So today was the hearing. The procedure in our state is that you have to post your intention to change the child’s name, and you have to serve the other parent with thirty days’ notice. So I did that. I had my dear old friend Jules, who’s like a big brother with me, go into K.’s work and serve him a month ago. And then we waited. I fretted and read and researched and prepared and guessed and paced, and I don’t know what K. did, but we didn’t mention it to each other for a month.

Yesterday K. was over with the kids. He said as he was getting ready to leave, “What room are we in tomorrow?”

“What?”

“What room are we in tomorrow. For the hearing. I packed that paper away, so I don’t know.”

“I don’t know either.”

“Well, could you look it up for me?”

“Um, K., it doesn’t SAY what room on the paper. It just says Room 211, which is the general family law room. I was planning to go there and check to see where the actual courtroom is.”

Then I asked him why he was so set on contesting the name change.

“Because you can’t do this.”

“I understand that you feel strongly about it, but telling me I can’t doesn’t help me understand why you feel that way.”

“Because this is bullshit.”

“K., I think you should consider whether we really need more strife in this family. I understand this is not your preference, but what are you really achieving here?”

“Fuck you. FUCK. YOU.”

He stomped out.

This morning, I parked the car at 7:21 downtown. My sainted mother had come over at quarter of to watch the kids, and she was going to take Thing Two to school and take Thing One, who had no school, to the awesome big play structure right by Thing Two’s school.

I had a coffee in the café across the street from the courthouse.

At 7:57 I walked through the front doors.

I went to the Family Law room. I got my papers in order. I found the courtroom, which was room 356.

I waited.

I was the first person on the name change docket, and there was an adoption ahead of me, at 8:30. The adoption was fun to see. The little baby boy had a driving cap on and about fifteen grandparents, uncles, and aunts with balloons and presents and tears in their eyes. They trooped into the judge’s private chambers and made a bunch of noise while I and the 27 other name change hearings sat in the courtroom. I was next to an older woman who was changing her name to Moonshadow Roseshine, or something.

I kept jumping up and looking out the glass doors of the courtroom, expecting to see K. coming up the stairs.

At 8:45, the judge had still not come out.

At 8:46, she came out. She called my name. I went up. She signed it.

I walked out and went down to the Family Law room to file the papers.

There K. stood, all dolled up as I knew he would be, and on his cell phone. I later saw that he was calling me; it was 8:48 a.m.

“Hey, where is it?” he greeted me.

“It’s done.”

“What do you mean, it’s done?”

“It’s done. The name change is complete.”

He turned red. He raised his arm, and for a second I thought he was going to grab the file folder I held and wrest it from my grasp. Then he turned on his heel and stormed away.

I filed the papers. And as I walked into the Family Law room, I saw that the white board said: “Name Changes: Room 356.”

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