May Fifth was the day on which I was married. Twice. Also the day my second husband was married, his first time. To a woman who had the same name as mine. Confused? It is confusing. None of this was planned. I only discovered it later. The first marriage: a cold London day. We’d forgotten we needed witnesses. A frantic series of telephone calls to friends and then, when no one was home, to acquaintances. “Perhaps we can ask someone on the street?” my husband-to-be suggested. In the end we found two willing people. We promised them a pub lunch for their troubles. It was a civil ceremony, though not that civil really: we were all giggles and raised eyebrows. Marriage was not a thing my boyfriend and I believed in. Or was it that he did not believe in it, and I followed suit, because I was still a girl and he most definitely wasn’t a boy, but a fully fledged man, an American, no less, a man who’d played saxophone with the greats, a man who’d studied philosophy with Alan Watts – who considered marriage an obsolete institution (Watts married three times). The second marriage: a park in Toronto, in the rain. The two of us wore black. We had a minister from the United Church. She read our vows, not a mention of God. Something Native American (do I have my spirit guide to blame?). At our wedding reception, her mouth full of the carob spirulina cake I’d baked, the minister told me, “none of my marriages ever fail.” Who would think to send her a note telling her otherwise? Not I. The man I am now with – for twice as many years as both previous marriages put together – is not interested in getting down on bended knee. Not that husband number one or number two did either. The first marriage was a matter of convenience, the second a matter of blindness. I think perhaps, although he was not called John, he was my soulmate. What the seers neglect to tell you is that soulmates and marriage are not always compatible. “This one’s dangerous,” a friend said to me, those first days when I was delirious with love. I knew what he meant. It was too late for me to say, Too dangerous. I’d one foot hovering the air, the other on the edge of the cliff and I was falling, falling. There are some men who, if you fall in love with, you do so at your peril. For they have shattered hearts of gold, too broken to be mended. I tried, I failed, and ended up in pieces, on my knees, trying to fit us together again. They say a broken bone mends stronger. A broken heart they do not care to mention.
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