The SMS came a week ago.
The gist of the message was: July 14th would be the day she would walk out a free woman.
She would be officially divorced from her ex-husband.
And yesterday, at about 10.20am, I got another SMS from her. Finally, after all the waiting, she did walk out of court a free woman. Unencumbered by her past.
The first thing I did was to send her a message of support. That I was truly happy for her. I truly was because I knew she had been waiting for this day for the longest time.
She’s a happier person this way, and she’s found much strength in herself, after walking out of a bad marriage.
When I was growing up, I never believed in marriages. I simply don’t know why. I used to tell Mum that I was “never the marrying sort”. I thought I was too modern for this tradition. I liked bucking trends. I thought I was a radical.
I even made a bet with My Best Friend that whomever got married first would treat the other to a luxurious hi-tea. That we’d never get married young. The idea was revolting to us modern girls who went to university and had strong convictions that we were the new batch of women, all set to conquer the world, or at least the city that we lived in.
Eventually we did get married. It seemed sobering, and almost embarrassing because we were forced to eat our words. Not that 27 was considered young anyway. Best Friend took her vows one year after I. I wept (really!) at her church wedding, and pondered what made me soft and sentimental?
But DIVORCE. Now that’s a new word indeed. Such a finality to it. Superstitious relatives would go “choi” at the very mention.
But I have had friends who had walked out of their marriages (note the plural: friends) and are not shy to say that they are divorced. It’s not something they wave in everyone’s faces but unlike 30 or 40 years ago, these women don’t beat around the bush about it either. It’s becoming more common.
I wondered if the women of my grandmother’s era, had they had the money and career, would they too have walked out on their men if their men didn’t treat them right? Would they be willing to try a life that’s totally new? Brave new frontiers so to speak?
Sometimes I think women today are much luckier. We can do as we please, and if it doesn’t please us, we get mad and find ways to get out of the situation. That’s what usually happens in a bad marriage. Stupid things start happening. Infidelity. Bad habits start to grate. Possibly our expectations start changing too.
Gone are the days when women say “I have to think of my children.” These days, the children would be the ones advising their mothers to do what’s best, and they’re quite all right if the parents no longer stay together. They’d much prefer to have peace in the home than bickering parents.
Divorce is no longer socially unacceptable or taboo or even eyebrow raising.
And nothing to “choi” about.
The SMS came a week ago.