For the better part of a year they dated or one could say that for the better part of the year they became one person, one entity; if you saw Jay, you saw Beth and vice versa. They liked the same music and were able to show each other new kinds of music that they had not yet experienced but knew the other would enjoy. She introduced him to The Cure, Bauhaus and the Sisters of Mercy and Jay showed her Jane’s Addiction, The Rollins Band and anything Glenn Danzig had ever touched. He showed her his love of ridiculous movies such as Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Weird Science and Suburbia and she introduced him to foreign films such as B. Monkey and Amelie that he found an instant affection for. They even made each other try new foods they had never tried. Beth had never even stepped into a Waffle House or the Varsity in her life where as Jay had lived on a steady diet of the two. While Jay had never even thought of the notion of sushi but discovered that smearing wasabi over a California roll was now one of his favorite foods.
When Jay won a trip to Jamaica on a local radio station, he knew that he had to seize the opportunity and make Beth his forever. He checked with the resort and inquired about the laws regarding marriage. Making sure that if he proposed to her they could get married right then and there without having to wait. This task being before the internet age and cell phones was a two week process that involved many long distance phone calls. Thinking back to the time, effort and expense of this planning would now make most people laugh and the average teenager cringe seeing how every bit of it could have been done in less than an hour on a current smart phone. When he found out they could get married on the island and it would be a legal marriage in the states, he knew that it was fate. He arranged for the resort’s Chaplin to be on the ready so that in case she said yes they could get married the next day.
When they arrived at Hartsfield airport the morning of their flight they were informed the tickets to the island were first class. They were then introduced to the luxuries of the first class lounge. By nine in the morning they had both consumed enough free high end liquor to put a sailor into a tailspin. The Flight followed with an endless supply of Red Stripe beer and in less than two hours they arrived at their destination. After a lunch of Jamaican Barbeque they went back to the cabana for a mid-day nap. They woke a few hours later and decided to take a walk on the beach before dinner. The sun was beginning to set over the water and Jay knew it was the perfect time. When the inexpensive ring in a pawn shop jewelry box popped out of Jay’s pocket, Beth had started saying yes before the words could come out of his mouth.
“I just wish we could get married right now.” Beth had exclaimed
“We can, I’ve already arranged that.” Jay smiled at the woman that was to be his wife and just knew that everything was going to be okay from that point on in his life.
After the marriage they moved from their old warehouse loft apartment in the city into a suburb of Atlanta known as Smyrna. Into what Jay lovingly called a well decorated crack house at the end of a nice street. It was a drafty old bungalow from the late 1920s. Complete with a screened in front porch that lead you to expect a shotgun to slide out of the hole in the screen ripped on the front screen door. It had no insulation and an old window unit air conditioner that hung out the window in the kitchen. There was no central heat; only a strange hunk of metal under a grate in the living room that was supposed to be the “heating unit”. Here they would strategically place 3 small heaters that they had bought at a thrift store around the house. They hid under a stack of blankets provided by their families for even better warmth. The fact that Beth had an eye for decorating made the place look better in a short time. She had painted the walls using Ralph Lauren Paint and Jay had refinished as best as he could the floors which appeared to be a combination of hardwoods and 2x4s. They had worked for hours sanding and repainting old thrift store furniture into bright colored pieces from the Beth Branch collection as they called her hand decorated and manipulated pieces that gradually made the bungalow their own. It was simple and crazy but it didn’t matter they were happy. Every night when they got home from work was an adventure. Whether they were watching terrible movies Jay had borrowed from the little video store in the shopping center where he worked or playing Tony Hawk pro skater on PlayStation and betting on the outcome of the Horse level to get a “treat” from the other. It was a complete bliss neither one had ever experienced.