Two Very Different Views on Marriage

by

Carissa Halston

 

I.

Please Hear Me Out.

I've taken my time.
I've measured my space.
My answer is Yes!
(I still have the ring.)

With all of the thoughts
I've been able to think,
I've decided it's clearly
the best thing to do.

We'll have a small service,
with your folks and mine,
a toast and some cake
and that'll be that.

Or perhaps something bigger?
With coworkers…friends…
A catered event.
We can rent a big hall.

I'll wear white, of course.
And you: tux and tails.
Your niece can carry
the length of my train

After the rings
and I do's have been said,
we'll serve chicken and sea bass,
pork and lo mein.

What's that, my dear?
No, I've thought it all through.
You just have to be there,
and wear a clean shirt.

I'll call for the flowers
and music and photos and
—don't interrupt me,
I'm trying to work.

My hair up or down, dear?
Oh, up, without question.
I couldn't bear getting
it caught in the veil…

And, yes?   Well what is it?
No, don't be preposterous.
It's under control.
I can plan the whole thing.

Let's set a date then, shall we?
Let's see…
Your hourly wage,
plus inflation and time…

Counting for births, deaths and
family crises,
how about May first,
twenty-nineteen (2019)?

I know it's far off, dear,
but please hear me out.
Short engagements are gauche
and people would talk.

Why don't you give it some time?
Think it over.
Get out. Yes, at once, dear.
Now. Go take a walk.

II.

Maybe if it weren't your second marriage.
Maybe if you were my first
thought every morning.
Maybe if my mother didn't encourage me to
"play the field."
Maybe if the ring actually fit.
Maybe if I were afraid I'd never be asked again.
Maybe if I weren't terrified over the thought of breeding
with you.
Maybe if you didn't do unflattering impressions of me.
Maybe if I thought you had a worthwhile future.
Maybe if your personality outweighed your aesthetics.
Maybe if I thought the question was genuine.
Maybe.
But, as it is…
I'm hoping I can just smile good-naturedly and change the locks after you leave.