I made a second call today to the Judge’s clerk in the Bergen County Superior Court. The second in three days. See, I don’t always believe what I hear. I don’t always trust my ears. I’ve been known to hear what I want or need to hear. So I called the Judge’s clerk, who is also a lawyer, and apologized for calling him again. He was almost laughing. He probably doesn’t get asked often enough to clarify what he told me on Monday. The liberalized alimony statute in New Jersey is a relatively new phenomenon. So the clerk repeated it. It’s what I thought it was. Long and the short? I won in court without having to hire a lawyer. She had a lawyer; I did not. I could not afford one. I presented a two-page case: no whining, no pleading. A simple request for justice, based on financial numbers. I was able to drop my cross, put down the boulder, and resume my life where it stopped on October 14, 1998. You read that date right. October 14, 1998. 1998. And now it’s finally over. I didn’t cry this time. I just thanked the Clerk, hung up, and felt the room spin. Euphoria doesn’t necessary require tears. That was the other day. Now I’m just relieved and a bit numb.
Freedom’s just another name for nothing left to lose. The worst that could happen would be that I’d have to file another motion. If worst came to worst, I’d have to take my ex back to court.
But the new law worked, and it worked for me. Thank you God. Thank you, Governor Chris Christie. Yes, me, who has been no great fan of the Governator.
What do I do now? Okay, I don’t see a downside. I won a huge form of liberation. I can afford to go to the occasional restaurant. I can go to the movies. And I’m totally exhausted. Emily Dickinson, who said so many things so well, said this perfectly:
After great pain, a formal feeling comes
First – Chill – then Stupor – then the letting go –
I felt nauseous for two days following the decision. I could not keep food down. All the relief wanted to come up. I didn’t feel hungry. Now it’s coming back, slowly. It’s hard to believe this has gone on as long as it has.