In six days I will stand before a judge and read from the script that has been provided to me, "My marriage is completely broken and cannot be repaired. I attempted to make the marriage work. I do not think anything else can be done to save my marriage." Probably the most deeply personal words I'll ever say to a stranger in my life.
All the while my son will be at home with his grandma. Slowly tracing his trucks along the edges of her furniture.
After I read my lines to the judge I will have admitted to myself, to my ex-spouse, and to the community that I have failed at something very large and important. Perhaps the most important thing in life. I've never failed at anything before.
Around this time my son will climb into his highchair and ask his grandma for his favorite clementine oranges. He will remind her in a sing-song voice "Don't eat the peel. Yuckie" with a fierce shake of his head.
I will stand and wait patiently while the judge signs off on the agreed upon Parenting Plan and Child Support affidavits. I'll flip through my heap of paperwork and give information about health insurance plans, retirement plans, visitation schedules, incurred debt, percentages of gross incomes, and monthly contributions.
After his citrus snack my son will want to go outside. He'll hold his grandma's hand as he bounces down the steps two feet at a time. He will want to turn on the garden hose and splash around on the patio. He will carefully watch the water streaming from the sprinkler, always assuring that it doesn't get too close to his face.
I'm not sure what I'll do in those first moments after I am free to leave the courtroom... but I'll have very little time to race across town to the theater. Once there, I'll step backstage into the cool darkness and put on my headset. For the following six hours I'll only have the capacity to worry about sets, spike marks, costume changes, props, and keeping the dancers away from the scrim. It will be a relief to have purpose and a focus, even for just a little while.
Once he tires of chasing water droplets my son will grow sleepy and request a bedtime story. He will sit lazily listening on his grandma's lap and snuggle his head back into her shoulder. His eyes will grow heavy but he will insist on pointing out all of the tires on all of the trucks in the book.
It will be late by the time I arrive to pick him up. He'll be asleep face down with his rump up in the air, making sucking sounds through his pouted lips. His Buzz,Woody, or a race car will be tucked in next to him. As I carry his tiny sleeping body out to the car, I'll have an understanding that his life has been irretrievably altered. Both of our lives will then be set on an entirely new course. But he won't realize that anything has changed.