They are saying that millennials are "killing divorce."
I've never been so keen to the slaughter.
On my devil's shoulder, I am tricklingly bewitched by-with an oozing saint spirit. He tells me about the high life that is Spinster Chic. Women, men, all on a leash and none of them yours, waiting for your bite. Sifting past menial labors of relationship maintenance, physical comforts untethered and as easily accessible as Chinese take-out. I think about the sweet and unaffected affections, freedoms, that come from sipping the tip drip of a new lover's fresh blood right off before sending them with their bunny ears tucked between their sensibilities on the way home. Businesswoman. Woman of work. Work of art. Dead before 50 but, damn, did she do it well.
But then there, on my angel's wing, a snow scented, choral voice strings along a battalion carrying cupid's bows, gingering me tenderly. She tells me about the low and loving life that is Miss Enchanted Vogue. Woman, or man, laced tightly around your ribs' circumference and pulled tensely like a corset, proper posture and an intimate fixation. Toil and brooding for a mess not to wipe up, but to lick up from the floor and spit softly outside of the window above a bed that was a gift from your mother. I think about the loneliness of disheartenment when someone you love forgets to know that you want them to bring you daisies when you miss them. Think about the wrinkles in the skin above his fingers' joints, what it's like to trace over them when digging my nails into his palms. Saying her name into my Alleluia. Making a monster out of God and blessing out of a body. Loosely sane woman. A woman who works. Work of art. Dead next to some boy or girl she loved until 85 and, damn, did she do it well.
I can't say I've ever known, sincerely, the freckles on the face of love. Can make out her eyebrows, loosely describe the length of her hair. But not her smell. And not the shape of her mouth. Not her voice. Where mommy and daddy were meant to show me how to love sits, antique, a question mark, shaking fearful, and rotting at its base.
They are saying that children of divorce are almost guaranteed to experience divorce themselves.
I can't say I've ever known the welcoming nausea of mutual adoration as a witness, but I do know a gavel and prenup like parents. And it's this likeness that has me toe-curled in steel and buckled boots for what seems to be an imperial and impending crusade: the thought of marriage.
In India and Pakistan, whether or not you get married is not a question, but a plan of action before your conception. I refuse to marry a cousin and see a fruitless future with any South Asian man or woman. I've seen two divorces, one failed engagement, a relationship marked by the gravestone for not wanting children. This makes me cling to my general thought process that marriages were never made to be connections for love, but contractual agreements by necessity and, eventually, devices for entrapment into heteronormative, oppressive and genetically fucked up tradition.
They are saying it's a union of souls, but at what cost?
Dowry, class raising, the use of children to carry on a family business. What about marriage is anything but Big Ceremony? Cynical and young-tempered, I hope the angel can't be unzipped into Shaitan, poking, prodding, coaxing me heavy handed into the crave to believe that there is such a thing as a lasting sweet-tooth out there.
To ever find someone willing to sodder together my gears into their human, human derma, love itself doesn't draw me back. It's the duration of marriage that has my stomach digesting itself, finding myself questioning my worthiness of its prolongation. Anything melding together can be easily melted apart, give or take one letter. One letter between children who deny the existence of normalcy and a foreign conception of a family life.
The angel and the devil tell me I come off as overbearing when it comes to something so trivial. But they weren't on my shoulders when mother and father dearest fabricated my connotation of marriage and murder. Sublimity and suicide. Rings around fingers to wringing each other's necks. I don't want a marriage. Not the kinds of I've seen, at least. But I wonder if I am capable of creating anything more than what I know? Writing a script bare of tropes?
I want to write a romantic comedy. Where we both die at the end. Dentures in cups of saline, white hairs from our heads in each other's teeth and spiking out of the cloth couch my mother bought us when we got married. The living room is brightly lit and my head rests on your chest the way it did when we were 18 and didn't know we were in love. We don't wear fancy rings and our apartment isn't big, but we leave those kittens we talked about to our children who we've shown that marriage is the tying of skins into each other, Siamese. So as we lived together, we end together.
I want it to be possible for me to escape from the idea that I won't ever know the freckles on the face of love. I want a wedding and a first dance, a white cake, and a red sari. But is it in the cards? For someone who is ignorant to an affair that is not half-hearted and driven by carnal pleasure? Is there a driver's manual? Does a love that lasts, that doesn't lie or cheat or use children as currency exist? Maybe I can create it. Maybe I don't want someone to love me at all. Maybe it'll be everything I never wanted. Maybe we'll die together. Maybe we'll live.
On my devil's shoulder, I am tricklingly bewitched by the picturesque notion that bruises on my neck could be named after the men and women who left satiated and numb from my room in the morning before work. The painstaking simplicity of being, rarely disappointed, trained for minimal expectations. A good time girl with no open schedule for daisies or patriarchal traditions that say my sex must be claimed for one.
On my angel's wing, a battalion of cupid's bows shoot me down and whisper sculpturally smooth that my body is not the only vehicle for intimacy. That I can be one man's good time girl and the woman he sees crying and bleeding. One woman's vivid affair down to the dirt day. Heart aching and bruised knees for a good cause, it seems.
But no saint and no angel has left me with an answer to my ability. But I am keen to the slaughter. I am keen on keeping divorce lawyers jobless by means of staying sole or finding heart, check back in to see which shoulder is least knotted.