At the beginning of July I was served court papers. The case is a matter of public record, and I’m sure anyone who wanted to do a little research could read every sordid detail, or at least the plaintiff’s one-sided account of the details, but I’m not going to get into any of the specifics here other than to say that I chose not to sign a contract and was sued because of that decision.
There hasn’t been a single moment in the last three and half months when I didn’t think we were going to lose our house trying to pay legal fees.
Settlement papers were filed earlier this week officially ending what has been the most traumatic, agonizing, demoralizing experience of my life. I have no faith in our legal system, one that guarantees victory only for the party who can afford to pay for it, one that would allow a large company to bully a private citizen because it knows that she has no money with which to defend herself. I am angry and bitter and feeling all sorts of unbecoming emotions. More than that, though, I am afraid that these people are watching everything I say here, ready to pounce on a single word, twist it, manipulate it, and then sue me again.
I haven’t said anything about this before now because that was the counsel of our lawyers, and I’m sure that if they read this they will recoil, shake their heads, and then charge me $350 for having expended energy thinking another second about my case (I can hear one of them calling the other to say, “Dammit! She wrote about her feelings!”). I understand why they haven’t wanted me to talk about this, but I have felt completely dishonest in remaining silent, in putting on a brave face when inside I was feeling as black and dramatic as every lyric written by The Cure.
So here we are, on the other side, and Jon and I are bewildered and confused and not sure where to start picking up the pieces. We can’t shake this creepy feeling that we’ve been violated in the most disgusting way, made to fear the loss of the roof over our heads. I firmly believe that the mystery illness Jon suffered in August was a direct result of the stress he was trying to cope with, the stress of trying to remain calm and level-headed as he watched his wife collapse frequently into a sobbing heap on the floor. I have not handled this well.
I have also felt completely responsible for putting my family through this, for being the reason that our futures were jeopardized, and the guilt of that has been almost too much to live through. There have been too many moments like the ones I felt two years ago when it made sense for me to go away, made sense for me to leave because they would be so much better off without me. But unlike two years ago I can actually see how idiotic thoughts like those are. Plus, if I went away, I wouldn’t get to hear Leta say the moment after waking up from a nap, “Mom? I want chocolate cake.”
I could use some chocolate cake, too.