We’re sitting in the car on our way to the local registry office to “declare our intent to form a civil partnership”.
“Do you think they’ll quiz us on our relationship?” I ask. “Like how long we’ve been together?”
L turns to look at me. “So, er, how long HAVE we been together?”
* * *
We’re running a little late, which is not helped by me taking a wrong turn at the last minute. When we reach the offices, we’re a little flustered and starting to feel nervous. I’m wondering what this appointment will exactly entail.
We only arranged to go in two days earlier. We had known it was a necessary legal step to be taken before the wedding, but hadn’t given it a whole lot of thought. One thing that has really hit us this week is that this half term holiday is our last chance to get a lot of things done before the wedding. After this week we have seven solid weeks of work before we break up for summer, and then we just have three short weeks until the wedding (*gulp*).
Realising that we had better find out how to go about “declaring our intent…”, we rang up the registry office and practically had to beg in order for them to fit us in this week, which turned out to be pretty essential – they are only open between 9 and 3, Monday to Friday and needed us to attend together, so it was either this week, or the first week of the summer holidays, three weeks before the wedding. Which would be cutting it fine to say the least.
So, we’re directed up the stairs to where a guy is waiting to interview us. We’ve brought our passports and proof of address with us – as requested – which are all zipped up inside L’s bag. We get to the small waiting room at the top of the stairs and wait to be summoned into the interview room. L goes to unzip her bag and get out our important documents.
The zipper comes off in her hand.
As we’re bent over the bag, intently trying to make the zipper go back on the closed zip, the interviewer appears and asks one of us to come through. We explain about the bag and he confirms that yes, he will need to see the documents that are currently imprisoned inside it. He offers a pair of scissors but thankfully we manage to pull the teeth of the zip apart and get my passport and council tax bill out.
I go in first and sit down. He takes my full name and date of birth and then asks me for L’s full name and date of birth. I momentarily blank on her birthday, but I’m able to tell him. I get a raised eyebrow when I tell him her first name. He chuckles when I confirm that YES, we have the SAME NAME. I then tell him the rest of her name, specifying that her middle name is “Jayne, with a Y”.
He asks for our address and how long we’ve lived there and what my parents do (I have to admit that I’m not too sure what my dad’s actual job title was before he retired, and I don’t mention that he now owns half of – and helps to run – a gogo bar in Thailand), but the whole time I’m answering his questions, I’m wondering whether it IS Jayne with a Y.
In fact, by the time the interview is finished, I’ve signed a piece of paper to say that I confirm the details (Jayne with a Y) are true and he sends me out so he can interview L, I am CONVINCED that in fact it is Jane WITHOUT a Y and I am the worst fiancee ever because I don’t even know how my fiancee’s middle name is spelled.
L is very relieved that I went in there first as she mostly just had to confirm details I had already given, although she admits to me afterwards that she guessed how long we’ve lived at our current address. Actually, she spends most of the interview trying not to laugh because when he asks her to confirm her full name, she realises that he must have asked me for MY full name, and it rather tickles her to think of me having to tell him my middle name is Marjorie (cruel and unusual punishment from my parents. Or a ‘family name’ as it’s otherwise known).
Finally, I am summoned back in and we’re all signed off and just have to pay YET ANOTHER fee and I am glancing nervously at L, waiting for her to accuse me of not knowing how to spell her name, but all seems to be okay.
We are officially legally able to get hitched (‘civil partnered’ blah blah blah). Another step closer to wife and wife!