Scheherazade has her first meeting with the divorce lawyer today. She texted me last night, when I was standing in a room full of mannequins, “Shoring up.”
I texted back, “It will go great.”
The mannequins around me were antiques, maybe from the 1920s. They had cotton underwear and painted-on socks and shoes. Today’s models are naked and smooth. Somewhere along the line, someone decided underclothes on mannequins didn’t matter.
I have no idea how Scheherazade’s meeting will go. All I know is that it’s different for everyone, as different as the marriages that came before. I know it’s not my place to give advice. But I want to give her something, a talisman. What comes to mind is the memory of my first and knock-wood-only divorce lawyer meeting.
Oh my god. I’m here. I run into the lawyer at the door. “Go wight in,” he says on his way out. One guy’s sitting in the waiting room. The receptionist smiles brightly, “Is this your first time here?”
Inanely, I smile back, “Yes.” Of course it’s my first time! What kind of a slut do you think I am?
“Here,” she hands me a form. “Can you just fill this out? This is for a divorce, right?”
I nod, still smiling.
She points to a little table. “Use one of those clipboards.”
I grab one and grab a magazine to use as a pad. It’s Seventeen. The headline that catches my eye is, “Quiz: Does He Have the Hots for You?”
I start filling out the form but my eyes wander. “Does He Have the Hots for You?” “Glam Hair.” “What Guys Want.” The parade continues. Even I, heart aching as my pen scratches out the history of our failure, “Date of Marriage,” “Place of Birth,” “Do you know spouse’s whereabouts?” all I really want to do is stop and read “Quiz: Does He Have the Hots for You?”
Finally the form is finished. The lawyer has returned and is standing over the pretty receptionist. “I wu wike to have more appointments tomowwow,” he says. “Even if you have one appointment schejo, go ahead and schejo anotho one.”
“Okay,” she smiles.
“Half of them don’t show up.”
“Yes, sir,” she says more firmly.
“Okay, who’s next?” The other guy in here is sitting across from me. We exchange rueful smiles. The phone rings. “One moment,” says the lawyer. He goes into the inner office and we watch him pick up the phone. “Hewwo? …Yes, you got my name from the phone book? Hewwo? Hewwo?” He hangs up and comes back out to the receptionist. “Do you know how to pwogwam a wibbon?”
The receptionist nods. “I’m still figuring it out.”
“Okay, I’m weady for the next one. Who is next?” He looks at the other guy, who’s been sitting here longer. “You come in here.” The guy gets up and follows the lawyer into the inner office.
I hand in my form, and then wish I hadn’t handed back the magazine with it.
Scheherazade, I do have some advice. When the meeting is over, however it goes, go buy yourself some new underclothes–the prettiest, finest-quality, most adorable ones you can find. I’ve seen the future and the past, and I can tell you, it matters.