“I want to elope!” I breathlessly unfurled this naïveté upon my friend; I hadn’t a prospective partner, nor any valid reason for wanting such hasty nuptials to take place and yet nothing seemed more imminent than the realisation of this newfound objective. As is his nature, he regarded me with a bemused expression as he pondered the way in which my mind worked (or rather, didn’t) before questioning why I wanted to do something so erratic. “Think about it –nowadays most marriages end in divorce. I figure I may as well get a head start!” and in my own bizarre way, this bears some truth. The percentage of marriages in the UK that end in divorce is a staggering 42%, with the average length lasting a mere 15 years. Of this, it would appear that children who saw their parents’ dissolution are more likely to get a divorce than children who did not come from broken homes –this is known as The Divorce Cycle. As I fall into the former category, it is statistically safe to presume I will inevitably divorce the man to whom I am joined in matrimony. With this knowledge in the background of my mind, despite the best expectations and intentions I will always wonder if and when we are to separate –potentially becoming the cause of the very demise I fear. And if this is so, would it not be wiser to enter into my marriage knowing I have already endured my first divorce and had become the statistic I was destined to be? Of course, sometimes I can be analytical in ways that make no sense to the intellectual, logical counterpart I have chosen as my companion. And so it is better to mindlessly babble stupidities, and leave the intensities unmentioned below the surface.
To the majority of the stable female population, the romanticised fantasy of the ideal partner involves fervently kissing Ryan Gosling in the rain à la The Notebook. Then there are those like myself, who seek the thrill of a relationship that would make The Joker and Harley Quinn’s pairing seem a dull union. This, of course, may be why I am perpetually single. Where other females have high standards, I seem to have the maxim “if you aren’t high you don’t meet the standard”. What drives the likes of myself to have an inherent distrust of a man in a suit, as if the sophisticated style automatically screams Future Infidelity!!? What makes an unkempt individual whose idea of 9 – 5 is the graveyard shift seem safer than the well-groomed man whose affection is like a mortcloth; soft and delicate yet I cannot shake the feeling something horrendous lays hidden beneath? Where most women would counter the suit with a white dress and JUST MARRIED neatly inscribed on the back of their new family-friendly Prius, I’m looking for a getaway driver to toss me a helmet as we hurtle out of a court hall.
Yes, I am asking my friend to run off and become my future ex-husband. And, to be fair to him, he has participated in much of the irrationality that is my life; from guarding my comatose frame on a park bench due to inebriation forbidding me from travelling any further, to camping out in the backseat of my car when home wasn’t where I felt I was headed, to patiently listening to every fickle life plan I devised when in a state of elation (and witnessing me never following through with them anyway), right down to watching me buy that lamb burger at 3 am when we all knew it wasn’t a good idea… Yet this time, this isn’t a crime he is willing to be my partner in. He grew up with parents who were more likely to lift glasses in celebration of one another than they were to throw them at each other, so his view on the sanctity of marriage is slightly saner than mine. All the same, I am crushingly disappointed. Surely there is somebody capable of being the Clyde to my Bonnie…?
It is only a few weeks later when I am attempting to apply for my British passport by maternal descent that I realise my friend’s point regarding the stupidity of such impulsiveness was undeniably valid. In the quest for possession of a citizenship I am entitled to, not only do I have to access my parents’ marriage certificate, I need their divorce certificate too! If these documents bear significance in all my future endeavours, how am I meant to keep them in one place?! Heck, I can barely keep myself in one place! This simply will not do. That, and the fact I can hear a wise voice repeating “divorce is a symbol of failure, of poor decision making”. This isn’t always the case, and yet in this particular instance it would be entirely factual. And such a pity, too. I was quite looking forward to the adventure of an elopement, the splendour of a secret ceremony. How wonderful it would have been to whizz of to Thailand and legally bind myself to a man as recklessly impetuous as myself, for however brief –or long– our foolishness was satiated!
Oh, yes! Did I mention I want to go to Thailand?…