Russell started work the day after we arrived home in our new apartment. I spent the day unpacking, finding a grocery store and stocking up. I hated driving in the Chicago’s traffic, plus I had to take everything up an elevator. I saw another resident with a cart and put it on my list of things to buy.
Russell was home at 6:00, pleased to find dinner almost ready and wine chilling in the fridge. He poured himself a glass and turned on the television only commenting the his day was “Alright” after I asked him. Other than that, there wasn’t much conversation. Nothing about how my day was, where I found the groceries, how nice the place looked. Nothing. I poured myself a large glass of wine and went to the kitchen to finish dinner, remembering that he hadn’t talked much when we were dating and realized I probably shouldn’t expect anything different.
The next days and weeks went by with studying for the bar exam which I had signed up to take in late August. Some days I went out exploring the area, looking in the windows of expensive shops on Michigan Avenue, strolling along Lake Michigan, and enjoying almond croissants and dark coffee at a Parisian bakery a block from the apartment.
Russell was already working nine and ten hour days five days a week and a few hours on Saturday as well. He was too tired to go out much, and thankfully didn’t want to have sex very much. We managed to go to a few movies and have dinner out every so often. I managed to drag him to The Art Institute one Saturday and I could tell he was bored silly. We left early but I went back a week later during the week, by myself, and spent all day there viewing the amazing collection of art and wishing deep down that I had studied art instead of law.
I began looking for work, dropping my resume off at various law offices that did family law, especially divorce cases. I was particularly interested in working with women. Of course I would have to pass the bar first.
August came and I took the exam, patiently awaiting the results for a week of hand wringing anticipation. I received the registered letter on a Friday morning, set it on the kitchen counter and stared at it for a long time before I mustered up the courage to open it. I had passed. I was now licensed to practice law in the state of Illinois.
I called Russell at work, which he had told me never to do, but I was so excited I did anyway. He was in a meeting and was not to be disturbed. So I called my parents who acted like, ‘why wouldn’t you pass it?’ I opened a bottle of wine and waited for Russell to come home. He called at 6:00 and said he was going to have dinner with a client and would be home late. I didn’t bother to tell him my news. I ordered out for pizza, finished the bottle of wine watching a Netflix movie. Such was my celebration.