Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pumps and Pearls

Nic and I legally don't exist. We lost our social security cards and driver's licences. So in order to exist again, I made a trip down to the courthouse to obtain a copy of my marriage licence. While driving down main street I discovered one can buy poker chips with your name on them, wigs, vintage furniture, and other things I won't mention . You can also park your car on the "grass" of a seedy motel if you feel like it. Liberating. It's a different world, down town. The buildings are low and squatty and sprawl. The trees are huge and the windows are small. The cars were heavy and made of only metal and glass. I was wishing I had Nic with me as I checked my door lock for the fifth or sixth time.

After getting lost I finally made it to the Marriage Bureau. Oh the memories hit me like a freight train! I remembered climbing those very steps and waiting in that very line with Nic eight years ago. I wished I could remember what I wore, I remember Nic wearing a button up vacationey shirt with jeans and Vans. I suddenly wished I had on pumps and pearls instead of black sweat shorts and a green v -neck t with a mystery stain and rubber flip flops. People were snuggling, hanging on each other, kissing, staring at one another covered in that thick perfume of infatuation/love.

I made it to the glass window, and made my request to a girl with over plucked eyebrows and several gold chains lying on her busty bust. She sighed at me. " I'm going to have to pull this off of micro fiche." I felt old. She wasn't sure how to resurrect my ancient records from the wormy catacombs of the city, so she recruited help from the most knowledgeable clerk in the room who was intently looking professional while facebooking. I handed skinny eyebrows girl my marriage certificate and she said in an impressed voice, "Wow, those look so plain." She then pulled out a marriage certificate from "this century" and waved it's holographic sticker and cactus watermark next to my simple black and white one. Young newlyweds -to -be thought, "She's old". I know they did.

Meanwhile, while skinny eyebrows girl lit her torch and descended to the catacombs I observed the other couples. A thick Asian girl marrying a beefy black guy with snaky dreads. A very young Asian girl marrying a very old Asian man with a bald head and an island like tuft of bangs. But the most notable was the bride in the orange string bikini poorly covered in a gauzy white lava lava marrying her prince with a 3 day beard with beer breath. They had met about an hour and a half ago and were on an i phone frantically trying to gather guests to attend a wedding at a chapel they couldn't remember the name of..."the pink one". He thrust the phone in my face and asked me to confirm to his friend that he was indeed in the courthouse getting a marriage licence. I did so while bikini girl giggled into his armpit. Sigh.

I wanted to imagine her 60 years from now rocking on some porch with knee highs, a mu- mu, and orthopedic shoes. I wanted to imagine beer breath guy bringing her her pills and a glass of water clouded by metamucil. I wanted to imagine him kissing her forehead and sitting next to her with a gnarled old hand resting on her leg. But instead, I saw only a potato salad melting on a hot summer picnic table, in which said potato salad would have a better shelf life than this impending marriage. I held my mouth shut while I watched them sign on the dotted line. He rested his hand on the counter and I noticed he had a broken pinkie wrapped up in electrical tape. Heaven help them. I hope they are at a party some day and tell the story of how they met and how it was love at first sight and that it really was. I know Nic and I weren't love at first sight, (mostly because for two whole days he thought I was a different girl he had already gone on a date with).

I got in the car and examined our marriage licence. My signature was totally different than I sign it now. It was loopy and embellished and unnecessarily girly. Now when I sign checks for the electric company it's sort of like Ang-squiggly squiggle Lar-wavy line. I wanted to be that girl who had time for a ridiculous signature. I drove home and as I got on the freeway and made it back to the suburbs with big houses, small trees and big windows, I wanted to go to my man. I thought about our family and what we've made and who we are. We are different people. But we mean so much to each other and to our kids. We mean something to so many people because we are a family. We are a family. My marriage licence says so...even if it doesn't have a shiny sticker and cactus water mark!