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[personal profile] puffy_wuffy
[2010.11.29][1293][48345]
“Kobbe’s?”  Hare’s voice sounded strong and clear to Harold over the phone line.
In his motel room, Harold held the receiver up to his ear.  It had taken him some time to figure out how to call out-of-state, and then an even longer period of time for him to decide who to reach:  Hare or Rold.  He could call Rold at school, but that might disrupt Rold’s day if it wasn’t his lunch period and Harold didn’t really know what Rold did, if he had been asked Rold’s schedule, he would have admitted that it was a big block of time that had the word “school” written on it.  Hare, on the other hand, had talked about his work often, which consisted mostly of stocking items, answering the phones and talking to customers.  “Hi.  Its Harold.”
“Oh, hey.”  Harold could imagine Hare’s face now, the way he looked when he was calculating what his next move would have to be.  More than likely, he was looking around the shope and making sure that he didn’t have any immediate duties.  “I’m free.”
“I’m calling to let you know that Harry is getting married.  Today.”  There was no other way around the truth but to say it, so that is what Harold did.  
Harold could hear a long exhalation crackling in his ear.  “Congratulations?  I think.”  The slap of a hand against a counter was punctuated ultimately with a whoop.  “Does this mean he’s coming back with a lady in tow?”
After a minute pause, Harold admitted, “No.  I’m still flying out as originally planned, but he won’t be coming back with me.”
“Oh.”
To forestall any questions, Harold quickly interjected.  “I have to get ready for the ceremony now.  I just wanted to let you know.”
“Thanks for calling.”  Hare’s voice turned professional.  “Call again soon.”  His boss, John, had probably shown up at work.
“I will.”  Harold could think of nothing else to say.  “I’ll see you soon.”  He hung up and went about getting himself ready.

Harold had not needed to hang up on Hare immediately because Harry and Rita had gone off to get the marriage license from City Hall.  Once the license had been made official, Rita had arranged for a justice of the peace to drop by the Coconut Motel.  The small civil ceremony was planned after a minimum of fuss with motel staff to be held inside the main lobby.  Four people in total were to be in fomal attendance:  Harold as a witness, Harry, Rita and the justice of the peace she had chosen, who had insisted on being called Bobby.
Harold had waited patiently in his motel room and then the lobby while wearing his very best clothes that he had with him on vacation:  a clean salmon polo shirt with light brown khakis.  His flip-flops only looked slightly out of place, but considering that Bobby was wearing shorts, Harold felt that his outfit was appropriate.  Bobby’s attire well suited the atmosphere of the city, relaxed and bending to the elements.
Harold and Harry had argued back and forth about how to structure the ceremony, but Harold had stuck to his argument for simplicity.  “We don’t need anyone to give anyone away, or music.  The important part is that the two of you get married.”  No one would give away the bride or groom and there would be no bridesmaids or bridegrooms, yet somehow, a janitor had rustled up a bouquet of sorts, and they would be having a small reception generously provided for the four by the Motel itself.  The smell of the simple fare wafted into the lobby from the nearby kitchen.
A little crowd had gathered, currently watching as Harry paced back and forth, Rita had not yet come back to the main lobby .  From his vacation clothes, Harry had chosen a dark blue polo shirt and tan pleated pants which off-set his dark black shoes.  The bouquet of plastic flowers had been placed on a table nearby where Harold and Bobby stood solemnly fiddling with their hands and killing time with idle chit-chat.
Outside the lobby, Harold spied Rita from where he stood as she passed by the glass doors.  Her bright pink pantsuit was festive and complimented her coloring and her mostly red hair.  The shiny gold belt cinched at her waist highlighted her fine figure.  Her arrival stopped Harry in his tracks, he reached a shaky hand out to her.  They clasped hands and walked toward Bobby, stopping only for Rita to retrieve the bouquet from the table it had been set on.
Bobby said a few obligatory words, mostly about marriage and what it had meant through the ages.  It was a brief history lesson about the origins and meanings of marriage, what a wedding was, what a promise could be or become in time for two people.  Tears fell from Harold’s eyes at some point, but it was not caused by Bobby’s words.  Harry had reached over to put his arm around Rita and they had both relaxed:  once skittish at the beginning of the ceremony, they had calmed each other down with a simple gesture.  It touched Harold more deeply than the rest of the ceremony.
Harold had never contemplated marriage for himself.  He had been to weddings before, mostly of colleagues in times past.  Most of his colleagues had wondered aloud at his established bachelorhood, his bachelordom that had persisted long into old age.  In fact, it had been a bone that many scientists had picked with him, that he had not had a long, lasting romantic relationship.  In fact, his longest lived relationships were related directly to his work if not indirectly.
No woman or man he had ever met had immediately made him feel comfortable with a simple word or a simple touch.  Harold had never been understood, not even by his own clones.  When Harry and then Hare and then Rold had come of age, he could finally see, and finally know, how singular he, Harold, truly was.  If he had been adrift in a sea of Harolds, he would still feel alone.  What a depressing thought to have:  it was why he cried.
As his tears fell, Harold tried to think a positive thought, one not related to being alone and feeling misunderstood.  He wiped his tears away with the back of his hands as they continued to fall.  His friend, Harry, would be here with his new wife Rita.  In many ways, Harry was the closest friend behind Five that Harold knew.  Hare and Rold would probably also be distraught as Harold without Harry.  At least Harry would be okay.  Harold wiped his eyes a last time.  It was amazing to see Harry so happy, and he hoped Harry and Rita would be this joyful every day for the rest of their shared life.
The crowd around their small group had stabilized and a hush settled over everyone except Bobby, who continued to blather on about marriage for quite some time.  Harold was not the only man who shed tears in the audience.  Producing rings from his pockets, Bobby signaled with a head bob to Harry and Rita.
Harry and Rita exchanged vows:  neither of them had written these, but they had chosen them from a list Bobby had shown them earlier.  Their earnest reading was concluded with the simultaneous donning of rings and then the traditional ending kiss.
“I’ve never felt so happy.”  Harry beamed at his new wife, Rita, and she smiled back at him.  This would be the start of an entirely new life for him and her.  They exchanged another kiss, more passionate than the last to the whoops of the small audience still gathered.  “Let’s eat.”

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