The man was very nice. I think he was patiently explaining what I was signing. But I couldn’t hear him. I was looking at the names…2 matching names on the happy side. 2 names on the other one name-different from the other above it. These other names sat in the other side of the page, the un-happy side. I sat and stared at my name and remembered a time when my name was on the happy side. Back when my name matched someone’s. Back when I wanted my name to match because I believed we believed in the same things. The fact that I was here to do this reminded me of how wrong I was.
Another form slid across the table. Again. I am sure it was explained to me but I couldn’t hear it. All I could hear was my voice in my head screaming, “This isn’t me! This isn’t who I am. This isn’t how I was raised, it’s not what I believe in…” as I saw numbers in the columns-one much lower than the first. But I didn’t say anything other then, “I am so sorry” in a broken voice. I signed. I could feel my face flush in utter mortification. I was embarrassed-Not because of the catch in my voice- but because of what I was having to sign.
He told me what I was signing but I couldn’t hear. I sat, embarrassed, and wanted to tell them that once upon a time this was a home–not the crappy, ill maintained, run down and sad place that it was now. I didn’t say that. I did say I am sorry again as a tear finally spilled from my full eyes. They thought I was apologizing for crying but I wasn’t. I was apologizing for this-apologizing that they, perfect strangers, had to sweep in to save the day. I was apologizing to be here. Sorry that someone had put me here-in this place-in this situation.
So I did. As I signed I thought of the names on the happy side of the page and of how they were already planning what they would be doing as soon as they signed all these forms. I thought of how the wall paper would probably be the first thing they took down. They wouldn’t know, wouldn’t care, that I I personally put up that wallpaper-my first attempt-for the first thanksgiving I was going to host. I thought of all those nights I sat up holding my baby girl as she slept on my chest-just me and the quiet of my home and the soft snores of my sleeping baby. I thought how excited my son was when his man cave and the Pintrest inspired swinging bed. I thought of my 2 big babies helping paint the pale pink walls in preparation for their new sister.
This time I did hear his explanation-I was signing saying there was nothing affecting the property. I panicked. “I didn’t even know about what you found last week!” I would never be able to sign my name to a statement that I knew all there was to know. In my heart I would never know all there was to know. My name stood for something. I wouldn’t tarnish this name too. “There was a lot she didn’t know,” one man explained to the man asking me to sign. They explained I was signing that to the best of my knowledge I had disclosed all I knew. With that explanation I signed.
Sign here-we like duplicates.
There were 4 forms in front of me. I didn’t hear what they were. I signed. One after the other. Each signature was harder and harder. Sign here for failing. Sign here for being an idiot. Sign here to acknowledge you are no judge of character. Sign here to totally eradicate what was. No one said it but that’s all I heard.
Almost done here-just a few more. Sign here.
He didn’t know that the shorter the stack got-the heavier my heart got. Though I wanted this over and done a part of me knew that the last signature in that last page signed it all away—all the plans and the memories. It didn’t really matter-they memories were tarnished and ugly now but still….
So I did.
And finally-last one-sign here.
This one was a form that showed my old name next to my new name. There in black and white was the past right next to the present. And with one last stroke of the pen I signed it all away.