Vows by Jason Knade
The priest looks out over the congregation. “The bride and groom have elected to exchange vows they themselves have written, which they will share with us now.”
The groom takes his brideʼs hands.
“I promise that soon after we marry, Iʼll start to become less and less emotionally available, and I will never show as much interest as I feigned during the wedding planning.”
The bride looks into her groomʼs eyes.
“And I promise that soon after we marry, I will stop preparing your food, cleaning up after you, ironing your clothes.”
“And I promise to -”
“And I will categorically discontinue performing oral sex. I mean like never. Iʼm talking—”
“And I promise we will communicate less, and it will take serious effort to get me to contribute to a conversation in a substantial or meaningful way.”
“I promise to slowly start resenting you, and to become hostile and moody.”
“I promise to spend more time at work.”
“I promise to withhold sex almost completely.”
“I promise to make you feel inadequate by constantly looking at other women.” She takes a deep breath as she grips her loveʼs hands tightly.
“I promise to, for a brief period of time, take an artist as a lover, a passionate bohemian who can satisfy my emotional and erotic desires better than you ever could.”
“And I promise to, while away on business, take as many lovers as possible, and if necessary, to even solicit the service of professionals.”
“And I promise to disregard your affairs and feign ignorance, as long as you continually buy me expensive jewelry and ﬁnance my travel to exotic destinations around the world.”
“Of course. And I promise—”
“Tiffanyʼs. Lots of Tiffanyʼs.”
“And Greece. Because Iʼve always wanted a Greek man to seduce me, wining and dining me into a state of complete sexual receptivity, at which time I will be able to—”
“And I promise to make subtle references to the weight that you are inevitably going to gain, to point out how ﬁt and sexy television and movie actresses are, and, if possible, to point out how your closest friends are still managing to stay tight and trim.”
“Of course. And I promise to one day leave you for an older, richer executive at your ﬁrm, ideally a senior partner, because, letʼs be honest, youʼre simply an older, richer, more important version of my previous husband.”
“Naturally. And I promise to one day leave you for a younger, more attractive secretary, ideally one with Brazilian heritage, because, letʼs be honest, youʼre simply a younger, more attractive version of my last wife.”
She smiles. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.” He puts his arms around her.
The priest raises his hands. “You are now man and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
Jason Knade lives in Chicago where he works as a screenwriter, director, and university instructor. In the past two years, his films have screened at over 50 festivals in a dozen countries; won screenwriting, Audience, Jury, and Best Film awards; and earned him a nomination for the Iris Prize (UK Film Council), the most important award in the world for LGBT short filmmaking. Jason also likes to mountain climb and play pool, and he falls asleep every night while watching re-runs of “Frasier.”