You put the ring on her finger and it registers that it is all going according to plan. The same plan hatched in clammy hands under the vines behind Kingswood senior prom, when she planted her chin in the crook of your neck, thinking the gesture daintier than it actually looked, at least to the chaperone keeping a vigilant yet unobtrusive eye from the bleachers. In her longing upward gaze she saw your razor burn and rabid ambition. A chaste sliver of air separated your thigh from hers as you sat side by side.
“I love you.”
The plan conceived by a great-grandfather who lived with his wives in a scorched village in a nation different from the one you’re to ascend. Your plan owes its origins to his, but it takes a new trajectory—it branches off from that old root, taking a leaner, straighter line through this country’s core.
“I love you, too.”
Your hair’s the genetic heirloom all proud Romney men inherit. That regal mane is part of the plan, and one day after it has, with impossible smoothness, transitioned to grey, its entire slick architecture will scintillate on television screens. It is part of the plan and your hair has its own plan, a design that must not be corrupted: so, after your hand leaves her finger you flick it along your temple to resituate an errant lock, teasing it back to the right coordinates.
Your face meets another through a conduit. Warmth crosses over and a circuit is completed. You take her by the hand and sway and grin and eat cake until the parents and cousins and photographers go home. Then you take her back to clean linens and show her how important she will be to you. Then you’ll wait, wondering with folded robed arms what’s taking so long in the shower, until a cool green indicator flashes between your temples, reminding you that everything will keep going according to plan.