My brother’s divorce is being finalized today. It takes me back to my day in court; the surrealness of standing before a judge with my marriage reduced to statistics and numbers. Case number something, dissolving the marriage that occurred in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 7, 1987. Put that way, it seems like it was inevitable, wasn’t it?
But seeing the data didn’t accurately capture the excitement and passion that lead us to elope to Las Vegas on a Tuesday afternoon in July. The words on the court papers discredited the years of dating that preceded it, and the three years after that we were husband and wife. My God, we created a child together! The facts of the civil case dismissed those years so easily.
I feel the same dismissal when I tell people that I was married before; that I eloped to Las Vegas when I was nineteen. It almost always garners the comment, “And we all know how well that turned out.” Those words make me furious. They make me feel like my marriage has been dismissed again. According to the facts, I was too young. We were foolish. It was bound to end.
But what no one seems to consider is that I was happy; that I didn’t (and don’t) consider that marriage a mistake. I loved him. I wanted to marry him and have a life with him. We had a child together. If I had it to do all over again, I would. It doesn’t matter to me that it didn’t work out. It was just how things happened.
So today, as my brother stands in court and his marriage is reduced to the date and place of his wedding and all the assets that need to be divided, I hope he doesn’t suffer the same frustration that I did: that his marriage was nothing but a number of years that came to an end. Because it was so much more than that.