Humiliation: It tastes bitter--like that taste in your mouth when a filling goes bad
Me to the person behind the desk at Triple A: "I need your help transferring the title of a car to my daughter. Both the car and the daughter are currently residing out of state, and the pink slip for the car is lost, and the registration is expired, and the registration requires a smog check." There I was again with my final decree of divorce in hand. "I have a new name now, see?" I say, pointing to the bottom of the first page. "Is that going to make things more complicated?" The guy behind the desk was unfazed. "I'm not sure how much backstory you need," I say. Much of my divorce narrative has lost its punch for me, and it bores me to go too far into that dark tunnel. Rather than the terror I felt a few years ago, the darkness lulls me into a stupor. "Let me roll with what you've told me so far," he says, clicking away at his desktop. It's L.A., after all, and we need our cars to breathe. He has, no doubt, heard a milliion stories of vehicular woe in the Naked City. The less prvileged stand for hours in line at the DMV, knowing that the loss of wheels means a loss of livelihood, or a lifetime of busstops. My Triple A membership bumps me up to a comfortable chair and a five-minute wait. After a brief discussion of the timeline, and how long my daughter has to resolve the citation for expired registration in her new home state, I opt to pay the portion of back registration that has not been garnished from Mr. Ex's state taxes. I consider this a win. M's nascent career, through the good graces of the cop that stopped her, has not been derailed by being charged with a misdemeanor, and in a short while she'll have a scan of the new tags on her iPhone. In 48 hours she'll have the actual tags in hand. Next week I'll have the not-really-lost pink slip replaced, and I will start the process of transferring title. Meanwhile, I have to admit to myself that Mr. Ex has pushed my buttons. The courtesy of a reply to my email? No. The one word required to reply to my text? Of course not.
Well, maybe it's better that way. There are no pretenses. He and I were finished a long time ago. It will have to be a matter of life and death for me to ever contact him again.
And meanwhile, my tongue probes my gums searching for that bitter taste, that hidden pocket of decay.