Monday, March 14, 2016

Chapter 5 (3/14/16)

 Not long after the end of my conversation with Jamie, my phone vibrated twice in rapid succession, indicating a Facebook Messenger message.  I opened it to find a message from Chelsea that said, “I’m coming to see you.”
Huh?” I wrote back.  Eloquent, no?
Next weekend,” she replied immediately.
No.  No no no nonononono.  I couldn’t deal with Chelsea next weekend.  I just couldn’t.  I’ll be down in Rochester for Christmas.  We can do something on my way down or back up,” I wrote back.  You don’t have to drive all the way up here.”  Chelsea lived in Eagan, a suburb of St Paul.  I’d literally drive right through it on my way home to see my parents at Christmas. 
“Too late, I already took Friday off work to drive up!” she wrote back. 
I took a deep breath, then typed fast and hit send before I could talk myself out of it.  “Chels, I still live with Kevin.”
The three dots appeared.  They hovered for several seconds, then went away.  I watched them appear, hover, and disappear over and over for almost 90 seconds before her message finally materialized.  Wait, what?”  That had been an awful lot of thinking and typing for a 10 character message.
“I still live with Kevin because I haven’t found a new place yet,” I typed back.  Never mind that I hadn’t really even looked.  Feeling guilty, I added a lie.  And I have some appointments for showings this weekend.”  I hoped that would make her rethink her plans.  Who takes off work to go visit someone without checking with that person first, anyways?
“Oh good, I’ll go with you!” she replied.  “It’ll be fun!  And I’ll get us a hotel room.  I bet you need to get out of there for a weekend.”
I sighed and resigned myself, because there was no way I was getting out of this.  She was right, I really could use a weekend out of this house.  But now I needed to actually schedule some showings this weekend.  I sent a quick email to the address Kelly had sent me, then shoved myself off my bed to leave my room for the first time since the night before.
I opened my bedroom door and almost tripped over something.  I looked down and found the space heater sitting on the floor outside my bedroom.  I briefly considered marching it straight upstairs and chucking it at Kevin’s head, but instead took it into my room, set it on my dresser, and plugged it in. 
Cautiously, I crept up the stairs.  Kevin’s schedule was never consistent, and I didn’t have any idea if he’d be at work or not.  I was greeted by a blissfully silent house, and a note on the kitchen table.  It said, “Sorry again for last night.  I put the space heater downstairs for you.  I was thinking about picking up Pizza Luce after my shift, let me know if you want me to grab you anything.”  I crumpled the note and threw it in the garbage, not willing to accept his manipulative “peace offering” of pizza from my favorite pizza place. 

Kelly’s brother-in-law got back to me quickly and we set up a meeting for Monday to talk about my budget and what I was looking for.  I wasn’t really sure what was holding me back, but I just didn’t feel ready to be starting this process.  I tried to remind myself that not having to share space with Kevin anymore would be a good thing, and would eliminate the risk of a repeat of last night, but the thought of moving out was still daunting.
Nonetheless, my appointment went well.  I really liked Kelly’s brother-in-law, Mike, and he had some good ideas of ways to maximize my rather small budget.  He promised to try to get some showings scheduled for Saturday, and I thanked him profusely.  I felt guilty, knowing that I probably wasn’t super serious about moving rightthisminute, but maybe I’d find something perfect and it would make it easier.  Maybe.

I spent most of the week dreading Chelsea’s visit.  That sounds terrible, I know.  I love Chelsea but sometimes she’s just a little clueless, and I knew she’d spend the weekend harassing me about my divorce.  I was looking forward to getting out of this house though. 
Once Friday rolled around, I had accepted that Chelsea was coming and was even starting to look forward to seeing her.  I went into work at 7 so I could leave early.  I worked as a scheduler/admin assistant at a local recruiting firm.  It wasn’t a very exciting job, but it was flexible, it paid the bills, and my boss and coworkers were great, so I liked it. 
My boss sent me home around 2, knowing I was expecting company.  See?  He’s awesome. When I got home, Kevin was sleeping on the couch.  He has a perfectly good bedroom (I know because it used to be my bedroom too).  I don’t understand why he can’t sleep there like a normal person.  I didn’t even bother trying to be quiet or respectful, and a mere 5 minutes after I got home, I heard him sigh and haul himself off the couch.  He didn’t say anything to me, just made his way upstairs.  His bedroom door closed heavily—not quite slammed, but his frustration was certainly apparent. Sorry not sorry!
Once I finished washing my dishes from the night before and that morning (and only my dishes), I headed downstairs to quickly pack up a few things for the weekend.  Then I scribbled a note to Kevin that read: “I’m gone for the weekend, so the house is all yours.  I’ll be back in the early afternoon on Sunday, so if you could not have any half-naked whores girls on the couch then, that would be great.”  I thought my correction was a wonderful show of goodwill.
I threw my overnight bag in the backseat of my car and drove to the liquor store.  I picked up a couple bottles of wine there then headed to the grocery store to pick up a few snacks.  Finally, I made my way to the hotel where Chelsea had reserved a room for us for the weekend. 
An hour later, we were sitting on the couch in our hotel room, drinking some wine.  “Wait, so what do you mean you filed together?  Like, you actually went to the courthouse together to file your divorce stuff?” she asked incredulously, interrupting my explanation about how it all went down.
“Well, yeah,” I said.  “You only have to pay one fee that way, instead of each paying it.  And then you don't have to go in front of a judge or anything.  It was weird, though.”  I filled her in on the day:

“Seriously, Kevin, we needed to leave five minutes ago, and if you’re not ready, I swear to god I will kill you!”  I yelled up the stairs.  I knew he’d be running late this morning.  I knew it. 
“Jesus, Jenna,” he snapped, coming down the stairs still buckling his belt.  He made it all the way to the bottom step before swearing and turning around, heading right back upstairs.  I shut my eyes and took a deep breath to keep myself from following and strangling him.  “I don’t know why you’re in such a fucking hurry to go do this anyway,” I heard him mutter as he came back down again.
“Was that rhetorical?” I asked.  “Because 1. I need to be to work at 8:30, and 2. You cheated on me for two years.  Remember that?”
He sighed heavily and stopped at the bottom of the stairs, looking at me as if I was a child and he was exhausted from dealing with me.  “I couldn’t forget it if I tried.  You’re making sure of that.”
“Good,” I spat.  “You shouldn’t forget it!”
“Can we just go?” he asked wearily.
“That’s what I’ve been wanting to do for the last 10 minutes,” I retorted, stomping towards the kitchen.  I wasn’t making this easy for him, but why should I?  He didn’t deserve for it to be easy.  He deserved to be just as miserable as I was.  More, actually.
We drove separately, because we were each leaving for work directly from the courthouse.  Of course, the only two parking spots left in the lot were directly next to each other.  On the way into the courthouse, he tried to make small talk with me.  Feeling a little guilty for how bitchy I had been earlier, I engaged.  Once we hit the elevator to go up to the court administrator on the 4th floor, we both fell silent. 
There was one person ahead of us.  We stood there silently until it was our turn.  Once we got to the window, I had no idea what to say, so I wordlessly shoved the divorce petition at the bored looking court administrator.  She paged through it quickly, asked us to clarify something, then we signed and Kevin paid the fee and she told us to have a good day.  Have…a good day?  Okay.
The silence was killing me by the time we were back in the elevator.  “Well, this is awkward,” I said, laughing nervously.  Kevin shot me a withering look.  “What?  It is.”  He just rolled his eyes and shifted to lean against the wall of the elevator.  I rolled my own eyes at his turned away head and sighed.  Nothing like divorce to bring out the adult in me, huh?             Of course, since we had parked next to each other, we had to walk to our cars together too.  “Well,” Kevin said, once we’d completed the trek.  “See you later, I guess?”
“Yeah, I guess,” I replied. 
Neither of us spoke, and we stood there awkwardly for several seconds.  Then we both turned away and got in our cars.  He pulled out of his spot immediately, but I stayed.  I rested my forehead on the steering wheel and squeezed my eyes shut.  I willed myself not to cry, and to my surprise, it worked.  I just sat and breathed for several minutes.  I briefly considered calling in sick to work, but knew that I wouldn’t feel any better sitting at home, so I finally lifted my head, sucked in one final deep breath, and turned the key in the ignition.

“That sounds like the weirdest morning ever,” Chelsea said, when I finished.
“Basically,” I replied, shrugging.  I unsubtly steered the conversation away from my divorce and we spent the rest of the evening drinking wine, eating room service-delivered dinner, and watching trashy TV. 
It was nice to sleep in a room that was heated to a reasonable temperature and wake up without wondering if my ex-husband was home or not.  We got ready, went out for breakfast, and met Mike at the first showing of the day.  He’d managed to set up 3, and I was glad there weren’t more than that. 
I was perplexed to pull up in front of what looked like an apartment building.  Chelsea and I exchanged glances before getting out.  I spotted Mike getting out of a car nearby.  “Hi there!” he called.
“Hi, Mike,” I replied.  “This is my friend Chelsea.  Is this…an apartment building?”
“Condos,” he corrected. 
I narrowed my eyes.  “What’s the difference?”
“You rent apartments,” he said, grinning.  “You buy condos.” 
He motioned for us to follow him, and reluctantly we did.  As we were walking, I said, “You know, I’m not sure how I feel about paying to share walls and listen to elephants clomp around above me.”
“Well, you’re in luck, because this is a top floor, corner unit,” he said.  I looked at him skeptically and he continued.  “You’re going to get more for your money with a condo.  Your mortgage plus your HOA fee here would be cheaper than the next place I’m showing you, and the condo is 350 square feet bigger.  Your HOA fee is going to cover lawn care, snow removal, any outside maintenance, your water, sewer, and garbage, plus the high speed wireless internet through the entire building.  You’re a young, single woman.  A condo is a good buy.”
I was still skeptical, but Chelsea elbowed me.  “Keep an open mind, we’re just looking.”
“Okay, okay,” I agreed reluctantly. 
The condo was nice, but I could hear the neighbor’s TV and it had a view of the highway.  I knew I couldn’t afford to be too picky, but going from our 2000 square foot house in a nice, quiet neighborhood to this wasn’t going to do it for me. 
I told Mike what I liked and didn’t like about the condo before we moved on to the next place.  The other two we ended up looking at weren’t good at all.  The second one Mike basically vetoed as soon as we pulled up to it, but we took a look anyway just so I could get a feel for what was out there in my price range.  The third actually would have been perfect, except there was a strange musty smell through the entire house that likely indicated some serious water damage of some sort. 
I tried to hide my discouragement as Chelsea and I drove back to the hotel.  I apparently failed, because Chelsea said, “Hey, it’s only the first couple, right?  There are lots more places out there.”          
“Yeah,” I said unconvincingly, staring out the windshield at the road in front of us.  “Lots more.”

12 comments:

  1. I wonder if she's partly afraid to move out because she doesn't want to completely end that part of her life with Kevin. It just seems odd that she's so reluctant to move out.

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    1. 10 years is a long time to be with someone though!

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  2. Moving on and starting over is really, really scary. I feel like Jenna is afraid of the unknown. All she is going to need is a little push or something to shove her over the edge, and then I bet she will officially get out of the house she shared with Kevin. Chelsea might just be the perfect "push" Jenna needs to help her.. help herself. :)

    Loving this storyline so much. It's really different than a lot of other blogs I read. Refreshing:)

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    1. I'm glad you're loving it! The best is yet to come, I assure you :)

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  3. It would be really great if you could put a date on each post, so we can tell without rereading if we have read it before. Great blog! Thanks!

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    1. I read it mostly on the mobile version and a date always shows up above the blurb for each post. I don't know if it's different on a computer!

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    2. Yeah, I didn't even realize the date doesn't post with each post on the desktop version. So silly. I did add the date to each post title and will continue to do so going forward.

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  4. A home bottom at the top would be great! You have to press the back button, go all the way down to the archives (which is great for when you're done!) or click to start at the beginning. I like going back and rereading parts of the story and it's not the easiest to navigate. Great blog! So glad you didn't stop blogging :)

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  5. So sorry! Saw that the blog title brings you home! Sorrrrry my mistake! You're amazing

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  6. SOunds like Kim G story

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