The clerk held the IDs to the light, inspecting their holographic images for authenticity. “So you’re not here for a renewal, then?”
“No, it’s our first time.” Ryan put his arm around Jenny’s shoulder.
“Yes, I’m sure it is.” The clerk handed the cards back. “Marriage licenses are for one year, ten years, or life. What duration are you applying for?”
Ryan pulled Jenny closer. “Life.” He said.
Jenny responded simultaneously, “One year.”
“What?” they said in unison.
“Life?” Jenny slid away from Ryan.
“She, she means life.” Ryan gaped at Jenny, “Right baby?”
“No. I meant one year.” She saw Ryan’s lower lip tremble, and slid back close to him. Batting her eye lashes, she pushed her voice to its highest register, “Don’t you think it’s much more romantic if we take it one year at a time?”
Ryan’s cheeks flushed red, “Like marriage is a car we’re taking out for a test drive or something?”
“No… I mean sort-of, I guess.”
Tap, tap, tap. The clerk clicked his pen against the glass partition. “Folks, if you aren’t ready I’m going to have to ask you to move aside so I can help other people who are. Is it going to be one year or life?”
Ryan leaned close to Jenny, “What about ten, baby?”
She shook her head. “One.”
The clerk slid their IDs through the partition, “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to move to the back of the line while you sort this out.”
“No, no. It’s fine. We’ll take the one year marriage license please.”
The clerk sorted through his forms, highlighting where Ryan and Jenny needed to sign. Ryan got out his wallet to pay the fee as Jenny carefully signed her name.
Jenny grinned from ear-to-ear as she slid the paper back to the clerk.
The clerk’s finished the transaction with the scripted words set forth by management, “Congratulations on your impending marriage. We wish you one year of happiness and wedded bliss.”