Homeownership wasn’t really something I was all that keen on from the beginning. I never particularly cared for the town we lived in. I pretty much only associated that condo with heartache and rejection. So why did I cry almost every day that I saw Max from offer to closing?
You often don’t know that something is occurring for the last time as the moment is happening, but I was acutely aware the last few weeks. My last time making pesto in the kitchen we remodeled. My last time having pizza with Max on the couch that he’s going to sell. My last time going for a run in this neighborhood. My last days sharing an address with Max. I tried to pause and really take it all in. This was a rare experience where I felt a chapter of my life closing.
Over just three weeks, we had to find a lawyer, juggle realtors, find new apartments, sign leases, get boxes, pack boxes, write checks, and answer about a million emails. You would think we would’ve been at each other’s throats from the stress and emotion, but no. In the first place, Max and I were never ones to fight (says something about the absence of passion in our relationship, no?). But I think these past few weeks, we both wanted to continue our peaceful cohabitation. We’d survived this long, why start screaming now?
But there were plenty of tears.
We divided up everything, many of which items were wedding and shower gifts. We spread out serving pieces on our dining room table and picked through our belongings like we were at garage sale. We raided our kitchen cabinets and divided appliances and bakeware, his on the left counter and mine on the right. We were so damn polite through it all, like somehow it might hurt less if we minded our manners. I felt like I was living the Sugarland song "Already Gone."
We divided the furniture, and the result is that each apartment would be properly furnished. And yes, I got the king bed.
I sorted through drawers and found cards and letters from Max back to 2005. I wanted to just throw out everything but I knew better. I carefully read through his promises to love me forever, his assurances that he would be the best partner to me that he could be, and observations that I make him a better person. I sobbed on the floor of the guest room as half the cards went in the trash and the other half got stuffed back in a drawer.
|I took these down, one by one.|
On the closing day, we scrambled to pack those final boxes (and why do those always take the longest?!) and do a final cleaning. At 1:30, it was time to lock the door and head to the lawyer. Max stopped to look around and take one last walk through. Sun was streaming in through the windows and reflecting off the hardwood floors. Nothing of ours was left in this echoing 990 square feet of space, but I felt the stinging presence of three and a half years of longing, disappointment, and acquiescence. I told Max I couldn’t be there and I had to go. In the hallway, he silently grabbed my hand and walked me to my car.
I started driving to the lawyer’s office and then the tears really came. By the time I got to the lawyer’s office, I was sobbing. Here was my moment to finally get rid of this damn condo and Max had to find me a restroom to pull myself together. I finally walked in to the lawyer’s office, my green irises creepily bright thanks to how red my eyes were from crying. I signed my married name over and over, and before we knew it, everything was done.
We went to lunch at a restaurant we used to frequent when we first started dating. We got spinach artichoke dip, just like we used to before I discovered Weight Watchers. After lunch, we took a short walk and reflected on the towns we’d lived in over our eight years together.
And then it was time to say goodbye.
The worst kind of goodbye is when you don’t know if or when you’ll see the person again. It was the kind of goodbye you never think you’d say to the person you married. We embraced in the parking lot. I told him that I loved him. He said he would always love me and would be there anytime I need him, even if it was just to get something off a high shelf. There wasn’t much else to say, so I told him to drive carefully.
And now, I’m officially in my new one bedroom apartment in the town I’ve wanted to be in for years. My apartment is a complete mess of boxes but it’s MINE. My friends have a welcome back party planned for me in two weeks. Everything is falling in to place. It hurt to have finally said goodbye to Max, but I’m so very happy to be really and truly on my own and in my own space.
|The new view out my bedroom window.|
What were your final days living with your ex like?
Related reading: How to Hire a Real Estate Agent in Divorce.