The Bride and the Philosopher.
OK We’re going to begin. I said that I, a book, had written a life and now I am going to prove it. Because I am a book and not a dull author, I do not have to begin at the beginning. I can open up anywhere, and go backwards in time , or forwards through the present into the imagination, and return to pick up a vocabulary from scraps.
Since I am a book about spacetime moments of creation I shall share one of my most imaginative solutions to awakening this Author into realising that there was an alternative reality, and she’d better be part of it. Now, just like a character in what you all call fiction, one has to work with the material. Later I may tell you why we spotted her. Our new Bride.
We had often tried to alert her with quirky synchronicities, and she found these interesting but they did not arouse real examination. She was still caught in a cheerful rationality. She said ‘Mmm? I wonder?’, and moved on. That is the problem with a scientific training, it narrows the focus, and wider things are not observed or connected. As it happened we needed the science too, so we were also planning an imaginative extraction.
We had tried to alert her with ill omens but getting married she would do. First,we tried to throw a spanner in proceedings by having her father refuse consent until the eleventh hour. That was not difficult, he had guilt and resentment and we just used both. He was rather cross to discover that the daughter he never knew he had was getting married. She then needed a special licence to get round the question of publishing banns. They did that in those far off days and it was Lent. ‘If any man knows just cause…let him etc etc’ We had a just cause. We had already earmarked her for other more important business and marriage and children would make for difficulties. So we then managed a foggy magistrate who was supposed to fill out a licence but rather absent mindedly went the whole hog and ‘I now declare you man and wife’ happened before we knew it. We were still planning the next prevention. The bride and groom were both in lab coats at eleven in the morning. Married by mistake. ‘You may now kiss the…your student?’ Well OK. They asked the cleaners in the Court to witness what they believed was a Special Licence and went back to dissecting a dogfish. Formaldehyde was never a nice perfume. Odd she thought, all that ritual for a piece of paper!
When the priest who’d been booked and was priming himself for the sex education session asked to see the special licence he said
‘I cannot marry you, you are already married’
I don’t feel married’ she said
‘It’d save money?’ said the canny Groom, never one to miss an opportunity. The marriage was rather gunshot ( he had a paid trip ABROAD…and her mother would not let her go too, unless… respectability reigned in those days… why not make it a honeymoon?) and although he was keen in principle, he had been rather bounced into it by circumstances and a mother with slender resources.
Whereupon the priest (with a severe countenance) said if they all kept stumm and were willing to swear they had never had improper whatevers he would conduct a ceremony but they would all have to fake the registry bit.Disappear and reappear. I sometimes admire the moral relativism of the Church. So if the priest would, she could, and she swore blind that nothing like that had ever passed between them. I would actually agree. Rather desultory sex had happened in the year they had lived together but nothing exciting enough to be improper. We had one final shot at waking her up. Not even hailstones the size of golf balls stopped her from walking to the church under a beach umbrella. Wretched pioneers never say die. But, like the science, we needed a pioneer as well.
We join our story…The pair of them have now been married for three days. He, the groom, the rather dishy PhD biologist is on his way to talk about locusts in Paris for the World Health Organisation. So much for the honeymoon. Right now our couple are standing under Piccadilly Station Underground trying to work out how it all happens and when exactly you step onto the treadmill, and which flow you take, because in South Africa they had never had to navigate the tides of human traffic…and I and my colleagues are about to strike…
(I know you are busy… next week?…)