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Rick Ghastly | 2009 | The Other Option

11.09.09 2:54 p.m.

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.  

-T.S. Eliot


How Far One Can Go

Arthur and Hannah  
Soon to be one(ish)

Hannah texted to let me know that she would be getting married, and soon. I admit some surprise that Hannah and Arthur have come this far in under a year of knowing one another, but largely because I cannot see their relationship from the inside. Navy life must accelerate certain emotions while providing others reprieve from existing, providing a greater clarity and focus than she could muster in the Hudson Valley, while continuing to live with her ex. It is enviable.

Hannah has the means to build a life with Arthur and the Navy isn't stingy about letting her know it. She has the years, she has a degree. She has kissed frogs enough to provide princes for a new War of the Roses.

In a sense, if a marriage to Arthur is what she truly wants, if he is content to cut his ties with this area and hitch onto Hannah, the most pressing question seems to be "why not?" She decided days before asking me to be the witness of her town hall wedding that she wanted this. Arthur agreed and that was all there was to it, all that there needed to be.

I do admit a certain hesitancy, as I was not wholly clear as to their relationship status until she let me know they were getting married. I am not longer around Hannah to feel the unjustified privilege of speculating as to what she is thinking, but I do hear in her voice a new or renewed confidence, even as she frets about the naysayers, who point out that Naval marriages have an 87% divorce rate. In bootcamp, she went through an ordeal that her naval roommate likens without irony to that of the Jews in concentration camps and she is thriving nevertheless. She is feeling the need for roots now, to know there is someone who is just for her.

I truly am honored that she asked me to be the witness, especially given how I very nearly skunked their early relationship through misinterpreting Arthur's also going on dates with Sarah the Vet Tech. It is so easy for friends to drift when one has moved and it was never something I wanted with Hannah, whom I considered family enough to have join me at Thanksgiving last year. No member of her biological family will be present, as far as I know. They did not bother coming to her boot camp graduation, so they may now be too estranged to garner a town hall wedding invite. Plus, upstate New York might be a bit much of a trek for rural Appalachians.

Also, to some extent, I admit am excited simply because it is so dramatic, light-years from where I would have imagined Hannah's life a year ago. I had then only known her a few months, though enough to love her and confess a writer's intrigue in her life. In a month, and specifically for me to observe, she, who I once discussed as an "ethical slut", will be a wedded woman and building a future with Arthur.

Soon in Xenology: Maybe a job, parties, Ilana, Tom, Melissa.

last watched: Stardust
reading: Howl's Moving Castle
listening: Imogen Heap

Rick Ghastly | 2009 | The Other Option

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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