intended to live by at that moment. Nothing would be further from the truth.
I was three weeks away from my fiftieth birthday when the judge rapped his gavel and declared the divorce final. It had not been a decision made in haste. I was well aware that a man my age had no business being single. A fifty-year-old man should gleefully rise every morning, motivated by the prospect of retirement just down the road. He should be bouncing grandbabies on his knee. He should rub his fat, old man belly while stretched out in the recliner watching the nightly news. He should be patting his chubby, middle-aged wife on her round hiney after the lights go out at night.
I never intended to find myself where I found myself halfway through a century on this earth. But, after making a very bad mistake which had robbed me of seven years of my life, I saw no other choice. She had hidden the alcoholism for the first two years. By the seventh year, she was just one stumble away from becoming a non-functioning alcoholic. I had for all intent purposes been living alone anyway. She rarely made it past eight in the evening, perched on her end of a sofa, beer in hand, staring blankly at some TV show or another. Then, just like clockwork, around eight she'd just deflate like a blow-up doll, out for the night.
And so, I stepped out of that courthouse a free man. I really had no intentions of ever giving another woman any thought whatsoever. But loneliness plays a powerful mind game with its victim. I tried to shrug it off for several months. I'd adapt, I told myself. In fact, by that third month, I was talking to myself pretty regularly.
It was a hot afternoon in June that I stood in the middle of my back yard, arms folded across my chest.
"You know, we ought to put some fertilizer down...maybe some weed-and-feed," I spoke rather loudly.
My eyes grew wide as I ducked my head and responded, "Shhh! Not so loud! Someone might hear us!"
It was at that moment that it hit me. I really, really needed to get out more. Maybe find someone to talk to. Maybe a woman? The thought haunted me throughout the night and into the next day. I was old. Just a washed up, over-the-hill...and that's what brought all this on.
(To Be Continued)