Sunday, November 16, 2014

Discovering the Savings Bonds

Once upon a time there was a woman who found a fat stack of her
husband's savings bonds in a paper bag on the shelf of the walk-in closet.  She scooped them up and hid them away because she was in the middle of divorce proceedings.  Because she lives in a community property state, each party owns half of all the assets (and liabilities) they acquired during the marriage.  Her please-would-he-sign-the-goddamn-papers-already-so-he-would-be-her-ex had a tendency to move money around even though he is enjoined from doing so under something called a "temporary QDRO," which he claimed not to understand.

So, to protect her half of the small fortune, she hid the savings bonds, so well that even she couldn't find them, and now, instead of having half a small fortune, she has lost the entire thing, because now she will have to reimburse him for the loss of his half.  The money will have to come from her half of the proceeds from the sale of the house, because she has no ready cash.   She had been trying to keep the house, even though that would be extreme folly because the cost of living in their area is exorbitant.  But events such as the disappearance of the savings bonds have coalesced, almost conspiratorially, to force her to face the inevitable.  She insists that they wait until June.  She is resolute that they not disrupt her son's sophomore year of high school.  But come summer, the house will be sold.

Until then, she is limping emotionally, marking time, sharing a roof with her ex, to the consternation of her therapist, her attorney, her boss, and her internet community, over 100,000 strong.  It's a Herculean task to maintain the distance she needs to heal and grow.  To take the straw of the painful lessons she has learned and, squaring shoulders full of false bravado, spin it into the gold that surely must be her due when this nightmare finally recedes.

Yesterday her ex found the savings bonds, a miracle that inspired the woman to write a blog piece to tell everyone on the internet about her relief.  She has never had friends in real life that she truly felt comfortable talk to.  Not coincidentally, her isolation has worsened almost in lockstep with the mudslide of her intolerable personal life.   And so she spends hours daily writing for strangers, entertaining and inspiring them (their words) as she surfs the waves of her treacherous, disordered moods.

The steadfast weight she currently carries varies in density with her mercurial state of mind, but the discovery of the savings bonds has lightened it, at least a little, at least for now.  And now, buoyed by this relief, galvanized by it, she lifts her head, and shuts her Chromebook for a few hours, and resumes chipping away, task by task, at the monolith that stands between her and the fulfillment that she knows is hers to claim, with trepidation, with hope, and ultimately, with joy.