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Okay, two years ago I got married. And it was a very good wedding, a nice short service and a small reception, nothing fancy; just real nice and intimate. In fact, it ended up just the two of us, bride and groom, because no-one had RSVP’d. But at the end of the day, that didn’t matter to us. We were still married, it was romantic, no-one got into a fight and we got to eat the entire buffet ourselves. Incidentally, they laid on a virtuoso lobster macaroni and cheese and my wife — who loved seafood — she gorged herself.

Actually, it’s not strictly true to say that no-one replied to the invites. My parents, who were against the sacred union right from the get-go, sent their invite back with one of those cards that lets you record your own message and they used up all forty seconds to tell me they saw me as a “pushover,” that I let others rule my life and that, you know, they had always loved their friends’ kids way more than me. And I won’t lie, coming out of an audio card, it hurt; on the other hand, it had been so long since we spoke last it was just nice to hear from them.

I should right now mention that I married a dolphin. My wife’s name was Hope and she was this stunning, cute little bottlenose from Sohm Abyssal Plain, North Atlantic. Really terrific is the only way I can describe her, and intelligent, and let me tell you when she moved she was nothing short of pure grace; she had this incredible wiggle all the way from head to toe I’ll never forget.

Before I carry on, let me just take stock of the situation because I get a sense you may be struggling with this story and perhaps even casting some kind of judgement upon me. I just want to say, you have a point; I don’t blame you for being more than a little surprised at my choice of life partner. But before you spring into action on some animal cruelty crusade, or even hit me with the old morality chestnut, I’ll come right to the point and say this is not an isolated case, at all. There are a lot of men and women out there just like me who have…you know, for the record, it’s not that unusual, it happens. The important thing to remember over and above any egocentric benchmarks is this: there was a lot of love there, real romance and I think we were happier and more content than a good deal of same species relationships.

Incidentally, in case you’re wondering about the consummation of our relationship, I think we’d both admit there were complications, but I’m going to be careful what I say because that sort of thing is way too personal.

Like many marriages these days, Hope and I decided to write a prenup. It was her idea, to be honest, because I was reluctant. But we discussed it very maturely and in the end I figured who knows what life chucks up? What’s more, we both came from very different backgrounds. Our cultures were very diverse, worlds apart really — hers more-or-less fluid-based and mine ruled by gravity and loneliness. And here’s the big thing, I don’t think I’m being prejudiced when I say the dolphin way of life was never going to be for me. I mean, we tried to make it work when we first met at Sea World and there were a lot of problems, you know, my body would not tolerate those sorts of atmospheres and I think her huge appetite made her feel awkward in front of me; she’d eat around 20 pounds of seafood every day. So, we accepted our differences and put some safeguards in place; also part of the prenup was that Hope could be released back into the wild, to the ocean, where she’d be able to live without fear of persecution or intimidation.

The day after we were married, her wish was granted and everything felt good. Then three months later, my life took a nosedive and, by the way, this is where things start to get difficult for me, you know, looking back. Anyway, I remember waking up one morning with my wife lying beside me and she’s speaking in English. Something I didn’t mention earlier, English was Hope’s second language; her first was a series of beautiful, hypnotic clicks and squeaks and Magic Sound. Anyway, I always knew something was wrong if she spoke to me in English, or at least tried to, because in truth it didn’t come very easily to her as a language; she always seemed to end up speaking it with a lisp. Anyway, she lay there next to me in bed and, here’s the thing, she told me she was leaving because she felt the relationship had, ‘run its course.’

Her words hit me like a truck and I won’t lie, I was devastated. I’m straight away into the foetal position and tears, tears streaming down my face, but I’m secretly pleased with how stoic I’m being about the whole thing and for once not making a complete fool of myself. She waddles in a little closer, enough that I catch the familiar smell of stale fish on her breath. We embrace and she reaches her flipper over my chest and I’m actually lying there in hope that if I play my cards right I might just be able to change her mind. Anyway, she’s nuzzling into me and I notice this bite mark, just a couple of inches away from her — this is really difficult for me — from her blow-hole. So, I ask her about it and straight away she’s on the back-foot, she’s evasive and more than a little hostile and I’m beginning to fear the worst. Suddenly, my wife of three months jumps up and admits systematic adultery with everything from Atlantic White-sided to Rissos and Killer Whales, all the real meat-head types.

I have to explain, this isn’t the first time I’ve been faced with this sort of thing. Betrayal has played a big part in my life over the years and the way I see it, there’s no going back and I can’t forgive. I used to but now I’m ruthless in that way and so I snap into action and within two weeks my divorce petition is under lock and key at the Family Law Court. Incidentally, let me tell you that if you think there’s red tape to cross when you marry a dolphin it is near on impossible to divorce one, at least without a good reason. And it turns out they have a weird law in Northeast Florida which says you can only get a divorce if you’re able to prove that one or more of the Ten Commandments has been over-stepped. Now, I don’t think Moses would have done anything about this. I mean there’s nothing written down about it anywhere, which I think looking back may have been a little short-sighted.

Cut a long story short, my divorce came through last week uncontested but despite coming to the end of the saga I still forfeited my family and friends, and regular employment. Anyway, it turns out there are literally hundreds of people like me in the same boat, who have been duped into some kind of marriage fraud, and not just by dolphins — there are folks out there who’ve been stitched up by monkeys, koalas, pandas, and Romanians.

The upshot of the story is my parents were wise all along; what they had recorded for our wedding card was right on the money. I am a pushover. In the end, Hope couldn’t wait to get away from me and I didn’t see her again once she’d cleared out her stuff. But I’m happy to say life gets better with every passing day and, in fact, I’m more than a little thrilled because my Sea World season ticket arrives tomorrow.

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After writing instructional literature for the funeral profession Nick John Whittle is now an established screenwriter, producer and director with scripts produced or in-development for indie film, radio and stage. He is also an experienced SEO copywriter, editor, proofreader and published author.

 

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