Eddie Kasprak and Myra Moore decided to get married on a Friday.
It’s him that asks, though it’s really more of a formality, something to tell her friends and family later, and he doesn’t make a fuss of it. He takes her to the mid-range restaurant on the island where they had had their first dinner date and presents her, after dinner but before dessert, with the ring.
It’s a nice ring, probably too expensive, and one that Eddie had chosen more out how it would look to his coworkers than how much Myra would have liked it. That probably should have stuck out a little more to him as a warning sign, but two years into their relationship he had become a master at ignoring those.
He and Myra had fallen into their relationship quickly enough after Eddie’s mother had passed, and the coincidence was not lost on him. They had been working together for a while at that point, she admired his soft personality and promise of upward mobility within the company, and he admired her nurturing nature and the simple fact that she already admired him. It was easy to fit the puzzle of piece of Myra into where the puzzle piece of Sonia once was. Now she worried about him and he was kept safe by that. He did things to make her happy, like always coming home on time and presenting her with gifts she didn’t even have to ask for. In turn she kept his seven-day pill dispenser stocked and made him warm meals to come home to.
They both quietly danced around the issues that were always simmering below the surface, knowing that as long as nothing disturbed them to boiling it would be fine.
So they allowed none of that to happen, instead they moved the relationship along as if on a conveyor belt, dating, moving in, and now, getting engaged.
The engagement was nice enough, and neither party had much reason to wait so planning began almost immediately, the two decided on a date, reserved the venue, and Eddie looked into all the paperwork necessary.
A Marriage license in New York City, is good for 60 consecutive days following the 24-hour waiting period after which it is applied for.
Eddie, always the pragmatist, walked into the Queens County Clerk office on a Thursday afternoon, exactly 30 days prior to the scheduled ceremony, to file for a marriage license.
The call came on a Tuesday.
“Hello Edward, this is Janet calling from the New York City Clerk’s office, I’m afraid there’s been an issue with your marriage license.”
Janet was, all things considered, very nice and understanding about the whole situation. Much more so than Eddie, who had been immediately angered by the clear lack of organization in the system that had somehow declared him married seventeen years ago. She had assured him that all he needed to do was come down to the office with a few more methods of identification or the divorce papers and they could get it all squared away.
Divorce papers , Eddie had wanted to scoff at her. Yes, let me go get those divorce papers for this marriage I was part of...when I was eighteen .
The thought itself was so ridiculous he couldn’t even put it into words, he had never even been near New York when he was that age, he was still stuck in…
Whatever, even if he had been in New York at the time, what kind of maniac would give a child a marriage certificate?
Who would he even have married? He could barely remember anyone he went to highschool with, certainly he would be able to remember if he had a girlfriend at the time, one serious enough to get married to. Eddie couldn’t wait to have this whole nightmare behind him, then he and Myra could get married and everything would go back to normal.
On Wednesday, things did not go back to normal.
Eddie decided not to tell Myra. He told himself it was because she would only worry about it and he wanted to spare her, but he knew that wasn’t really true. Eddie, though still unhappy with the disorganization of County Clerk’s offices was a little more relieved than he wanted to be by the interruption of what was supposed to be the rest of his life.
So Eddie didn’t tell her, instead he said he would be working late and hoped the lie didn’t sound as sour and cliche as it felt leaving his tongue. Myra, for her part, didn’t bat an eyelash. And to be fair, if she had suspected the lie, her sweet nature would probably lead her to the conclusion of him working on some wedding-adjacent surprise for her. Afterall, Eddie had been the perfect boyfriend, and now fiancé to her up until this point.
Eddie left for the end of his shift at 5:15 on the dot as he always did, giving him 45 minutes to take care of anything that needed to be taken care of. He walked into the Clerk's Office and waited in line until he reached a middle aged woman with permed hair and 90% of a set of acrylic nails that could help him. She listened to his story, took the copies of his birth certificate and social security card and went to look up the marriage license in question.
About five minutes later she returned with a not so promising look on her face as well as a few papers.
She explained to him that there had been no mistake, showed him a copy of the marriage certificate dated April 14th, 1994 along with a Xerox copy of his original birth certificate and his highschool driver’s license.
The worst part about the whole thing was the other name on the license, a name that before it even registered in his brain made his whole body shake and head throb.
Richard H. Tozier.
He barely remembered to grab the stack of papers from the woman’s hands before walking straight out of the office and into his car.
Once he was there he tossed the papers carelessly into the backseat, shaking hands reaching for the bottle of alprazolam in his console and willing himself not to scream.
Everytime he blinked a new flash of something went by, too fast to catch, but enough to admit that the office was right, there was no mistake, at least not on a clerical level.
Once he had calmed himself down enough to drive he started the car, sent a text letting the company know he wouldn’t be back tomorrow, and drove home.
The whole way there felt like a bad trip, each traffic light flash brought on another vision or sound.
Something about a bridge
Eddie my love…
Glasses with too thick frames
Look at me
Long grass in the breeze
Miles of concrete road
No, jumping from a cliff, into the quarry.
It was all swirling chaos in his mind, but something in him must remember enough to put things together because he gets home, on auto-pilot, packs a bag, googles the name on the certificate, and books a flight. Mercifully, Myra was not there.
Three hours later Eddie woke up in coach feeling somehow more at peace than he had been in years and at the same time one millisecond away from completely self destructing.