“Yeah,” Darius said into the phone as Jessica, the receptionist, made no attempt to disguise her eavesdropping. “I just finished the work-trade shift and will take a class with Hannah. Afte ... [+]
It was fun, especially when they recited until Divorce do us part.
During a hike they'd made the decision. After reaching the peak, a few meters away from the rest of their gang, they relaxed under a leafy tree. "We did it, we climbed a mountain," he said. "What's left to do?" she asked. That was a tough question. They'd done lots together, maybe even everything.
"Let's get married."
She liked his idea.
Their friends welcomed the news. Even those sunning themselves on the rocks jutting out over the edge sat up. "We should play the betting game," somebody suggested. Everyone cheered. Each dropped a guess on the length of the marriage. The soon-to-be-bride and soon-to-be-groom, too, had a rough idea when their marriage would fall to pieces, after all, they were the main players. But they didn't want to influence the others. Their friends kept guessing and laughing. "Marriages are so fun," one exclaimed. She was single, though twice divorced. "That's why we're doing it," the couple agreed, holding hands.
They had climbed a mountain as a boyfriend and a girlfriend. They had descended engaged, without a ring, without a scene.
For their honeymoon they chose a beach on a faraway island, where other newly-weds stayed, too. The sand was soft and golden, the water turquoise. They asked another couple to take their picture. It turned out beautiful, romantic, lyrical. They decided to blow it up on canvas, two copies, for when they got their divorce.
They shared a portion of each of their salaries for household expenses and saved the rest for when they had to divide their wealth as required by law. Soon, they had enough for a down payment. They bought a house. It was bright, with a beautifully designed layout. Sprawled on the couch, she asked, "So what's next?" He noticed they had more room now. "How about babies?" he suggested. It seemed reasonable when they had a small park across the street. So they did what it took to make a baby.
It was a girl. Their parents and siblings came to see the new addition. Somebody from the mountain top day pointed out it was great they stayed together long enough to have a child. Everyone nodded.
After a week, he had to return to work. But he found excuses to sneak out early and spend time with his daughter as he knew his daughter's mother would win custody of an infant. One day, he met a beautiful woman at the office. "You're too handsome to be married," the woman said, looking at his ring. He didn't mind being the subject of flirtation when a gorgeous woman was involved. "Thanks. For now we're married," he answered. "You're getting a divorce?" she asked. "Probably," he said. "We don't know when."
"I'll be downstairs," she informed him, "in the South East corner. That's where you'll find me." She had a way of tossing her hips as she walked. He followed her with his eyes.
One day, their daughter came home weeping. "The teacher said you and Daddy are getting a divorce," she squealed. The little girl's mother had a hard time squatting and hugging the child as she was eight months pregnant with their third, hopefully a boy after two girls. "Honey, we're not doing that today or even tomorrow," she comforted her. "So it's not something you should worry about right now." The little girl stopped crying, weighing the response. "What about the day after tomorrow," she asked.
"That I don't know, darling," the little girl's mother said. "But even if that happens, it'll be great. You'll have two homes, maybe even two mommies and two daddies and lots of new siblings." The little girl grinned and sprinted away, anticipating the day her parents would separate.
That day didn't come, not for years. On the day when the oldest daughter's own boyfriend kneeled and proposed, she rushed to her parents' yacht, where they were staying. They were happy for her, saying that she should get married for the hell of it. And then they called their other children—all four of them—to celebrate and play the betting game.