There is something deeply depressing about going to see a solicitor.
You see, I'm not going there to have a will drawn up that details at astonishing length how I'd like my vast fortune to be spread around after my passing has been mourned by the entire nation. Not even about how I'd like it all to go to the local cat's home, thumbing my spectral nose in advance.
I'm not going because I've bought property or sold property or even moved property. I'm not going to get contracts drawn up for an exciting new business venture. I do not have copyright, trespassing or aggressive neighbour issues. I'm not going to...umm actually, I'm not sure what other reason I could possibly ever need a solicitor for, solicitors not being known for their professional dog training/house cleaning/replacing the carpet/framing an old map skills.
This is in fact my first ever visit to one and whilst I'm easily impressed by the coffee being real and not instant, as well as being served to me in a lovely blue Denby cup and saucer; not to mention the magazines being neatly ordered and inoffensive (well, Cotswold Life...I could find something offensive about the scent of money that wafts from its expensively printed pages - lets face it, articles on affordable housing are few and far between in that publication, where would they fit them in amongst the pictures of be-hatted ladies at social functions? Chip on my shoulder? Yes thank you.), I cannot shake the sad little lump that's currently inhabiting my chest.
How so very depressing it is to have 18 years of your life up for scrutiny. The assets, the debts, the negatives, the positives. My unreasonable behaviour versus someone else's. 'List 5 things.' Just 5? I have a list longer than King Kong's arm of things I find really unreasonable about myself, that chip on my shoulder being up there at Number 1.
How so very easy it could be to lose sight of the positives, to just focus on the lack of shared assets, to be forced to apply a coldly analytical brain to a period of time that saw you become a mother, grow up, find a career. To leave at the door memories of all the good times, kicking them off like too-tight shoes. I don't want to. There were good times and the end of one way of living should not mean that I have to put those memories to one side. Shan't. Can't make me.
And how unbearably sad it would be to become buried beneath the all the legalese, to lose sight of the one living positive that scatters a Gretel-trail of books, scarves, socks, i-pod cables, empty mugs and school papers behind her as she walks on towards her own tempestuous, conducted-on-her-own-terms, chin in the air future.
I'm not about to. Can't make me do that either.