The Introduction to The Silver and the Divorce can be read HERE. Now for the next installment:
Ana did not sleep very well that night. Not after the incident when Walter was supposed to just be mowing the yard. Instead, he lied his way into the house and tried to steal her silver. She tossed and turned all night as she occasionally woke to hear the sound of Walter’s motorcycle outside her house. She was up by 6 a.m. even though she did not have to go to work the next day.
When Ana got up, there sat her sister, Marcia, at the kitchen table, drinking coffee. Ana instantly felt terrible. Marcia was staying with her during her divorce so she wouldn’t have to be alone. Now Walter and his ridiculous actions had kept Marcia up all night.
“Sis, are you OK? Have you been up all night?” Ana asked.
“No,” Marcia replied. “There was a knock at the door around 5 a.m. It was Walter. I didn’t go to the door. I didn’t even consider letting him come in. What do you suppose he wanted?”
“Just to harass me some more, I would imagine. I’m so sorry you had to deal with that.”
Marcia said, “I didn’t deal with anything. I ignored the knock at the door. But, isn’t he under a restraining order not to come within 500 feet of you? He was certainly closer than that, Ana! He is not respecting the restraining order at all. That’s scary. I’m also glad neither of us are working right now.”
Ana and Marcia were teachers in their large city school system. Ana taught English in the high school, usually junior and senior English and English literature. Marcia taught Geometry in high school almost exclusively. It was summer and school was out. Their break was brief, but Ana felt fortunate she could deal with this divorce on the break. Marcia could stay with Ana this summer rather than in her own home because she had never been married, had no children, and she just locked up her house and left. She checked on her home frequently.
Ana sat down to have morning coffee with her sister. She was, indeed, concerned about Walter having such blatant disregard for the restraining order. She had to get a restraining order against Walter in the first place because he went so crazy when she asked him for a divorce. They had grown so far apart over the past several years of their marriage that Ana couldn’t believe he was even surprised. If he wasn’t, he surely did put on a good act.
Walter had gotten a small apartment nearby after the judge awarded Ana the house on a temporary basis. She had no intention of living there permanently. She had always hated that big house. They had bought it when Walter’s mother was alive in order to have a place large enough to care for her. She had passed away almost a year ago now. Ana hoped they could amicably sell the house and divide the proceeds. She knew this was going to be a problem. Walter did not want to leave the neighborhood they had lived in for so long and, frankly, Ana could understand that.
“Marcia,” Ana said, “What should I do about this house in the divorce settlement?”
“You’re going to have to do what your lawyer says. Isn’t that to sell the house and divide the money you get from it?”
“Yes,” Ana said. “That’s what the lawyer says to do. But, I don’t necessarily feel that is the right thing to do. I’m the one that wants a divorce. Is it right that I should make Walter leave the neighborhood we’ve lived in for almost 20 years? These neighbors are like family to him. As you know, he has no family.”
“The only other option is for him to buy you out.”
“Marcia, you know he does not have the savings or the income coming in to do that. He can’t qualify on his own for that kind of loan. It seems to me the only other option is to give him my equity in the house and try to make it up somewhere else in the property settlement.”
“Ana, please,” Marcia says. “Walter checked out of this marriage a long time ago with his drinking and gambling. Do you think he would be half as kind to you?”
“No, of course he wouldn’t. But, shouldn’t I try to take the high road. After all, I’m the one who had the affair.”
Ana had been deeply unhappy in her marriage for many years out of the 20 years she and Walter had been married. Several years ago, she met a man, through mutual friends, and was tempted into an affair. That affair last three full years before Ana and the man involved called it off, realizing it wasn’t going anywhere. Unfortunately, Walter found out about the affair right before Ana ended it.
Walter went absolutely crazy after he found out about the affair. Instead of dealing with it with Ana, he told all their friends and neighbors, literally running up and down their street talking to everyone about it. He embarrassed Ana with everyone as much as possible until she finally had to throw him out of the house and file for the restraining order. She had become afraid of him. He started digging up their credit card bills to try to find out if she had spent any money while having this affair, vowing to make her pay it back to him as part of the property settlement.
Walter even said that he was going to take everything from her – the house, contents, money, and leave her destitute. Ana was so upset at the time that she couldn’t think enough to realize that her state was a no-fault divorce state. Instead of acting like a man and assuming any blame for the state of their marriage, Walter was high and mighty and blamed Ana for everything.
The funny thing was that Walter did not want the divorce. He wanted he and Ana to reconcile, even while trashing her to friends and neighbors and even her family. When he learned that Ana was serious about the divorce and was moving ahead with it, he became even more distraught. He threatened her in every way he possibly could while begging her to come back to him and not go through with the divorce. He could not seem to see that this was not the way to win Ana, or any woman, back.
“An affair,” Marcia scoffed. “Had I been you, I would have had 10 affairs. When Walter wasn’t laying on the couch, he was drinking or putting your money down slot machines. What in the hell was the big deal about an affair? You’re just feeling guilty.”
“Marcia, I’m afraid that, in an open court hearing, he will try to ruin my reputation and I am a teacher. I could lose my job. Maybe I should have tried harder to save my marriage.”
For God’s sake, Ana,” Marcia cried, “You did try. Remember that disastrous trip to Las Vegas you took with Walter a few months ago?”
A few month’s after their marriage blew up, Walter talked Ana into taking a trip with other couples in his company to Las Vegas for a few days. It was the most disastrous trip Ana had ever taken and really sealed their fate. When they got to their room in Las Vegas, Walter wanted to have sex immediately. Ana complied but it was a terrible experience. Then, Walter wanted them both to go to one of the casinos. So, they did. At the casino, Walter completely vanished – for hours. Ana shopped, played a little blackjack, stopped by the sports book. Walter was no where to be found. She walked alone back to the hotel. Walter did not show up until the middle of the night – very drunk.
The next day, Ana got a plane ticket and flew home while Walter was passed out.
“Oh, Marcia, I’ll never forget that horrible trip to Las Vegas,” Ana said. “I was foolish to take it. I don’t think I’ll ever have the stomach to go back to Las Vegas again.”
“I think you need to talk to your lawyer and start getting some advice about the property settlement. You’ve really avoided it up to now. I know you and Walter have discussed it, but he is acting too crazy to be logical. You’re going to have to get your lawyer to draw up something and just present it to his lawyer.”
Ana replied that she would think about it.
That afternoon, there was a knock at the door. It was Walter. He was nicely dressed. Ana answered the door. Walter asked if she would come outside and talk to him. So she did. He seemed calm and ready to talk. Ana knew she should have an attorney present, but this was her husband of 20 years. Surely, they could have a conversation.
Walter wanted to tell Ana one more time that he would like for them to get back together but if they could not, he wanted the house. He went on to say that she could have everything else, meaning the contents. He would take over the house payments. Ana got out a piece of paper and they started making a list. She told him she would take that list to Jack, her attorney, as soon as she could get an appointment. Ana knew she would be stuck with any debt they had since she made much more money than Walter. They ended the night on a conciliatory note.
Ana shared the list with Marcia who was absolutely against Ana and Walter making up their own property settlement. The divorce so far had been filled with such animosity and vitriol on Walter’s part. Marcia just did not think it would work. Also, where in the world would Ana live?
Ana shared with Marcia that she had quietly been looking at small homes on the other side of town. All she wanted was something small in a nice neighborhood as that was all she could take care of by herself. Ana and Marcia knew that, soon, they would have their own mother to take care of and they planned to share that responsibility. Ana was looking for a small home, possibly with mother-in-law quarters.She had not found anything suitable yet but she was optimistic.
Ana decided to take the list she and Walter made to Jack, her attorney, tomorrow and see what he thought. She felt pretty good about it. She felt she was more than fair to Walter and that she would be able to leave the marriage with a clear conscience.
Ana and Marcia talked some more and tonight, there was no motorcycle circling the house. But, unfortunately, Ana had no idea what was to come. #divorce #romance #blogging #amwriting #amblogging #writing
*Stay Tuned for Part 3, The Silver and the Divorce
@Copyright Rosemary Carlson 2016