It’s Valentine’s Day. I’m married. My life is over

2014-02-12 11:07

I’ve never been one for days. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Braai Day, none of them really appeal to me. I have enough reasons to spend money without being told to do so by advertising companies and retail stores.

Of them all though, Valentine’s Day is the one I dislike the most. Not because I’m not romantically inclined, but because I got married on Valentine’s Day.

The first Mrs Harper was, unlike me, into days. Big time. So when I made the almost fatal mistake of agreeing to get married in the first place, she took the gap like a bullet. Something like Jay Singh with his eye on a juicy eThekwini municipality housing tender.

Before I knew it, we were getting married, albeit at the Melmoth home affairs office (I forget what the Boers called it), on the dreaded Valentine’s Day. Needless to say, the wedding went badly, something like the marriage itself.

In the run-up to the St Valentine’s Day massacre, Mrs Harper got bag-snatched of the wedding dress on her way from the store to Albert Park, where we were living at the time. We were broke as hell, courtesy of my drug habit and a piss-poor salary from Cosatu, so getting a new dress was a tough one.

The signing ceremony was a mission, and seemed to take nearly as long as one of those five-language Brics memoranda of understanding. If I remember correctly, it was on a Friday. My alleged best man got lost on his way so we kicked off several hours late. Something like an ANC rally. But way less fun.

The referee was this Boere-tannie who could hardly speak English. Neither could my mother-in-law. My father-in-law was hearing impaired. I was so stoned I could hardly mumble. My other witness was asleep in the car and had to be booted awake to sign on the dotted line.

I can’t remember much of the proceedings except saying “I do’’. It’s the first and only time I’ve ever pleaded guilty. I won’t make that mistake again.

The next day was the wedding shindig. We had it on the farm my father-in-law worked on. It was owned by this bastard called Stewart McMurray who booted my mother-in-law off the farm after my father-in-law died a couple of years later.

The party was cool. My father-in-law kicked in a sheep. Both my kids, Big James and Small James, were there. My members turned up from some strange places. Ulysses was handing out fistfuls of dope to all the guests. Including my parents.

The wedding song was Johnny Winter’s version of Highway 61 Revisited. “God said to Abraham, ‘kill me a son’.”

One Leg Ronnie fell down the stairs. Ronnie lost the false leg but saved his beer. And his rum and coke. My in-laws were rattled by my mob. I don’t blame them. They were kinda relieved when the last of my clan crawled out of there on Monday morning.

We get back to Durban. I’m married. My life is over.

A couple of days later, we get a call. It’s the Boere-tannie. She’s “baie jammer” (very sorry). The forms were in Engels. She’s filled them in wrong. We’re not really married.

I realise this is my chance. I can do a runner. There’s a tiny window of opportunity. The Boere-tannie slams it shut. Cruelly. She’s coming to Durban to the bioscope the next day and will bring new forms. I’m screwed.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

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