Posted by: Lauren Gaskill | Making Life Sweet | January 3, 2011

The One That’s Different


I have recently decided to revisit a piece of fiction I began senior year of high school.  This post is a little different because of its content.  It’s not really a blog entry; I just felt the need to share what I am working on.  The following is a rough version of the first chapter.  Let me know what you think.

Tracy

He said he wants a divorce.  After 21 years of marriage and three kids he wants to end it all.  I’ll admit, I have seen this coming for a while, but I had hoped that we could work through the chaos  and come out a stronger couple.  But Todd is unwilling to try counseling or anything of the sort; our marriage is getting progressively worse.  In fact, according to Todd, our marriage is a “lifeless, dead end, one that apparently cannot be fixed.”

So today our divorce has landed me, of all the places I could be, at a stifling lawyer’s office.  I met with my divorce attorney, Ms. Westin, to discuss child custody and property division.  Because two out of our three kids are over the age of 18, we are only fighting over the six-year-old, Timothy.  My lawyer is confident that the court will grant maternal custody, and although this should be blatantly obvious to me, I cannot help but think about the horrible dreams I have been having where they take Timothy away from me.

“Mrs. Williams, I’m positive that we will win this case.  It’s airtight, and should rule in your favor,” Ms. Westin reassured me.

As she spoke, I sat anxiously in her large bucket chair, wringing the fabric fibers out of my paisley handkerchief.  Each of my children’s faces flashed in my mind.  Hope, Scott and Timothy—I loved them more than life itself.  My lawyer’s words brought relief to my frantic state; even though I knew I would win the case with the help of Todd’s drinking history, I was comforted to hear a third party had faith in my victory as well.

“Thank goodness for that.  Timothy is my little boy, and I can’t imagine losing him now, what with Hope in the hospital and everything,” I sighed.

“Yes, I am sorry about that whole situation,” my lawyer replied.

“I’m sorry about this whole situation.  You and I sitting here, discussing my divorce: that’s what I am sorry about!  How could Todd do this right now?  Hope needs to be able to rely on the two of us.  How can she rely on him when he doesn’t show any interest in our lives anymore! I just don’t understand… I,” words failed me at this point, so I just stayed still in the chair, sobbing.

All of a sudden, the walls around me began to darken.  The thickening heat of the room pressed hard against my chest and dragged me to the floor.  With the evidence of heartbreak and betrayal strewn across my face, I lay on the cold hardwood wondering where it all went wrong.  Had I not been supportive enough of Todd and his career failures?  Had I not been the loving mother and wife I always thought myself to be? These questions reeled in my mind as the ceiling spun above me.  I shut my eyes, and after a few minutes I gathered my thoughts and returned to the bucket chair.

Ms. Westin glided over to my side to envelope me in a large hug, “Everything will be fine, Tracy.  Relax for me, okay?”

“Relax?!  Do you realize what you are asking me to do?  No offense Ms. Westin,  but I don’t think you understand the severity of my family’s condition right now.  Between the physical and emotional troubles, I don’t have a moment to unwind.  I cannot remember what it feels like to authentically relax,” my words spewed like a geyser from my chest.

I looked at my watch.  Eleven a.m. on the dot.  Oh shoot, Hope! I thought.  I had to pull myself together and drive over to the Children’s Hospital.  Hope’s weekly prognosis appointment was in under an hour, and I needed to be on my way.  After I apologized to my lawyer, I ran outside to my car.  As I approached the “Mom-mobile,” as my kids like to call it, I fumbled with my purse as I tried to find my keys.  I was about to pull out when Todd, of all people, pulled in.

“Thought you’d be here,” he said.

“Actually, I was just leaving,” I replied. I did not want to be having a conversation with him right now, and more importantly I didn’t have time.

“Well, uh.  Hope’s appointment is today, right?” He asked.

“Yes, Todd.  She has one every week.  You haven’t been to one in the past month, so I am surprised that you even cared to remember,” I pointed out, grudgingly.

“I know.  I’ve just been busy.  I was wondering if I could just follow you on over to the hospital from here?  That way we arrive together,” he flashed a smile as he spoke.

“Fat chance of that happening, I don’t think it would be a good idea for you to come.  Hope finally came to terms with our divorce.  She does not need to see you right now,” I had to get him out of my sight.

“Please, Tracy.”

“No, Todd.  Not happening, now goodbye.  I’ll see you in court,” I slammed my door.

I drove off as fast as I could without making my tires squeal.  Because of Todd and my little run-in, I only had twelve minutes to get to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, otherwise known as CHOP.  I was going to be late now; Philadelphia traffic would make sure of it.

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