Assuming that love actually did take place—that the love between two City Hall employees (one from Sewage and Disposable Income Studies, the other from the much-less-heralded Bikes and Bike Rack Division), was indeed a manifestation of actual love, of throw-your-arms-around-it-and-cry kind of love, and not a by-product of lonely-office, interdepartmental ballyhoo (see: one-night stand)—then the current variables, social media studies, and other weights and measures can be correctly applied.
For ease of this study, the male (Bikes and Bike Rack Division), will herein be known as Kenneth. Or Ken. Or, “Don’t stop, faster harder my hot piece of City-Hall ass,” as indicated in the relationship vernacular established by the female, who, from this point on will be referred to as Francis. Or Franny. Or, “My little ball of wet love,” as indicated by the reciprocating, passion-induced awkwardness of Kenneth.
Furthermore, their place of residence, or Quickly-Acquired Domicile, will herein be referred to as the Apartment. Or, when used in conjunction with common catch-phrases adopted in passing by Kenneth and Francis, as Home (see also: “Take Me Right Now, Right Here, Right Inside This Fucking Apartment.”)
[Note: Due to an extended and somewhat arduous strike, City Hall has been closed for the following number of days: 192. For more information on this specific time frame please refer to the following: “I Saw You Staring At That Tramp In Permits,” and “Welcome to Exclusivity!”]
During the time period associated with following section of the study, one thing has become clear. Kenneth and Francis seem to have differentiated themselves from the typical City-Hall pairing with confirmed acquisition of one or more of the following items: (1) Engagement Ring. (2) Ikea Furniture. (3) Twins.
The procurement methodology surrounding the arrival of Twins, and the reaction of Kenneth and Francis to the realities of such an unexpected event, has established (within the Apartment) a heightened sense of impending doom (see also: “Raising Twins: Two Diapers, Double The Load.”)
The addition of Twins is interesting insomuch as it has been shown that unlimited use of select erotic colloquialisms while taking part in pair-bonding rituals does not generally lead to genetic pairing through offspring (see: birth control), let alone two offspring, let alone two offspring created through the union of Sewage and Disposable Income Studies and the Bikes and Bike Rack Division. That specific type of cellular division is more commonly seen in late night shenanigans, drunken forgetfulness, or, quite often, just plain stupidity (see also: “Forget About The Condom And Just Fuck Me: How To Ruin Your Life In Five Easy Steps.”)
The arrival of the twins confirms the acquisition of one or more of the following items: (1) Diapers. (2) Cribs. (3) Sickness. (4) Fatigue. (5) Hemorrhoids.
[Note: Due to a hurricane (Walter), City Hall has been closed for the following number of years: three. Because of severe water damage (see: mold), the details surrounding the addition of Kenneth and Francis’s third offspring are somewhat unclear. For more information on this specific time frame, one is asked to review the following studies: “Pornography Is For Parents, Too,” and “The Dangers Of Morning Wood.”]
Timing of sporadic (less frequent, not-right-now, or better-make-this-quick-the-kids-are-asleep) pair-bonding rituals within the Apartment will, for the purpose of this time period of the study, be broken up and expressed as a ratio (3:0). A ratio defined by the standard median age of infants in the Apartment (3), to the number and frequency of pair-bonding rituals taking place within said Apartment (zero).
[Note: Due to a long and protracted coup (see: revolution), and a fierce battle over the rights and ownership associated with City Hall, the following number of years were lost to this study: 19. For information on standard pair-bonding rituals typical to this time period, please see the following studies: “Don’t You Kids Ever Fucking Knock?!,” “You’re Old Enough To Make Your Own Grilled Cheese Sandwiches,” and “Don’t Ask Me, Ask Your Mother.”]
Confirmed acquisition of one or more of the following items: (1) Textbooks. (2) Boyfriends. (3) College Tuitions. (4) Empty Apartment.
With the acquisition of boyfriends, textbooks, college tuitions, and an empty Apartment, it has been observed (during this period) that Kenneth and Francis seem to be experiencing a sense of loss, or a void when participating in standard day-to-day activities such as Apartment maintenance, vehicle care, and dining-room-table discussions. A noted upside, or general connectedness observed within the newly silent Quickly-Acquired Domicile (Apartment), however, has been seen in the increased number of pair-bonding rituals (see also: “The Kitchen Floor Still Turns Me On,” and “The Washing Machine, Sex, And You.”)
[Note: Due to a ————————————————— (see: bomb) and a ————————————, City Hall has been closed for the following number of years: 33. For information relating to this time period, please refer to the following sources: “Aging Sexually: The Realities Of Cramped Cruise-Ship Cabins,” and “This Lubricant Tastes Like Peaches.”]
Confirmed acquisition of one or more of the following items: (1) Grandchildren. (2) Grey Hair. (3) Comfy Chair. (4) Cancer.
Tenderness and the holding of shiny thin-skinned liver-spotted hands have predominantly replaced most activities commonly associated with Kenneth and Francis’s pair-bonding ritual. Frisky and adoring statements by the frail and undernourished Kenneth are still reciprocated (with a worried smile) by the healthier (and much younger-looking) Francis. The acquisition of Grandchildren has intensified the need (compulsion, demand) for pictorial displays throughout the Quickly-Acquired Domicile (now also: Headquarters). During family functions (see: Christmas, etc), it has been observed that Kenneth and Francis’s roles within said family have become somewhat monarchial in nature (see also: “Grandpa Ken Is NOT A Pony,” and “No You Can’t Wear Grandma Franny’s Dentures On Halloween.”)
[Note: Due to a government-issued (and much needed) long weekend, City Hall has been closed for the following number of days: three. For a complete study typical to this time period, please consult the following: “Yes, This is Her, No, He’s Not Breathing, Please Send Help.”]
With the passing of Kenneth, confirmed acquisition of the following single item has taken place: (1) Loneliness.
If we are to believe, for a moment, in love that is worn, love that is longstanding—the kind of love where throwing one’s arms around it and crying is simply not enough—then one must also take into account aging, understanding, and grace. At the very least, phrases of unmatched longing and grief, as they relate to the tear-stained sheets of the now, suddenly older and often frail, Francis, must be considered. Support throughout the pair-bonding experiment has been abundant, that much is certain. More mysterious is the connection, physical or otherwise, that when severed, could conceivably induce such a rapid and undeniable decline in Franny. A fact that speaks to the strength of an unlikely bond. One that would see two former City-Hall employees, one from Sewage and Disposable Income Studies, the other from the less-heralded Bikes and Bike Rack Division, learn that a life containing one without the other, is, in fact, no life at all.
File submitted, study complete: City Hall Case # 2378-908-45
– Chris Tarry holds an MFA from the University of British Columbia, and has been published widely. His fiction has appeared in publications such as The Literary Review, On Spec, The GW Review, PANK, BULL, and Monkeybicycle. His non-fiction has appeared in the anthology How to Expect What You’re Not Expecting, and Outside In Literary & Travel Magazine. In 2012, his story “Here Be Dragons” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He is also a four-time Juno Award winner, and one of New York’s most sought-after musicians.
Copyright © 2014 by Chris Tarry from How to Carry Bigfoot Home. Reprinted by permission of Red Hen Press.