I was driving through the center of town, stuck in traffic, when I saw the lawn sign: “Parent Ed. Class.”
It was in front of the old stone Congregational Church, welcoming parents who were going through a divorce. In the state I live in, in order for your divorce to be finalized, you’re mandated to attend this seminar which delivers valuable nuggets of advice such as: “Don’t argue with your ex if your child is in the room.”
I saw the cars in the parking lot, and I remembered how I felt about having to give up a weekend simply to check a box so I could finally be freed from my marriage.
Putting my directional on, I pulled into that parking lot. I’m not entirely sure what came over me, but I pulled out a pen and started searching for something to write on. Rifling through my car, all I could produce were stickers of shamrocks from St. Patrick’s Day. I flipped the packet of stickers over to the blank white side, and penned a note.
“I don’t know you, but I took this class at this exact location once. It may not feel like it now, but I promise you there’s another side to this. A light at the end of the tunnel. It will be okay.”
Just as I finished my note, a text came through on my phone from my boyfriend, asking if I could please pick up mussels from the grocery store. I smiled, picking that pen back up and added to the note: “Better than okay. I promise.” I picked a random car in the lot and safely tucked the note under a windshield wiper.
People going through a divorce don’t need a class that attempts to teach us how to act, while feeding us weak coffee and day-old pastries. No, people need reassurance that their lives will go on—that they’ll find a rhythm and someone to march to the beat of their drum with.
Mussels in hand, I stood in line at the checkout, wishing I had added more to the note. It felt too vague. Whoever read the note needed to know they would do all the little things like pick up mussels, go to the beach and go have a drink with someone again. Then again, maybe it wasn’t up to me to tell the reader what the light on the other side of the tunnel looked like for them…
I suppose I did offer them the most important thing: hope.
Author: Erika Cannavino
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina