When Johnny grew up, he wanted to be a pilot. He wanted to fly and go places like the fabulous starlets in the movies. So naturally, when his older brother dared him to jump off the top of their old birch with a cardboard contraption, Johnny got right up there, braced himself for the big jump and-
-promptly climbed back down. From that point on, everything scared him. Coffee too hot for drinking might scald his pale and tender lips, entrepreneurial lemonade stands sure to fall through, and when his parents decided to move from California to bitter-cold Vancouver, he just about had a fit.
That was when he met Mary-Jane, wide-eyed and stuttering at the front of his new fifth grade classroom. She took a liking to his haircut immediately, and followed him around from announcements until afternoon bell like a little duckling. Sometimes she brought him sandwiches from home, with tuna or ham and slathered with large globs of mayo. He hated them but she wouldn’t shut up until he took it from her and waited until she turned her back to toss it in the garbage. It made her happier that way, it seemed. White lies, he figured, were the keys to any kind of relationship. And that was how they were.
Johnny never really loved Mary-Jane. He clung to her like he clung to everything else in his life – out of fear. He couldn’t make sense of why he never really felt anything for her. You would figure that when they slow-danced at prom to that god-awful 60’s love song with too much bass, that he ought to even feel something, or maybe when they lost their virginities in his mom’s beat-up old minivan. But he never could find a way past any kind of emptiness. He didn’t know why they were both that way. She just wasn’t. But she was always there, always willing, laughing at his jokes, eating popcorn at his movies, which he knew she always hated.
You couldn’t really blame him for bringing her to all his friends’ weddings either, because of course they were all getting married and thinking about babies and getting houses together because that’s just what you do when you’re in your late thirties – you either get hitched or start hoarding strange memorabilia. And you don’t just show up to one of those things without a plus-one, staring at the happy couple and wondering what it would be like if they suddenly burst into flames while drinking yourself to death from the open bar. You’re too old not to know that Barbie and Ken go together. She’s a whore and the only man that’ll ever love her doesn’t have a dick. Why else would she wear such god-awful shoes? So of course, he brought her, and of course, the moment all their friends started having babies, something struck a chord.
He came home one day to find her drunk off her ass on Malbec and chain-smoking her way through taxi fare to the next town over. She had finally cracked and the truth had shone through the wound; he didn’t really love her. And so she did the next logical thing by packing her things. And he did the next logical thing by getting on one knee and begging with an imaginary ring for her to stay. Time passed and he got her a real one, of course. Still, he hid the wine from her just to be safe. Nights passed where he lay awake wondering if there were any other items of his possession that he could have mortgaged to get a bigger rock for her. The size of the diamonds, he figured, were the most important key to keeping her happy.
And she even managed to convince her friends for a while that she was fairly happy. It was kind of nice not being the only unmarried ones anymore, kind of like a membership to a bridge club.
Then Juliet came into the picture. Juliet was fun. Juliet was sexy. Juliet came into Johnny’s workplace and she made him feel things that he didn’t even know he was capable of feeling. And she pretty damn reveled in the satisfaction of that knowledge.
Johnny wasn’t a bad guy. Really, you just can’t blame him for not knowing that whole love thing was actually real or that it could even happen to him, of all people. But it did. And Mary-Jane found out, the poor thing, and she cried and cried for days.
So when Mary-Jane asked if he wanted a divorce from her, like a wet little shaking poodle, he felt so bad that he simply didn’t have it in him to say yes. Instead, he asked her to marry him again. And she did.
Juliet, meanwhile, sensed the rejection coming and quickly found someone with a big cock and an even bigger house. She might have even been satisfied with her life at that point, but it was never a for sure thing.
And that’s how Johnny married Mary-Jane. Twice.