One Moment of Delirium

I sat on a bench in front of the bar in Division 25 thinking about the broken road over which I stumbled which led me to an uncontested docket where grey-haired lawyers slouch next to their petulant clients.  We mumble a series of leading questions and in six minutes, end a marriage.  I reeled beneath the weight of its effortless desolation.

Then the door to the courtroom opened, and in one crazy moment, I careened into delirium.

The woman walked towards me with an elegant bearing, a grand smile and a curved belly beneath a stunning black dress.  My breath rose in my chest; tears gathered in the corner of my eyes.  With a darting glance towards the judge, I whispered, Oh my god, I didn’t know you were pregnant!  Her smile widened.  I studied her gleaming eyes, her shiny hair, her radiant face.

How is your MS?  She made that gesture — sweeping hands — all good.   No flare-ups?  She shook her head.  Some people get worse, some go into remission. I’m in remission.    A sob escaped as I leaned forward to touch her knee.  I’m so happy, I told her.  Me too, she laughed.  I heard our voices rising above a tolerable level and looked again to the front of the courtroom, but the judge paid no heed to our exchange.

I thought you couldn’t get pregnant!  I chortled.  Me too! she said again, and her glow lit the room around us.  I could neither dim my beaming nor stem the tears.  We sat, eyes drawn to each other’s faces, until my case came across the judge’s bench and I rose to murmur my own six-minutes of formulaic babble to end my client’s marriage.

I paused on my way out and looked at her.  I will never forget the victorious smile she flashed.  I don’t believe that I’ve been this excited about a pregnancy since the doctor told me that I was still with child after losing his twin.  I won’t name this woman.  I don’t know if she broadcasts her MS or just told me, years ago when we had a case together, because my disability looks so similar to that nasty condition.  That she’s pregnant and doing well astounds me.  I carried the joy of it for hours after.  It almost erased the foul remains of an afternoon on the uncontested docket, where people’s lives crater under each uncompromising slash of a jurist’s pen.

It’s the twenty-fifth day of the forty-fifth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.


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