Today I met with my new lawyer as my previous one left the firm and this woman was highly recommended.
I woke up so miserable and getting ready felt like a Herculean task. I was tempted to cancel the appointment but something – maybe the pit of inevitable despair of my future – pushed me.
I arrived at the offices and was greeted by the smell of cigarette smoke and beige (cheap) furniture. Aside from feeling like I was onset of a bad 70s series I seriously doubted that this lawyer would be any good.
After 30 mins of waiting I was getting figedty and about ready to haughtily walk out (I was told she was at the gym – not exactly held up in court). Just as my patience was about to pop I was greeted by the husky, yet professional demeanour of the lawyer with a fleeting apology. As I followed her to her messy office I don’t know why but I sensed that I was going to like this woman. My last law firm was in incredibly swanky offices in the city. A tidy, pretty receptionist greeted me with paperwork, personalised stationary and the lawyer walked me to extremely smart office with leather chairs and ornaments and fresh flowers. I’d bought into This image. That I was being taken care of by the best. Instead my lawyer left after a month and my case fell by the wayside and I could never get hold of anyone.
So bearing this in mind I knew I shouldn’t let my impressions dictate the lawyer.
As it happened she was a straight shooter, much like myself, with a foul mouth and a limitless knowledge of the law. She was casual because she has a big client base (I’d heard) and thus didn’t exactly need my work. She took the bones of the situation and remarked how stupid I was because I moved out and hadn’t forced him out (you know that adage about possession being nine tenths of the law? Apparently there’s some truth to that!).
After the frame of reference was complete she asked more personal questions. And I suppose in an intuitive way, I wanted her to understand that S hadn’t had it easy with me. I’d been all over the place with my mental health and trauma, I’d caused him a job loss (something he always blames me for, but the lawyer isn’t convinced). She asked about the trauma and I decided to fill her in. She surmised that clearly the relationship was a ‘safe’ space for me. But perhaps I was in love with a perception, perhaps my ex husband’s actions spoke louder. I went to defend him but then considered, had I not have put my name against the title of the house he would have sold it from under me, had I not hired a lawyer to advocate for spousal maintenance, he wouldn’t have given me a cent. In all, had I not have advocated for ME, I’d have been left high and dry. Also I’ve blamed myself for my mental health and my past affecting us without considering how he’s dragged me over the world to pursue his own career dreams – which have inevitably crashed and burnt.
As the meeting went on I became more emotional. It’s hard discussing the details. It’s still hard to believe I’m sat there discussing a pending divorce and uncertainty. Surely this is a horrible nightmare?
Seeing my upset she told me about her marriage breakdown. Not unlike other stories I’ve heard she was desolate, inconsolable and felt suicidal. She genuinely believed her life was over. She wanted to commit suicide but made a deal with herself, she’d travel to Russia first – somewhere she always wanted to go, and then she’d kill herself. It was no mean feat, working for a large American computer firm in the 80s (Russia under the reign of Gorbachev) getting a visa proved difficult and she was investigated for espionage! But she made it and she loved it. For her it was a turning point and although she grieved the man she loved, she knew there was more to life.
I listened in awe of her tale. Here was an intelligent woman, blown apart from a broken marriage trying desperately to hang onto to some semblance of life.
Now she’s married a new man, has been for 20 odd years, in a successful firm and happy with life in a way she didn’t think possible.
I find it encouraging. Inspiring and hopeful. Although I’m not particularly interested in going to Russia myself – too bloody cold!
By the end of the meeting (2 hours later!) she’d compiled an email to S, informed me of the process and encouraged me to find a job. To find something positive, to live again.
I was absolutely exhausted by the end, but I still had a mission to complete, get some birthday presents for J and drop off bags for charity and old library books (products of a spring clean).
My phone battery had run out but when I got home and plugged in I had a shitty email from S. I also had missed calls from him. I called him (my mistake) and as usual got spoken to like the lowest common denominator. I reminded him that I’d told him I was seeing a lawyer and told him again that he needed a lawyer. That we were starting the process for our imminent divorce (which will be by September next year – making the legal requirements of 2 years separation). He went on again about how I NEED to sign the paperwork effectively signing the house away to his parents so that I’m out cold (the ruthless parents that I don’t get along with). I explained that wasn’t going to happen and no lawyer worth their weight in gold would suggest I do that.
As usual I was left distraught and wondering just how long ago S stopped loving me. He clearly has no regard or respect for me, I’m just an inconvenience.
It hurts. I’m not going to lie. It’s hurts so much I wonder if I’ll ever be immune to it.
After my sadness I thought about the lawyer appointment. I thought about her words. I know S doesn’t love me, he can barely stand me, and I know he’d have left me nothing given the chance. I’m reminded again that I’m really in love with the person I thought he was, not who he actually is.
He’s a great father, there’s no doubt about that.
He’s on the road to the career he’s always wanted and I often remark on how happy he is now without me.
I know I need to find my Russia.