A very, very strange girl.

Exotic isn't a word for me. I don't use it... it's not a name for my fantasies. Eccentric? Enigmatic? Maybe that's closer, it leaves more room for her to be herself. Her's is an eccentricity born of, well, I can't understand. This is what makes her an enigma. This is why I can't find the words.

We've met, and we're due to be married.

Arrangements are made for a weekend-long ceremony drawn under the guidelines of her traditions: We're to come together as two families under a single roof, while my bride to be and I are somehow kept abreast of the methods of our union. There are no rings. There is no ceremonial procession. The vows are kept a secret to us. Under the constant scrutiny our families, we're to somehow learn about how we are to wed. This is the final secret and rite of passage of adulthood, to begin in an absolutely anomic situation, and emerge married and aware of the secrets of our parents.

The "ceremony" begins, and we gather in the presence of her mother. Mother and I have never been introduced, but it seems unimportant. We will come to know eachother during the wedding.

Mother begins to ask me questions. What am I interested in? Where do I come from? What of my family? What of my loves, past and present? What have we come here to do? Who is this woman beside me? She nods approvingly to some of my answers, and gives slim remarks, which I take as clues - indications of how to proceed.

Oh, but I've misjudged! Without looking to my fiancé for guidance, I begin to recite the traditional Christian vows.

A false start, apparently. We're not ready. This is not the method. It's not to be found in words.

I retire to my parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents - away from the formless, enigmatic girl for a few moments of defeated respite. We're all dumbfounded. What's to be done?

I seek out her mother, who examines me and begins a second round of questioning. She takes my right hand, and remarks that I have two large, red freckles on the back. That won't do... my wife cannot see these. She covers the spots with an indigo wax - just in time it seems, as the enigma herself comes to stand before me.

I embrace her from behind, arms wrapped around her abdomen, cheek upon her head as we both gaze at Mother in expectant silence. I caress her hair, which is as occasionally long as it is short. Our comfort lasts for a very long time, and is observed by all.

She is, in her nature, a constant stranger to me. Can I love her if I'm always searching her out? It seems as if we've never met before this point, and that's the way it always is with her. Perhaps she is thinking the same of me.

She turns to face me, hands outstretched to take my own, and asks me my name. From my five-syllable reply is elicited, "Oh, what a beautiful name! You must write me a song, and make my own sound as precious!"... Somehow, I can't recall at that moment what she is called. I ask, and she gives me her name. I silently promise the song, and it is observed.

Whirlwind. In a wreck of drunkenness and livery we're married. My family comes together, a late night is kept alive with the Billy Joel singalongs I remember from my youth, the Queen singalongs I remember from New Year's Eves past and present, and a new set of songs to be remembered at future celebrations.

The night is exhausted. We retire.

The next morning finds me hungover and alone. I gaze through spins at the vacancy in my bed... a drumming forces my head back and eyes forward, and into them...

...Bold black letters written on the ceiling. "Joke's on you."

It'd all been a ruse. A practical joke. I'd been "punked". An orchestration.

Disappointment: a low water mark which is soon overcome by the high tide of my own pride. No. I will not feel a loss. This was a remarkable romantic achievement, a unique puzzle - with an enigmatically undefined goal. Something was.

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