While Mr. Nussbam gave his obligatory introduction about why he was qualified to teach this class, I looked around the room. Every walk of life was here and we all had one thing in common: our marriages had failed or ended, and we had children. As the first lesson began, I listened as each of the 35 or so people participated in conversation.
1. The Crier – She brought tissues. She sniffled the entire time. Her voice quivered. You could tell getting divorced wasn’t her idea.
2. The Pissed Ones – Rolling their eyes, muttering “asshole” or “bitch”, letting out loud snorts when the teacher read anything aloud.
3. The “Still Married” Ones – Couples. They seemed like any other normal married couples, except they were in a divorce class. I wondered if their relationships were similar to mine and my ex’s, or if they were putting on a show.
4. The No-Idea-What’s-Going-On Ones – There were about 6 of them. I’m not sure they realized what the class about. They looked around doe-eyed when the teacher asked a question. Shell-shocked.
5. The What’s-The-Point? Ones – They talked about sports during the breaks. They talked about how to do their hair. They drew pictures while the teacher was talking or whispered to their neighbors. They loved break-time. They got snacks a lot.
6. The Know-It-All – You couldn’t tell her anything. She knew more than you. Also, this isn’t her first divorce.
7. The Sleeper – Self-explanatory.
8. The Desperate – There were 4 or 5 people whose spouses had taken their children and ran. This was the most heartbreaking. Whether out of the city or out of the state, these people were desperately trying to get their children back. One man hadn’t seen his daughter in 4 months. His wife took her and ran when she was only 4 weeks old.
9. The Type-A – She was next to me. And I guess, to a certain extent, she was me, too. Note-taking, head nodding, and carefully following along.
10. The Cute One – He was the cute one.
Together, the 35 of us learned about the law. We learned that we shouldn’t bad-mouth our exes in front of the kids. We learned we should give our exes plenty of opportunity to spend time with his/her kids. We learned kids feel sad when they’re put in the middle of divorces. We learned both parents have an equal right to be a parent to their child if they aren’t a harm-risk. So, I mean, you’re saying I SHOULDN’T steal my kid from school and take him to Disney World without telling his father and then tell my kid that his father is a liar and told me he would never let my kid go to Disney World so I had no choice but to kidnap him and take him?! We basically learned everything Dr. Phil says about divorce/children and, frankly, I would have preferred watching 5 hours of Dr. Phil. Not to mention the people in the class who didn’t already know this incredibly obvious stuff weren’t listening anyway.
On our first break, I went to the snack machine to get some peanuts. The security guard followed me because I was clearly a threat. I turned and smiled at him to charm him off my tail, but he didn’t smile back. That’s ok, though. Because in front of me was The Cute One. He was really cute. He was fumbling with the snack machine, pressing buttons and staring at it, waiting for a snack to fall out. Finally, some Peanut M&Ms fell out. He turned to go and saw me. “Ha. Oh, hey. That machine…um…it’s not. I didn’t pick these. They just randomly fell out. I didn’t pick…do you want these?”
“No thank you,” I smiled.
“Ok. Just be careful because it doesn’t give you what you want.” He moved to the soda machine to choose a soda while I fiddled with the buttons until something fell out: peanuts. Fine, I thought. “Peanuts?” he asked me.
“Yeah. I guess that’ll work!” I smiled. He smiled. WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING RIGHT NOW?! I CANNOT FLIRT WITH THE CUTE ONE DURING DIVORCE CLASS! We awkwardly walked back into class, completely unable to make casual conversation because
A. Neither of us were divorced yet and probably felt weird starting up a conversation while we were still in purgatory.
B. What were we going to talk about? Our divorces?
C. The only questions I could think to ask (So, are you married? Do you have kids) were already answered by the fact that he was IN THIS CLASS.
I spent the rest of the class daydreaming about what it would be like if I ended up marrying The Cute One and we told the story at our wedding of how we met in Divorce Class. Long story short, I took my sweet time gathering up my things once the class was finally over in case he wanted to ask me for my number. I mean, I don’t know how to do this anymore. Do I just give it to him? Do I ask him if he wants it? DO I STOP TRYING TO HIT ON GUYS IN MY DIVORCE CLASS?!
I walked to my car feeling a myriad of emotions. I was sad. I was angry. I was mentally exhausted. I was defeated. I was a loser. And all I wanted was a dirty martini, but I didn’t have any vodka. This part of my life was over, and now I had one of the final pieces of paperwork I needed to prove it. What a strange drive home that was.
P.S. If you happen to be The Cute One and you’re reading this blog, call me. ‘Cuz I know you’re single.