“Number 37 you’re up!” Amelia stepped forward to the booth, feeling no satisfaction at finally being at the top of the queue. Outside the Office of Matrimonies huge clear windows, she could see sky pods cruising in ordered lines and, at greater altitudes, the star hoppers lancing into oblivion on their way to some distant colony at the edge of the solar system. She had read about the terraforming of the various moons and she liked to think of those places as being beautiful and exotic. But the few images The Order deigned to release were dull and uninspiring.
If her impending marriage was to merit an 80% approval rating or higher, she and her partner might be deemed eligible for a trans world visa. Honeymooning on Saturn station would have been incredible, but it was too late to arrange that now. Her docket was punched and the frumpy clerk waved her on. Everyone had told her it was nothing to worry about, but she was expected to spend at least ten years in the marriage contract, at least eight if she applied for a divorce exemption, which was unlikely to be granted lest it set a bad example.
Clutching the now pointless docket in front of her as if it were some kind of talisman, she made her way forward. At the end of the conveyor belt hallway would be a meeting room with a few plush seats. Ten minutes of getting to know each other before the ceremonial license signing. Technically she could object, either of them could. But everyone knows you don’t really do that.
The door whooshed open and she found her allotted husband had arrived before her. He stood up from the couch where he had been sitting and turned to face her. They exchanged names, a handshake and a trepidatious half-hug. They gave each other the usual biographical information, occupation, number of siblings, background on their parents.
He had a severe buzz cut which did not suit him. His eyes seemed friendly, much to her relief, containing none of the desperation she had been dreading. They moved toward the next set of doors without comment. Amelie paused and decided to gamble on some honesty. “You know, I don’t mean to be rude but…”
“Go on” he seemed to be almost laughing. “We’ll the shaved head really doesn’t suit you, have you ever considered letting it grow?” He put a hand to his bare scalp. “Sure, we can try that. New hair, new me huh?” the doors to the ceremony room and they walked through the entrance together, almost elbow to elbow.
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