The day I turned 16 was on a perfect, July, summer day. I climbed in my car with my license fresh in my pocket and my Mom ran back inside to grab my insurance card. “Just in case.” She stood waving on the front steps, crying, while I backed out and headed to freedom to pick up my best friend. Six hours later I had to use that insurance card because there was an accident where an old man totaled my car with me and my best friend in it. If it wasn’t for seat belts we would have met a very unforgiving windshield. I thought I was going to be in trouble but the cops reassured me and called my parents. The accident was really no ones fault but both of our faults and Mom came running. She came running in a crappy moment and fixed it because I was scared. She took care of everything, learned a lesson and life went on.
Hiring the Lawyer felt like it should be the same way. I was in a scary moment and he was the equivalent to Mommy coming to save the day. He was going to take over and fix it all. Boy was I wrong. I had no idea how this worked. It wasn’t a small accident. It was big time. I can’t remember how many times I had to go in and sit with Lawyer to go over this and that. His paralegal (I think that is what you call them) and I became close. I would sneak out of meetings constantly to take a phone call from them that would cost me another $120. I would run to their office to sign this paper or that and I became the biggest sneak. I found all sorts of information. Because let me tell you, you need lots of information.
I learned the hard way how much evidence you need. Proof. I was never one to watch court shows on TV but I remember wishing I had. Lawyer said get a private investigator and I did. He pulled court records and I stayed up late at night reading them and then reiterating them to the Ex. Filling him in on every move every free second he had at work. In between I built my insurance agency client by client while keeping my mouth shut on it all to everyone I worked with.
Slowly my life was becoming wrapped into its own. The Ex and I were in a world no one else could enter or understand. Fuck, we barely understood. The storm winds were building to hurricane force winds, swirling around us. In between all that we had to pretend we were normal people who didn’t miss the child they had been raising with this enormous force. Nights were spent with me crying into my pillow wishing my Mom, my lawyer, just anyone could fix it and make it better.
I couldn’t just hand over responsibility to the lawyer and hope for the best. Just as much was riding on my shoulders which was almost worse. I wouldn’t have anyone to blame in the end if things didn’t work out for the best. It was the weight that started slowly crushing both the Ex and I. Life was hard and there was no break from it. Rebecca was gone, the concern for her was heart wrenching. The bills were coming in. I had a business to start and the Ex was working his way up at his job. There was no one big enough to come along and make it all better. Just like that we were grown ups dealing with far more than most grown ups ever do. I was suddenly very much an adult and I didn’t want to be one anymore.