hold the phone. (it's a novel - sorry). february 7th.

i think it's funny that yesterday i was completely calm about today. not nervous, not anxious even. i couldn't sleep last night. i think i fell asleep around 1 or 130. but i wasn't even panicky.

this morning, i think i started waking up at 6. and when i woke up with the alarm at 7, i woke up from a dream that ever had found my blog and had brought a bunch of stuff from it to court.

it was awful.

and from that point, i couldn't calm down. i couldn't have coffee because i didn't want to feel worse. i kept thinking, 'i hope i don't throw up. i hope i don't throw up.'

and somehow i ended up running late, even though i got out of bed with plenty of time to get ready. luckily, i had put my papers in my bag last night, so i wouldn't leave to chance anything getting forgotten.

but in my rush, i forgot to pack my ativan. my plan since yesterday was to pop one on my way out this morning, so that, by the time i got there, i was calm. because it helped me so much at the mediation.

i caught the bus without a snag. and got there without issue.

i think i wondered for a minute if he would show up, but i was confident he would, just because he would be arrested if he didn't show.

so we were there, lawyer was waiting for me. and we talked for a minute. and he cracks a lot of jokes that are more awkward than funny. and it made me a little uneasy, instead of lightening things, which is what he was going for.

i was sickly nervous. not for the outcome or anything else. just for seeing him again and interacting with him again.

so we were there. and waiting. and he said, 'there he is.'

so he said hi to ever.

i was completely dumbfounded. he was wearing glasses. black rim glasses. never a day in his life has he EVER needed or worn glasses. at first i thought they were the blank lens kind, for appearances. but the thing is, they were prescription. i could see that things were blurry on the other side of them.

and he was wearing a watch. never a day in my life with him has he EVER had a reason to wear a watch. i think he prided himself in never wearing a watch.

all i can figure is that he went home, and got a bunch of shit from his grandfather's house. and wore it all into court.

and he was wearing a blue plaid shirt tucked in with a belt to black pinstripe pants. really odd.

so lawyer wanted to talk to him, after we filled out our paperwork to say that we were there.

so we start talking in the hall and his face was messed up. like he had this big red blotch where the nosepiece of his glasses touched between his eyes. and his eyes were those scary opiate pinpoints. i couldn't look at him because he just looked too fucked up.

and he kept moving his head to the side and staring me down, like he wanted me to look at him while i talked to him, and i couldn't. i know he thinks it's for other reasons. but i also know that he might not know that i can now recognize those eyes.

so, keeping in mind that i have broken my lease, offered him money to leave the house, that he said he'd be out in a week, or by the end of the month at the latest...

lawyer reminded him that we didn't hear back from him after the email i sent telling him my offer stood. he never declined it or countered or anything.

and he said that was because he loves the neighborhood. which makes one of us. and that he wants to stay in the house. that he has the money for the mortgage payment, and that he doesn't want to leave.

would i be willing to let him buy me out?

okay. let's review, shall we?

first, ever, you fucking DOLT, you don't have a job, so you can't get a mortgage.

second, ever, you idiot, you don't pay the mortgage or the bills.

third, ever, you asshole, NO. you can't be trusted. what makes you think that i'm going to be willing to be attached to you and this house for the next several years because that is what you want?

fourth, ever, you lazy piece of shit, it's not a fucking car. you can't make installments. and you cannot come up with a pile of cash big enough to buy me out.


i am so angry. because it's starting all over again.

i am so angry. because he had me jump through a ton of hoops and do everything he said, based on his willingness and decision last week to leave, that now i have done everything i needed to do, and am fucked.

i am so angry. because one year later, we are no closer to a decision than we were a year ago. he has now changed his mind so many times, that we have ended up right back at square one. only difference is that i have a year's worth of broken agreements and shenanigans under my belt.

i am so angry. how many times have i explained this to him? i feel like a broken record.

so i stared off into space, like at the mediation, while the two of them went back and forth about how to proceed.

and lawyer said something about being willing to sign the property settlement agreement and leaving today with that being drawn up. and i shook my head. that, no, we won't delay the court order without the mortgage being paid in full in front of me, by phone. and that i wasn't leaving without the court order, no matter what ever said or agreed to.

i have gotten really good at shutting him down before he even has a chance. because i now have so many experiences with each thing he says. he wants to stay. fine. i know what that entails. he wants to leave. fine. i know what that entails, too.

but i was not expecting him to say that he wanted to stay. i felt like a rug was pulled out from underneath me. and he just casually asked what i would want, monetarily. and i said, 'i don't have my paperwork with me. i'm not even going to guess at what it would take for you to buy me out.'

and explained that, unlike my agreement with him, and the work that took, the starting base amount was $30k to pay back my parents. and that had nothing figured into it for me, as far as marital assets. so, automatically over $30k. just to shut him up and make him think about that.

he was just so bizarre. so erratic. he was so slow. and childlike.

i knew he was off. and dave alluded to the fact, right before we left, that he was totally nuts. and that he understood (why i left?) how we were here, at this point.

alright. buckle up, readers, this is where the story really takes off. as if the preface wasn't enough.

so we are in the hall. and lawyer explains that he can agree to the mortgage-related court order, and we can basically have the judge read it on the record and leave. before anyone else even goes into her chamber. we could skip the back and forth. and save several hours' time. and get the hell out of there.

and he agreed to stay current on the mortgage and to pay january and february payments by thurday. so we got to go before anyone else, and have it read.

but a couple things happened. one, we went into the chambers, and the judge had the order, along with lawyer's letter about why we were there in the first place. about ever repeatedly demonstrating that he wasn't paying on time.

we got sworn in. to which i say 'i do' about telling the whole truth. and he says 'yeah.' then she looks at him like she didn't hear him and he says, 'yep.'

there were three other people in the chambers. one, i would assume, was the stenographer. one kid was on the internet. and one guy was using a copy machine behind us.

so while there was other stuff going on, i was able to focus. and ever was not.

and so we get into it. and say that we agree to it. but she has to ask this series of questions. and all was well for the first few. did anyone bribe us to agree? did anyone coerce or threaten us? do we both agree? no. no. yes.

then, the snag.

'ms zee, are you under the influence of drugs or alcohol?'


'mr zee, are you under the influence of drugs or alcohol?'


'mr zee?'


'are you under the influence of drugs or alcohol?'


fuck me in the face. he is NOT playing this card.

'what drugs are you under the influence of, mr zee?'

'clonopan and lexapro.'

'so these are prescribed drugs, mr zee?'


'are these drugs affecting your decision to enter this agreement?'


'mr zee?'

'i don't know. i don't think so.'

'mr zee, are these drugs affecting your ability to think clearly?'

'i don't think so.'

'mr zee, do you take these drugs every day?'


'mr zee, is this a normal day for you?'


'mr zee?'

'yeah, i guess so.'

i don't know. she probably asked a couple more questions, one of which was, 'do these drugs help you to think more clearly?'

and he said, 'i've been taking them for so long now that i would hope so.'

and from our interaction in the hall, i had already thought that, combined with the mediation, that he was going totally fucking crazy. certifiably nuts.

and after this portion, before she read the agreement aloud for the record, and signed it into being, i had a feeling he was up to something.

call it a gut feeling.

so it was done and recorded. she told us we could go out and that our order would be out in a minute.

and we went out into the waiting room, where about thirty people were waiting for their turn in front of her, to wait for the signed and sealed court order.

(this is where the buckling up comes in.)

now, first things first. i know he was on something other than psych meds, because of his eyes. whether he was just stoned, or had opiates in his system, i don't know. but he left that part out of the sworn testimony when discussing being under the influence of drugs.

add to that the fact that, after mediation, he said dr dug had misdiagnosed his anxiety disorder. and if that was the case, then why would he still be taking those drugs every day?


waiting room. standing there. it was hot, so i kept walking out into the hall where it was cool and not crowded.

and i walked back in to see ever notice a paper plane that was sitting on top of a cabinet in the room full of people. it was folded up out of a magazine page. and he took it down.

and the second he did, i knew exactly what he was going to do with it.

i expected him to throw it across the room full of people. but he had the decency to walk out into the hallway and throw it down the hall that was mostly empty. maybe three or four people standing around.

and i shot this look at lawyer.

because i knew what he was doing.

and he went back into the room, where i was waiting already, i walked out when he walked in. and back in again.

and, this is the best part...

he flipped the light switch off.

for the whole room.

totally dark room. thirty people. a courtroom waiting room for fuck's sake.

and he didn't flip it off and back on. no.

he left it off for a good 15 seconds. everyone looking around in the dark. and turned it back on like nothing. no smile. no laugh. just off. and then back on eventually.

i felt hot faced. sick. my stomach dropped out.

between what happened in the chambers about his drug use, the part before we went in, and the part after we came out, i feel like he is going to pull a huge stunt.

like, call lawyer tomorrow and apologize for missing court. ask what happens now. or know he went, but ask lawyer what happened, because he doesn't remember.

he's too manipulative for that to have all been real.

and too manipulative to agree to pay $2100 in the next three days, which is what he was agreeing to. along with agreeing to pay the mortgage by the tenth of each month.

so that part is over. after the light switch incident, he came out with the orders and we all left. we let him have a head start. i high fived lawyer for getting us out of there before anyone else, so quickly.

mostly because he saved me several hundred dollars by getting ever to do it that way.

i should have felt great. happy even. but i don't know. the whole thing set me back.

that combined with not trusting him, with not believing him, with him milking the system, with him being broke, with him being a piece of shit.

feeling like i am starting over. with negotiations. with him again.

and what the shrink had to say about it this afternoon was that, i'm not really. because let's face it. it might be over in three days. he might fuck up in three days, and be in violation of a court order. and we might be right back in there in a couple weeks, listening to his emergencies that dictate him missing a mortgage payment.

but to me, all i feel is a total lack of control. and complete loss of stability.

that, combined with landlord sending me an email about two showings on wednesday, and one on sunday at noon, is sending me fucking reeling.

because today i was thinking. well, if ever fucking pulls the ultimate stunt, following my breaking my lease, and stays in the house and refuses to sign the agreement, i still have to be out of my apartment by the end of march. and i thought that, if there weren't showings, that i could just ask him to let me stay month to month until he found someone.

but with three showings, three days after he posted it online, it's not looking too good for me.

today for a minute, i thought, 'see? maybe it's good i didn't start packing. maybe i can stay in the apartment. maybe i don't have to go back into the house after all.'

and now? out the fucking window. i'm out regardless of where i have to go next. and the biggest problem? i can't sign a year lease, so other than the house, i don't know how to live anywhere else.

what if i just go home to fla? what if i go to another apartment in this neighborhood? what if i go to the house?


one of the things he said was, 'i love the house. i love the neighborhood. i don't want to leave.'

fucking great, asshole. move into an apartment in the neighborhood. i hate the fucking neighborhood.

but don't make my shit complicated because you're taking crazy pills and having a change of heart three times a fucking week!

in his brain, i see this as him fucking around long enough, and dragging this out long enough, to the point where i have let him be in the house for two years, like he originally asked.

meanwhile, wrecking my credit. being delinquent.

whatever. he has three days to make it right before i sick lawyer on him.

so after all that mess, i went to work for a while.

but there wasn't that much to do after the lunch rush. and i was just staring at the door, depressing myself over a lack of boyfriend interaction, and the inability to do anything about any of them anyway.

so i left after only three hours of work. because my head wasn't there, and it wasn't busy. and i'd planned to be off for the whole day anyway.

and i walked home. kindof accidentally. i didn't see a bus and walked a few blocks, looking backward the whole time. then i didn't look when it was coming up behind me, and it passed me.

so i walked.

realizing my face was completely miserable. and i felt like crying. i felt sorry for myself. i felt sad. again. and alone. and just fucking WRONGED.

it's funny. everyone that i told was happy for me, about getting the order. because i stood my ground. and did something i'd been working on since november. finally.

and yes, i am glad that part is over. yes, i'm proud that i accomplished it. yes, i'm even a little relieved that a judge has my back. that i didn't get fucked over in the process. and that it didn't cost four times as much to get it.

but really? i feel so much worse now that i felt this morning.

i feel like i lost a lot of ground today. i feel like i lost a lot of control. a lot of stability.

i realized that the guy i married, whether he was acting and exaggerating it, or whether he was genuinely out of his fucking mind, is insane. that he could have been what i'm tethered to, if i hadn't finally said that enough was enough and left him.

he could be my life. and his brain could be what i have to reason with on a day to day.

so luckily, i am not tethered to him, as his wife. luckily i don't have to deal with his insanity on a daily basis. luckily, it is one step closer to being over. the home stretch. literally.

but what control i lost today has sent me into yet another tailspin.

i spent the first half of my time at the shrink talking about him and court. what he did. the whole story. and her shaking her head over it made me feel worse. and nina saying 'bizarre' made me feel worse. because it's fucking true! it's so hard to reason with a man who feels wronged and deserted. but add a huge dose of crazy to the mix, and i feel like i will never fucking get out of this.

i feel like he will flip flop so much that i can't get anything accomplished. and that his erratic behavior is either a brilliant ploy that he is super awesome at faking, or it's real. and either way, i lose. more time, more effort, more thinking.

i spent the next part of my visit talking about the dating site stuff. and it felt like flipping a switch in me. i went from angry, and literally clawing at my neck and arms while talking, to bubbling on about my profile that i have been writing, and knowing what i'm looking for in a boy, even though it's not a long term relationship.

it went a little like this.

i know that i need an independent boy. who is clean and takes care of himself. who has a job and takes me out to dinner and drinks. (do guys still do that these days??) whose place is nice and not dirty and not trashed.

i know that i am no longer the girl who will make excuses for someone who doesn't have a few basic requirements. like, 'but his music is so good! i don't care if he doesn't have a real job', or, 'but he's so cute. i don't care if i have to take him out because he has no money at all.'

those days, for me, are fucking OVER. no more musicians. no more stoners. no more slackers.

not that i need a doctorate degree. but enough motivation and a decent enough job that he can fucking spend $20 on me and not bat a lash.

i know that i don't want to be in love. that i don't want to get married. that i just want to have fun. that i want to find a hot guy who respects me, that i can sleep with on occasion. i don't want a boyfriend. despite all my jokes to the contrary.

i just want to date. for the first time in my life. see options. pick one. fuck him. hopefully repeatedly. and move on.

like i said to her: as long as i'm careful, as long as i don't jeopardize my safety, as long as i take safety measures and don't do anything risky, as long as someone knows where i am, fuck it. right? have some FUN. i'm dying for a little fun in my life.

and she asked me if i thought i was ready.

and i said that i thought i was ready a while ago. that it felt like punishment. being stubborn and sticking to my word to be along for a year. that it's like i was grounded for a year. and now? now i just want to go out and PLAY.

and she thinks it's good. she thinks that, as long as i feel ready, it's fine to have a distraction. something to be happy about and excited about.

and she asked me why i think i am ready.

and i said, 'because i know my own personal red flags. because i'm not going to make excuses for someone who raises them. because i am not transferring old feelings onto someone new. because i'm not going to put someone on a pedastal who doesn't deserve to be - who doesn't earn it. because the last think i'm thinking about is falling in love with someone. because the hardest thing for me to imagine is getting married ever again. because i know i am leaving. because i'm approaching it from a different angle this time. because i know my own tendencies, and i'm aware of them and on the lookout. because i don't want to be serious.'

and maybe all those things aren't the right reasons, but they're good enough for me.

i told her that i didn't think i could be alone before i left ever. and i have been this whole time, and that i proved that i could do it. that i felt better in a relationship than out of one until i left him. and that being out of one has shown me that i don't need to take care of someone to be with them, and that i can have fun and be happy if i'm not being defined as someone's other half. that i didn't know i could be independent, that i thought i was codependent, and would always be.

and it was a funny segue. i went back to ever and court for a bit. and then to my parents.

i told her that i had to kinda push them off a little this past week. because they have a tendency to make me upset when i'm calm. and she explained it as transferring their worry onto me. because they're worried, which i know. but they can't see me to put their minds at ease. and she asked if i am worried about them closing in on me when i move.

and to that, i said that i'm very aware of it. that i'm not going to let it happen, and that i can't even live with them because of how afraid i am. i said that i knew they'd be all up in my business when i'm home again, and that is why i feel the need for physical distance from them, relative to where their house is. just so it's not so easy to go to dinner at mom's every night, and so mom can't show up on my doorstep any time, any day.

but then something caught my attention.

my dependence on them, again. i said, 'believe me. i never thought i'd be so dependent on them, after i got married and moved away. i wasn't for so many years.'

but i am. mom and dad consistently bail me out. first the house, then leaving ever, and now the divorce funds.

i cannot become dependent on them, in exchange for getting out of a codependent marriage.

but was it even? really? i depended on him as being a body in the home we shared. i didn't get much else out of him.

but can i really be alone, if by being alone, i'm super involved with my family?

this hit me tonight, after i left. i talked to her about it a little. but realizing that i just traded husband for my family is not a good feeling.

so i drove home from that trip. after i told her, right before leaving her office, that i spent some time worrying this past week about moving home and losing her as my therapist. that her seeing me go through this, from before it even started, is why she could help me more last session than she ever has. that, if it was someone new referencing notes she took about me, they would have had no idea. or depending on my recount of the past year. they wouldn't have known what to say, or seen the physical and emotional difference in me to point it out, and call me on it.

to which she said, yes, 'i understand that i have been there during a critical part of your path, but when you go home, your needs will change, and it probably won't feel as bad as you think it will' (as far as losing her goes).

and she's right.

i mean, with this behind me, and ever eight states away (please, god i don't believe in...PLEASE...), what will i have to bitch about? what will i stress about? freak out about? panic over?

will i even need a shrink?

i think i will. i am sure that having a signed pile of papers and my old last name back won't magically make my problems go away. and i want to be accountable for my dating decisions, so i don't slip on that pesky slope of boys who are no good for me.

and i am sure this shit will haunt me for a good long time. the thought of starting over with someone else is such a nightmarish thought. but i could be like eight months from that. so it's just too soon to worry.

i think the reason i'm worrying is because my frequency in visits has increased instead of decreased. and because i've gotten more out of seeing her lately than at any other time since the very beginning, when she asked the right questions and made me realize that i had to get out of there if i wanted to ever be happy and sane and feel alive again.

and, in light of all of this, tonight something else happened.

i came home and went to grab a beer with kit.

and the owner of favorite bar was there.

i have met him, and talked to him a couple times. i have talked to his wife a couple times. and doted on their adorable baby some, too.

when lauren and i went to sister bar on saturday, he was there. he was manning the dj booth, playing old soul and funk for the beer event.

and he's short and jewish and cute, which gets a special place in my heart. and i was waiting for the bathroom there, and saw him and said, 'hey!'

and he tilted his head to the side, and said, 'heyyyy. how are you?'

and it was slightly flirty, as i perceived it. and part of me wondered if he just couldn't place me, or if he was drunk or whatever.

in any case, i was glad when the bathroom door opened right then, because i have no business flirting with a married man, and i'd had enough to drink to know that i was feeling a way that was wrong. his wife is awesome and his baby is fucking amazing. and he's an awesome dude and a great husband.

maybe that adds to it for me, i don't know.

so tonight when i saw him, he said hi again, as i was going to the bathroom, again.

and i remembered saturday night.

and when kit and i went out for smokes, he was leaving to go home for the night, and stopped to talk to us.

and i realized, luckily, that it might not be flirting. it's his intonation. the words he chooses and how he puts emphasis on certain ones. and smiles a lot. and looks you dead in the eye, like he's really listening.

so he asked how we were. and we were honest. kit said she was debating starting a relationship, and i said i'd been in divorce court just this morning. two equally big decision sets, two opposite ends of the spectrum. and he said, 'really??' to me. i mean, i know i look young. but yes, really. so i kept it to a simple, 'yep.'

and we talked for a bit. about favorite bar. and sister bar. and projects and renovations. how he started them and how they're different. the timelines for each. he talked for a while. it was nice.

and he left to go see the baby and wife. and kit and i went in. and it fucking hit me. like a ton of bricks. as i was pulling out my barstool to finish my second beer.

he is just like coffee. it's why i like him. it's why i like interacting with him. they're very similar boys. both just shy of 40, so not exactly boys. they have plenty of business smarts, but are so much more amazing with people. schmoozy without being schmoozy. genuinely love awesome beer and good food. and each is seeing his dream out.

it's how i felt about doug, who owned the coffee house i fell in love with, where my dream was born. and how i felt about coffee, who learned everything he could from him, then took it and made it his own.

and this is exactly the same. i mean, minus the whole non-relationship relationship. minus the being in love with him part.

this guy is so similar to coffee, as a person, his voice, all of it. and now this guy is the one who is literally living my dream. i want to pick up favorite bar and plop it down in florida and make it mine.

and realizing that put it all into perspective. doug used to flirt. inappropriately over the top, with all the college girls, and he was at least 45 back then. kissing cheeks and draping arms. way over the top. and this owner isn't like that at all. but these two guys have accomplished what i hope to. and even though i was never attracted to doug, only to coffee, it explains my affinity for favorite bar owner.

that was seriously, i think, the longest post ever written, that was a blog post and not a short story.

i have more to say, but i've been at this off and on since about 230 today. and i got everything out that was in the front of my brain. tomorrow i'm at suck store. and i'll remember half the shit that happened today that i forgot to write out. and i'll have a full day to come up with a number for ever.

part of me wants to not even look at it, and say '$100k'. because $60 or $70 is probably closer to it.

and laugh. and ask how much he wants. because, unless he won the lottery this weekend, while i was busy not winning it, i don't know how the fuck it would even be possible.

if he had to help bury his grandmother, it seems pretty fucking unlikely that he got some crazy pile of money from a life insurance policy when she died.

you can't reason with the unreasonable. and here i am again, asking myself,

'am i insane for doing the same thing, yet again, and expecting a different response?'

because that is the definition. and i am right back where i started. with a year of learning under my belt. but saying as i'm still falling for every single one of his stunts, i don't see how i'm any smarter.

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