Back In Line

It’s 2:30 p.m., and I’m back where I started out at 11 o’clock this morning.  Back where I sat for two and a half hours yesterday before I had to leave so I could check on a job lead.  Back at the place where I’ve probably spent more time during the last nine years than any other, besides home.  The one place more than any other I’d rather not be:  Family court.

At 1 p.m. today, they told most of us to leave and come back again at two.  I was back on time, but couldn’t get upstairs.  More than 100 people stood in line in front of me, all of us waiting our turn for the metal detector. Moms, dads, children in strollers.  A true New York melting pot.

To our right, suited, tied court officers and attorneys flashed credentials and breezed past the barricades.  I used to be one of them.  In the days before I became a stay-at-home mom.  Before my ex-husband abandoned me, broke up our home, and wrongfully sued me for divorce.  In the days when money, security and health insurance flowed freely.  Before I ever dreamed I’d end up here.  In this line.

In the queue I now belong in.  My resources and law school pedigree probably still make me a candidate for that other line.  The one where you can breeze in and out more easily.  But I’m more comfortable in this one.  I know about the pain in this line because it is also mine.

To my right, on the polished white marble, I see these words:  “Justice for the family is justice for the community.”

The last time I reached out to the halls of justice for help, they let me down.  The time before that they weren’t here for me either.  And the one before.  I smile at the mom holding her baby who’s in front of me.  She returns the smile.  She’s probably been here before, too.  And yet she’s still hopeful, like me, even though we both know the truth about what goes on inside.



3 responses so far:

  • The Desert Rocks – Mar 14, 2018 at 2:19 PM

    Oh dear, what horrible memories.
  • Anonymous Friend – Mar 14, 2018 at 2:23 PM

    There's more justice in a Cracker Jack box than in that place.
  • Greg – Mar 14, 2018 at 2:23 PM

    The courts let me down as well, and even though she is slow to realize it (almost three years ago, the courts let down my former as well by paving a super highway for her divorce without any serious consideration for our two sons. I still have a hard time driving by the courthouse square without my stomach churning. I love your work with the Coalition, and look forward to joining in now that I have learned of the CDR’s great work!


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" Ostensibly about the break-up of her marriage and loss of her dream house, a four-story Victorian brownstone in Brooklyn's Carroll Gardens neighborhood, Beverly Willett's absorbing memoir is really about finding a home in one's own skin. A delight."

Courtney Hargrave, Author of Burden: A Preacher, A Klansman and a True Story of Redemption in the Modern South, a major motion picture starring Forest Whitaker

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