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Monday, February 09, 2004

Sweet Endings 

My father gave my mother an enormous heart-shaped box of chocolates every Valentines. He ate most of them. He divorced her after 17 years when a sweet young thing flirted with him – he'd always had insatiable and compulsive cravings for dessert.

Today I spent a considerable amount of time sitting in the county courthouse over a nasty driving issue (happily it was resolved: I'll have no legal record, but one friggin' huge ripple in my checkbook, plus 50 hours of community service to work out – fodder for future posts, no doubt). While I sat there, watching a parade of sad cases of people less financially fortunate than I (except in rare cases like mine, people who can afford to send attorneys in their stead do so – I had to appear with my attorney today because neglecting parking tickets apparently demonstrates an unconscionable disregard for authority which weighed heavily against my case), I couldn't help but be reminded of the last time I'd sat in court watching a similar parade of sad cases.

Eight years ago I sat in divorce court to end my own union. While I awaited my case, I listened to story after story of lives tragically altered by relationships gone wrong. Invariably the plaintiffs sounded confused and hurt – they'd never expected to be where they were that day. When they had once walked down the aisle with their beloveds, they'd been absolutely convinced that theirs would be the statistically rare "happily ever after." But their convictions had been torn apart by betrayals of the heart, or financial misappropriations, or physical violence, or various combinations of the three.

Not much later I added a piece of advice to my advice page: "Before you decide to get married, go sit in your local divorce court for a couple of hours..." It's still good advice and I imagine it implemented in High Schools in a way similar to Scared Straight programs.

Countdown:   F I V E . . .


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