Tropical Igloo

Mixed race couples aren’t strange – we’ll all be mixed race one day – but this one stood out. Dimpy, Lucerne’s part-time Registrar of Weddings, looked at them but not too hard. Her job was to make them feel comfortable first and then to grill them, to discover if they were getting married for the right reasons. Everybody wanted to live in Arcadia and there were increasing numbers of sham marriages that were for immigration rather than romantic purposes.

The woman’s ethnicity was hard to define – either Caribbean or African, or maybe South American, though she could be South East Asian. Her skin was brown but also golden. She had big lips and eyes, and a small nose with a diamond stud. Her eyes were electric blue, but that could be contact lenses. When she smiled, her eyes and face shone. She was a ravishing beauty; she could have any man she wanted.

Then why choose this tall white man with a moustache, who looked like a shabby bank manager? He also looked ten years older than her.

Dimpy chatted to them together, as she always did, and then asked the lady to leave the room. Separate interviews yield the best results.

She had once considered becoming a lawyer. Maybe she would have been good at it. It would have been more money and more regular work. Right now she was doing three jobs just to make ends meet.

The man lifted up the back of his pin-striped jacket in a peculiar fashion, sat down and smiled. His moustache seemed like a caterpillar yawning and stretching, and his ears held small caterpillars too. A small forest sprouted from beneath his collars. She asked him how he had met his fiancée.

“Before I tell you that, I would like to update you on some back story.” He had a faded, but polished, British accent. “My grandfather worked for the Foreign Service and lived in many tropical lands, including Jamaica, Ethiopia, Surinam and Indonesia. However my father started a small business and I followed in his footsteps, and I have never had the opportunity to travel much. I only ever dreamed about these places; they were so lush and exotic. Sometimes the dreams were so intense they made me shake; sometimes they made me cry; sometimes…”

Dimpy didn’t like interrupting clients, but if he carried on like this she’d be here all day. She said, “Thank you for the…”

“I’ve only just started,” he said. “Don’t you want to hear the story?”

“I do want to hear it, but I’m afraid that I haven’t got time. I have to ask you many more questions, and then your fiancée, and we have forms to complete.”

“Okay, I will speed it up. I began to dream of women from those places, bright women with dark skin, who were filled with sunshine. So when I met Susan in the city – you’ve seen what she looks like – she blew me away. It was love at first sight. We would like to get married in Lucerne, as Susan has fallen in love with this place.”

Dimpy wondered if he loved her really. Was he fantasising, dreaming, projecting? She completed her questions and then asked him to leave the room, and invited Susan back in.

Susan said, “Sometimes I think this man is crazy. He literally worships me, and calls me his golden goddess. He says that I’m his dream come true, and treats me better than any man I’ve ever known. Did he tell you about his tropical dreams? He tells everyone. I have dreams too, about the Arctic. I’ve always lived in hot places and never seen more than a touch of frost. In the dreams I am with somebody hairy, wearing furs, cutting blocks of snow to build an igloo. Snow whirls around us like a tornado.”

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2 Responses to “Tropical Igloo”

  1. The desirable marriage is for romantic purposes? Bank managers typically have a forest of hair under the collar?

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