“We got married on Friday the 13th.”
“Yeah, it was free”
“Yeah, the place was booked up for months but no one wanted to get married on Friday the 13th so they were doing it for free. It was a beautiful building too.”
“You’re not superstitious, then?
“I wasn’t,” I glance across at the wife, “but I fucking well am now!”
For half my life.
And then we met.
It is the year 2132 and in a quiet suburban classroom a teacher gves an old lecture to some new students. “A hundred years ago”, she explains “people used to think that being in love was perfectly normal, in fact, society even celebrated it and held ceremonies called ‘marriages’ in its honour”. She writes some of these words on the board, to emphasise them and the children giggle and whisper amongst themselves at words like ‘love’ and ‘marriage’. Love is such a ridiculous concept in the 22nd century. The teacher drones on about how love clouded the judgement of those caught in its grasp, about how it deluded those that it consumed and about how, today, drugs were put in the water supply to prevent such afflictions, how, today, everyone could be free of such nonsense. Danny looks across at Suzie, he thinks she is sweet, he should probably tell someone about how he is feeling, it cannot possibly be normal. She looks back at him and smiles. “In the past”, explains the teacher, “people would decide who they wanted to spend their lives with, based on their feelings.” the class erupts with laughter at this. He sends her a txt, “i<3u”, knowing full well he could be expelled for such an act. She sends one back, “u2x”, something happens in his pants that he is certain he should report to the school nurse. “Romance needs to be calculated to be productive,” explains the teacher, and the class nod in undivided agreement. “Imagine,” says the teacher, “if everyone just went off with someone because they thought they fancied them.” Everyone smiles and nods again, except for Danny and Suzie, who are just looking at each other. He wants to press his mouth against hers without understanding why and despite what he has learnt in hygiene class. He wants to press his mouth against far less hygienic parts of her than her mouth. Later he tries to explain all this to the nurse. She is old and kind and very sweet, she explains the solution to his troubles, it is called castration, it is a very simple procedure and she can perform it now if he agrees. She smiles, he smiles back and nods.