new breath

For the first time ever, in memory, my palms were sweating as my fingernails dug and scratched along their shallow planes. Not quite zen cool. “After awhile, they all start to look the same, ” my lawyer mused, as we sat on the bench outside of the clerk’s office in the lower area of the tiny courthouse. She was right. I’d thought I’d seen him at least three times out of the corner of my eye during the short walk to the aging courthouse.

I had been to court many times during the past two years; had  gotten used to it so much, and so accustomed to his late arrivals, that usually, I barely glanced around for him anymore. But today, my head darted up and around at any sound of a door opening and then shutting. Because today, if he didn’t show up, I had a near certain chance of winning all that I had been fighting for during these past two years, and finally ending the dread and tedium of appointments, terse words leveled at me from him in dimly lit hallways, and late night hours of anxiety and uncertainty over a future I couldn’t even begin to plan until this matter was resolved.

And it did get resolved. He never showed. I was so accustomed to his dramatic appearances at the very last minute, that I could barely breathe in front of the judge…I was as nervous as a bride at the altar, tensely half expecting that rare protester at the eleventh hour (the kind seen only in movies) to barge in and call the whole thing off. “I wasn’t expecting this when I woke up today,” I kept numbly repeating to my lawyer as we lunched afterward.

I felt happy for my lawyer, who’d been through a leave of absence during our association, and was now planning to transfer to juvenile court related matters in the near future. “I get so frustrated in seeing justice denied for you guys (meaning women, actually),” she sighed “that when I get home, I just want to pop someone.” I nodded. I could write a book upon what I feel are inequities and oversights that I saw routinely and dismissively leveled at women in situations similar to my own–women emerging from violent situations who seek to protect and rehabilitate their children— during these two years. Maybe I’ll at least write an article. Because if I ever hear that “a bad father is better than no father at all…”, anytime soon, I may feel like popping someone myself. I prefer a nice sharp pen to a fist.

I don’t know what else to say—I’m still a bit numb—except that I can breathe differently, feel lighter, and finally, complete. It’s just a piece of paper–nothing much else has changed—but I’ll take this paper, over and above any others.

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5 Responses to “new breath”


  1. 1 crash June 5, 2009 at 12:06 am

    wow. you rock! very impressed with your strength and courage.

    and writing. congrats to you and the kiddo.

  2. 2 petitmuse June 5, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    thank you!

    the lioness and her cub are very, very happy. all is well in the jungle. life rocks!

  3. 4 Holly June 19, 2009 at 12:40 am

    It’s all finished then? Yay! I’m really happy for you!

  4. 5 petitmuse June 22, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    thanks, Holly. I still can’t quite believe it, but it’s done. feel like a new person.


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