After two and a half hours of laborious attention to detail there is a heavy silence in the room. The voices have stilled.
I have just agreed to the final stipulation.
It is a heavy, vibrating space. My mind blank and rustling in the breeze of the previous emotion; a shivering leaf in the moment before the heavens bear down.
My lawyer looks at me. "Are you ok?"
"Yes," I answer with stolen breath.
She looks at Rooster. "Are you ok?"
"Yeah," he says.
"Ok," her mouth moves. And in a moment that lasts an eternity later I hear:
A giant, silent gavel slams down with thunderous finality sucking the oxygen out of the well-lit and sparsely decorated room. Like a vacuum on the cavity of my body all breath is whipped from me; snatched like a baby in harm's way.
"It's done" echos through the remains; rattles in the cage of my heart; tells me to fuck off.
I can't breathe. I fight tears. Her face is kind, sorrow-filled. Rooster is calm, enviously still.
I struggle to compose myself, busy myself with papers, a drink of water. They begin to talk. My eyes fill with salty tears. I lose one down my hot cheek. Perhaps two.
I focus on their voices, the timbres, the syllables. One, two, two, three, pause, etc. Lilting noise keeps me anchored lest I fly away in a swirl of regret and pain and bullshit.
I can do this: I will not feel.
I will not.