Marriages and misdemeanors

On the second floor of Miami Beach’s old city hall, there is a rectangle-shaped room where, if you sit long enough, you may end up committing a felony to expedite your wait. But felonies aren’t handled in this room. No, this is the place for marriages and misdemeanors.

As I walked in, the first person I laid eyes on was a bride in full veil and train speaking in Russian, or something like it, to her future husband through a translator. The groom, his body in full suit and his head in full hair gel, then turned to his family to discuss what was said in Spanish. “The perfect marriage,” I thought.

Now Serving...
Now Serving…

I went on to collect my ticket, which indicated that I was the seven-hundredth and twentieth person in line, and glanced around the room to find the most comfortable seat possible. Perhaps one where I could rest my back against the wall and also be closest to the exit, in case that Russian bride went full-Bridezilla.

Unfortunately, an Argentinean national was taking up all of the prime real estate. Well not her personally, but her beach umbrella, which she placed upon an entire bench. I know I could’ve said something, but there was something off about her and I didn’t want to get into it.

There were two young black men that also didn’t want to get into it with her and they commandeered folding chairs, which they placed in the center of the room. They looked incredibly comfortable while discussing the discomfort of bureaucracy. I had no choice but to eavesdrop on their conversation all about the injustice of parking tickets, and found myself nodding along to all their valid points.

With only three windows open and numbers being called out in 15 minute intervals, I realized that I too was destined for a parking ticket. I had erroneously estimated to be there an hour. One single, joyous hour, where I, together with my partner of 13 years, was going obtain a somewhat-legal marriage license.

This is not what I had envisioned at all.

There were not a couple of Queen’s Guards opening the door to the courthouse for us. (Mainly because we were in the United States).There was not an enthusiastic host, much like one from a TGI Friday’s or Chili’s, that welcomed us and showed us to our seats. There was definitely not a short wait. And Ruth Bader Ginsburg was not sitting behind the glass to administer our oath.

After 53 minutes of full regret – not about getting a marriage license, but about getting our marriage license there – our number was called.

This prompted us to look at each other in that way those long-time couples only can. In that split second, only using our eyes, we said we loved one another and that what we were doing was ridiculously exciting. More exciting than we ever thought it would be. And just as heart-exploding as the moment I realized she was proposing and had not just fallen on the floor. As we made our way to the window, I flashed my half grin at her and she replied with her staple gorgeous smile, and right as we took our seats in front of the glass…

that fucking Argentinean lady and her malparida umbrella squeezed herself between us and the glass partition to speak to the attendant, disregarding the fact that it was clearly not her turn.

This prompted us to look at each other once again. And without saying a word, we agreed not to get married there and to find that bitch’s car and…

well, just find her car.

Published by Mari

I was born with a widow's peak and a thick accent. I majored in English as a second language. I work ( and travel ( and sometimes do both.

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