It’s been two weeks since I sat in the gallery of a court and watched in dismay as the proceedings to declare a marriage of 30 years null, unfolded before me. I wanted to cry. And it still baffles me.
You know how sometimes, we look at people celebrating 25 years of marriage and we think ‘God. This is amazing. I hope to have something like this’?
Ah well, apparently, there’s no bar on how many years a couple gets to be together before they realize they don’t want to be together anymore.
This old woman, probably in her late 60s, stood in the witness box, trying to swag her sorrow out with jokes and sarcastic comments. But she was hurting. I sat there in the gallery and tried to see her. You know, not just look at her as the woman whose husband wants nothing to do with her anymore after 30years of marriage. But see her as in what the state of her heart could possibly be.
I tried to imagine all the good times she and her husband had together in the past. (for surely, they would have had those times). I tried to imagine all the promises they had made together; times when they’d be so sure that the world and all its trials had nothing on them. I tried to imagine her children (she did say during her testimony that her daughter is married). I tried to imagine her grandchildren (if any)
Grandbaby: Grandma. Where are you going?
Grandma/Respondent: My darling, it’s nothing you’ll quite understand now, but I’m going to the court. Your grandfather has brought a petition praying the court to order that the life we shared together was in fact no life. He wants to declare our marriage dead. That the union from which your mother came, which consequentially, has also made you a reality, was a sham. He’s begging the court to dig into our private lives, into our shared nights, into our secret laughs, into our coming together, he’s begging them to declare that everything was a joke. That he meant nothing of it. And that I was a fool to have thought something of it.
On her way out of the court, she stopped to address those of us in the gallery. She lamented about how her husband prefers a declaration of nullity to an actual divorce proceeding because he intends on leaving her without a dime. Like, he’s not just leaving her, he’s leaving her leaving nothing behind.
With her mouth and brave eyes, she smiled and said, ‘I paid for his education, used all my money to support him when we were young. Now he wants to leave me with nothing’
But with her heart she cried and said, ‘I loved him with no restrain and everything I had was his. And now, he’s leaving me with a gazillion questions, like:
In what world do I end up suffering for loving?
Why do I still care about him when he couldn’t care any less about me?
If the court says it wasn’t real, does that really mean it wasn’t real?