A Church, A Court Room and then Good-Bye

If you are a Patsy Cline fan, like me, you probably know this song. I’ve loved her since I was a teenager. I found my mom’s old records in the basement, and listened over and over again while entertaining myself with some crazy art project like sewing or making paper.

When I met PhD in the city recently, this song haunted my thoughts, and still does. We didn’t get married nor divorced, but this was the sentiment I was left with. 17 years went fast. At the end, it all feels so empty.

Since December 2013, when I had the first inkling that something was wrong with him, through pain, separation, break up, grief, recovery and lots more pain all over the place, we had been uncoupling. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life so far. I’ve cried through writing this entire post.

After the official break-up in October 2015, we’ve been separating our lives. First, since I managed the money, it was shared accounts like our credit card and his retirement accounts, and I had to refinance the car so I was the sole owner. Then he came to our apartment in St. Helena and went through his stuff. I don’t know why, since we had been together so long, but it was surprising to me how much there was to unwind.

At different points along the way, it was hard to separate even trivial things. He didn’t want to stop sharing our Netflix. I had to eventually ask him for a password to how I log in to the audio in the car.

But a month ago, we were down to literally the last item. We had to go together to the bank so we could take my name off of his checking account. I made an appointment at a branch near his office in the city.

I was worried he’d create an excuse to cancel. I hadn’t seem him in-person for more than a year.

I got to the city early, went to a bar near the bank branch, texted him I had arrived. He asked if he could come over and meet me to catch up over a drink.

He looked the same, perhaps a little more white in his ginger beard. Same Giants baseball cap, skinny jeans, cowboy boots and buckle, whiskey neat.

We behaved as we always had.

He showed me pictures from his niece’s first birthday. I told him about my consulting work.

It felt comfortable. There are no words to describe how desperately I missed that familiarity.

We went to the bank, sat with an account manager in her office, signed our names on some forms. I started to well up. That was our court room.

We walked out to the street. He turned to me and said awkwardly,

“Talk to you around.”

He hesitated to touch me, but I knew this was likely the last time I would see or talk to him. Now there was absolutely no reason to stay in touch.

I reached up and put my arms around his neck and gave him a tight hug. Laughingly, I said,

“Yeah, talk to you around.”

We parted ways. I walked a few steps, and turned. I watched his black shirt disappear among the crowded city street. That was our good-bye.

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