a few months ago, i wrote a blog on justice - and how telling i think our iconic image of "Blind Justice" (the blindfolded lady with the sword) truly is.
a friend of mine who has been locked in a hellacious divorce from an abusive man got her decision from the judge yesterday.
to say she's disappointed is an understatement.
when my mother called me a communist, i asked her if she wasn't curious about what had changed her most conservative child into her most radical. characteristically, as i have come to realize, my mother looked at me blankly and said, no.
when i look back on the terrible years my parents were divorcing, i realize that the sole difference between my experience, and my children's - which was far more typical of so many children's - is that my father was a gentleman about it. what he had to give, he gave. whatever blow his pride and dignity and sense of self-worth suffered, he didn't make my mother suffer for it. and so, neither did we. (we suffered, but for other reasons.) as angry, as bewildered, as hurt, as he surely must've been, he did not allow his own pain to spill over onto the two little people who mattered most.
neither did Beloved. whatever issues drove him and his ex wife apart, Beloved's children wanted for nothing but two parents who lived together. and they, too, are the exceptions rather than the rule.
most men, realizing the marriage is over, turn vindictive and mean. the mother of their children becomes their enemy and in the process, the souls of the children become the field of battle. women, in desperation, turn to the courts for what they believe will be justice. but what the court understands to be justice and what women seek there, especially on behalf of their children, are two different things.
a few weeks ago, in court, my ex's attorney and the judge were discussing whether or not ray could be taken off the contempt list for non-payment so he wouldn't have to show back up in court the next day. after all, said his lawyer, it's less than $two thousand dollars.
there was a time not too long ago, when two thousand dollars would've sounded like a windfall of unimaginable, unreachable wealth to me. im sure two thousand dollars would go pretty far for most single moms with kids. you fucking bastard, i wanted to say. how dare you dismiss as paltry such a sum? had he no understanding of what two thousand dollars means? how many bags of groceries, how many socks, how many boots and mittens and notebooks and pens? haircuts and baby aspirins? diapers and formula? had he no fucking clue?
sure, said the judge, who clearly doesn't either.
i used to think the measure of a man was how he treated his mother. now i know that it's really how he treats his ex-wife.
and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.