Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Birth, Marriage, Death.

“An End Has A Start” (Part 1 of 6)

I’m sitting in the foyer at Kingston Register Office.

Sat next to me is my future wife, Lisa.

I think we are here to speak with someone about the running order of our wedding, which is taking place in a few months time.

I’m not very awake, and I’m wondering why I thought it wise to waste away so many birthday cake wishes as a child on the desire for human flight, given that I have a fear of birds…and heights.

A man, and a woman cradling a tiny infant, shuffle past and Lisa interrupts my daydreaming by saying “how lovely it must be to work in such a place – you’d get to give certificates to the married and the newborn – happy, wondrous events.”

“Hmm, not so much, you also have to deal with the dead” I said. “Certificates for people who are unable to breathe anymore”.

This conversation spoke a lot for our collective roles within the relationship. Lisa is a shining bright light of hope and loveliness whilst I am a stick in the thickest of mud.

Inexplicably, I strike up a conversation with a tall, elderly; big-eared gentleman slumped in the chair opposite me. He was living proof, if it were needed, that a man’s ears grow substantially as he ages. Although, on reflection, he might have just always had big ears.

He said he spent his life working for Guinness, but I was unclear if he meant that Guinness employed him or that he was paid in pints of Guinness. I felt sorry for him, wondering if he was here to pick up his own death certificate, and indeed, if anyone else could see him sat there at all.

We left the BFG in the foyer, as we were ushered into a room, and told that someone would be with us shortly.

“I wonder why we’re here – what are they actually going to tell us” said Lisa.

“This is where you find out that I’m already married” I replied.

Lisa laughed, paused briefly in thought, and then laughed again with less vigour.

I noticed a large brass plaque on the desk that said ‘Melanie Cannon’.

“I think we’re here to see Melanie Cannon”, I said.

A middle-aged woman in business attire entered.

“This must be Melanie Cannon”, I thought.

“I’m Melanie Cannon”, she said.

Melanie Cannon discussed the details of the ceremony with us and asked us some questions that we had been asked a few times before, like the classic: “Are you Nicholas Keith Cresswell”?

“I do” was my well-received response.

Melanie Cannon’s style was relaxed and slightly ramshackle – loose and friendly, but yet somehow appropriate and professional. I warmed to her instantly.

Whilst discussing our honeymoon in Zanzibar, she asked me if I knew which famous singer was born in Zanzibar.

“Freddie Mercury” I said.

She seemed delighted, and spoke of how she’d learnt the fact from a recent pub quiz that she’d been to with her children.

“His real name was Farrokh Bulsara”, I continued.

Melanie seemed less interested by this information, which surprised and disappointed me.

She instead began asking Lisa about wigs.

I joked that ‘she hadn’t had time to make one for me yet’, which I regretted immediately, despite Melanie’s polite chuckle.

It appeared that all the necessary matrimonial detail had been addressed. Melanie gradually hit the wall conversationally, and started to talk about her friend’s husband, so we decided to leave. Lisa was hungry and I was bored, so we walked to the pub and ate fish-finger sandwiches by the river.

We talked about the superior merits of cloudy apple juice over regular concentrated juice, how it tastes better and looks less like urine, and also whether or not I should refer to her sister’s partner as my ‘brother in-law’s brother in-law’.

We left, and got in the car. Unfortunately, it appeared that a pterodactyl had decided to crap on my windscreen.

I took Lisa to work, then went home and listened to Yo La Tengo.

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