It happened. I actually didn’t know that once you divorce you are no longer single and will never be. I was shocked at this realization when someone pointed it out to me on a legal form when I was renewing my Spanish passport.
It was last week that I went to renew my passport at the Spanish Consulate in San Francisco. I had to fill out many forms besides the regular forms since I had to update my residency. I’m always baffled by forms, any forms. Sometimes I don’t get what they want from me and I can’t seem to find where to sign or even remember what the date is. In this state of confusion and anxiety this simple process provokes, I set out to do it right this one time. I was sure for once I had all the information right, in the right answer slot, date, signature and where it asked for status, I wrote “single.” That’s where the confusion, my confusion began. When I was done, sweaty hands in tow, I turned the documents in.
The lady at the counter checked everything but came to a halt when she came upon the “single” status bit. She said: “This is wrong. You are not single. According to our files you are married.” To this, I replied: “Oh, yes, I was married and now I’m not, so I am single.” Lady: “No, you are not single, you are divorced.” I was struck by the realization, that once you are divorced you are no longer single. I told the nice lady: “But, why do I have to say divorced?” (not that I care but it just sounds awful to have to state that on documents). The lady looked up knowingly and said : “That’s how things are.” She corrected it herself but felt a bit off.
Why does it sound so awful to me? I don’t care about legal papers stating my status and least of all my age as if I could hide it, but it seems to go beyond the limits of legal documents. People actually say: “Oh, I’m divorced,” to whoever cares to ask their status. I simply can’t see myself saying: “Oh, yes, I’m divorced,” to a perfect stranger. I would rather give less personal information that carries less weight. “I’m single, not married, now.”
So, I was wrong. I’m not single and never will be. I just hope that these forms never ask you why you are divorced and make you write a 1000 word essay of how it all went down.