Wednesday, August 22, 2007


If you were to ask, Merry and Gerald would tell you they’ve been married since forever. Truth be told though, they’ve never been married, both refusing to legalize their relationship. They’ve been together at least twenty years that I know of and who knows how many more before that. Gerald will tell you emphatically that he doesn’t need a marriage license to tell him or anyone else that he loves Merry and Merry loves him. And it's that love that makes them both want to live each day in each other’s company. Gerald and Merry have four children and nine grandchildren so you have to figure there’s been some serious loving going on in all their years together!

There aren’t many folks who don’t regard Merry as Mrs. Gerald or him as Mr. Merry. When folks refer to them it’s always as a couple, united together for a common good. Not even their offspring seem concerned or bothered by the fact that some judge or preacher didn’t get to sign his John Hancock on a state issued permit proclaiming their parents husband and wife.

Anthony and Denise have been legally married for over twenty-five years. Their state issued permit declaring them legally wed sits in a safety deposit box along side their passports, their child’s birth certificate, and her grandmother’s diamond earrings. Denise will tell anyone who’ll listen that she stopped loving Anthony years ago and he’ll quickly respond that he doesn’t much care ‘cause he doesn’t have much love for her either. Their union is so sorely fractured that it’s a wonder that one or both hasn’t been completely lost in the deep abyss of their cataclysm. The disregard, disrespect, and disgust they share for each other is nothing short of abysmal but the marriage has endured for the sake of the children, the in-laws, and just the sheer spite of neither wanting to be wrong and both obsessed over being right.

If Merry and Gerald decide to part ways all they need to do is pack and head in opposite directions. Anthony and Denise have to maneuver the legalities of having his name and hers wiped off their license. Denise is fighting tooth and nail to get out of her bad marriage but divorce is conflicted and messy and until a judge says okay, parting ways comes with a mountain of hurt and heartache. Denise worries about friends and family getting caught in the crossfire of her and Anthony’s frustrations and anger. Other folks being hurt would absolutely destroy her.

Happiness has eluded Anthony and Denise for years. And now it’s that damn permit with all its legalism that is still holding Denise’s chance at happiness hostage. Interestingly, Gerald and Merry could care less about a marriage license. Anthony and Denise don’t care much for theirs either.

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