I got up early the following day and went to the appointment, trembling with nerves. The attorney was a kind man and explained that since Sean did bring in all the money for the household, that he might be more likely to keep the house and cars if he chose to. Some divorce attorneys were cruel, and they went for where it hurt, and I could imagine Sean going that route.
“I don’t want much. Sean can have the house and everything in it, apart from some of my things that are still there. Everything was his style and taste. I’d like to keep my car as well.” I looked into his warm green eyes as he tilted his head at me.
“Your husband did have an affair, correct?” I nodded, as tears filled my eyes. “I have seen so many wives go for the jugular in that situation, Celia. Why not you?”
I thought about my answer for a few minutes. “I…I’m not sure. I’m torn up about what happened, and the image of seeing my husband with another woman is not something that I’ll forget anytime soon. I just wish he would have been honest with me, instead of dancing around the subject the way that he did.” I noticed the curious look and reached for a tissue to dab at my eyes. “We both wanted kids when we got married and agreed to that. He kept telling me that he wanted to wait but he didn’t expect me to work. I was so confused. I ended up volunteering at the hospital nursery to have some time away from the house and be around all of the kids.” The nanny job came back into my mind, and I looked at the gray carpet on the floor, spotless and perfect. “I suppose in a way, this is best. He can have what he wants and maybe I can too.” In all reality, the idea of trusting another man with my heart terrified me. I knew that I’d be skittish for some time as I healed from Sean’s betrayal. I wasn’t the type to go out to bars to get drunk and find one-night-stands. There had only been a couple of men before Sean since my evil ex left me broken before I met him. I always seemed to be bouncing back from some man or another.
“I hope that he realizes what a good woman you are, Celia. I wish all divorces went this way. I do want you to get something out of this, though, so let’s get something drawn out for you.” Preston looked at his computer and started to ask me some questions that I answered honestly, telling me that he’d get some of them from the other lawyer to compare to. I left feeling confident about everything, turning to go to the bistro to meet a friend for lunch. I needed to get out of the room and have some time for myself, and I checked the balance in the bank account every day to make sure that Sean wasn’t going to screw me over.
I needed a job.
I let Lauren buy me lunch, and we ate and sipped wine for two hours as she drilled me about Sean. “What an asshole,” she said as I nodded and took another sip. “In your fucking house!!”
“It could’ve been the master bedroom, even though I’ll never sleep there again.” I shuddered. “I wonder if he’s…” I let my voice fade, too bothered to take the image of him and his new girlfriend in our bed any further. I didn’t want to deal with that, not right now.
“I hope she dumps him and he’s miserable. I hope that he comes crawling back to you so you can kick him away,” Lauren told me as I laughed weakly.
“I don’t even want that. I don’t feel vindictive…I feel like I just want it over with. I don’t even know if I want to stay in Boston.” My friend looked horrified, and I gave her a remorseful look. “I’m sorry. I have been talking to my mom. There’s a possible job there.”
“What is it?” She asked, and I raised my eyebrows.
“Nanny for a six-year-old girl. It’s something that I just heard about.” I shrugged. “It’s just one of many things running through my mind.”
“I understand,” Lauren said as she reached for my hand. She was a great friend, and I had a handful of others. The thing was that I’d met them through Sean and I was craving a life to myself.
I felt awful when I left and went back to the hotel. Lauren looked so sad that I might be leaving, but I knew that she was friends with Sean through a former job, no matter what she said over dinner. I was worried about that becoming a problem down the line, worried about what Sean was telling everybody.
I was just stressed out, and I walked into the lobby of the hotel, wandering to the elevator, and pushing the button. I made my way to my room and dropped onto the bed, taking a deep breath. I allowed myself to cry and mourn my old life for a while, giving in to the emotions that were flooding me as I dropped back onto the mattress and wailed.
I woke up that evening and rolled onto my side as I sniffled. Crying felt good, and I knew that I could move forward. I sat up slowly, stretching my arms as I yawned and called the bank to see if I could go and get some dinner at my favorite deli.
Our lawyers suggested that since we didn’t have kids, that we keep the process simple. Sean agreed, but he was warned that he was not going to get away with not paying me anything. He was told that he was lucky I wasn’t going for everything that he had.
It was a month later that I found the court proceedings ended and surprisingly smooth. Sean was keeping the house and remaining in it, as well as keeping his car. I was keeping my Tahoe, and he was giving me enough money to pay it off as well as stock some away, though I would have to work and I was all right with that. I didn’t think that he should pay for me to stay home if we weren’t together any longer.
I’d left the hotel, and I was staying with Lauren in her spare room. It didn’t make sense to rack up that kind of bill, even though some of the girls suggested that I should upgrade and really stick it to him.
That wasn’t who I was. I chose a Friday to get the remaining items of mine, to which he replied that he’d be gone. I walked around the shell of my former house, packing clothes and items that I’d brought into the relationship. It wasn’t much. I concluded that I actually was living out Sean’s life here while we were married and zipped up my suitcase as I made my way to the front door.
It opened just as I was rolling the bag across the floor, and I found myself looking into Sean’s eyes. “Hi.” I glanced past him, but he was alone.
“Did you get everything?” He asked, and I nodded as I turned my gaze to the living room. There were a few pictures of us set about, and I didn’t touch any of them. I didn’t want them. “Celia, I’m sorry about all of this. I went about it all wrong. I hate the look in your eyes now.”
“I don’t regret breaking up as much as I do the way it happened, Sean. We didn’t want the same thing.” I looked at him, seeing guilt cross his face. A realization hit me, and I shook my head. “She’s pregnant, isn’t she?”
His eyes darkened, and I let out a breath. “She just found out.”
“I am getting the fuck out of this town. You’re…unbelievable. You know that I wanted kids from the beginning and you said to wait, wait, wait. Did you even think about this with her?” I asked as his jaw set, making me realize that he was upset with himself. “Good luck, Sean. I hope you’re happy.” I walked forward with my suitcase, opening the door as I felt his eyes on me.
“Do you mean that?” Sean asked as I turned to him with a bitter smile.
“It hurts but I wouldn’t want kids with a man that didn’t feel the same way.” I sighed. “Goodbye.” I made my way to my car and loaded it up before I took another look at the house. It wasn’t mine anymore, and I took in the details slowly as I watched my soon to be ex-husband step out onto the front step. Sliding into the front seat, I started the engine and pulled out onto the main street as I turned up the radio.