The Clothes On My Back

I left him with the clothes on my back, which unfortunately were casual shorts and a ratty t-shirt. Because of this, when I tried to get an apartment in the renovated piano factory with thick brick walls and twelve-foot ceilings, the apartment manager wouldn’t show me one, suggested I look elsewhere.

My lungs deflated even further. I was a tired, spent balloon.

In the waiting room of an attorney who had been recommended by a friend, I spoke with the other waiting client. She looked at my ratty clothes but politely said nothing. We had both been waiting for forty-five minutes. We both had appointments for the same time. I asked how long the legal work for her divorce had been going on. She said almost a year, and they didn’t have any kids.

I stood up. The other client was surprised that I was leaving. I was surprised that she stayed.

The next day, Saturday, I looked in the yellow pages (!) for another attorney. Still in my ratty t-shirt and shorts, I thought I would walk to her office, see if I could infer her competence by her surroundings.

The attorney surprised me by being in the office on a Saturday afternoon, and she invited me in. She offered me a seat. She didn’t make me feel ratty or less than. She asked me to tell her my story.

When I asked how long it would take to get divorced, she said, “This will be quick. You have no children and other than the home, no joint assets. Six weeks, max.”

“Six weeks? Really?”

“No reason for it to take longer. Plus, I know the judge.”

When people asked why I left the man in the purple suspenders, I surprised myself when I gave different answers to different people.

He probably had his own list of my shortcomings, what he said to people who asked him.

There was one answer I gave that came later, after I thought I had given all the answers there were to give. This one hurt after I said it, so I said it only once:

“Because I was lonely.”

. . .

I still get lonely sometimes, but I’m never with someone when I feel it.

Chewing the Cud of Good

Closeup of fading pink hydrangeas

Thankful that I get to see my mom soon!

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