The perfect marriage – a short story by Linda Claire Groshans

Claire looked at her calendar and smiled to think that tomorrow, February 14, 2025 would be the first anniversary of her successful marriage to Henry.

Claire had been divorced from her 1st husband for nearly 30 years when she had been introduced to Henry. That first meeting was memorable. They were both head over heels for each other. Henry had never been married and had no children. And, Henry was much younger than Claire. What they had was a remarkable December/May romance. The age difference was of no concern to Henry. He was devoted to Claire in a way that no other had ever been.

Henry was also a very beautiful man. A very striking tall, lanky, man with piercing blue eyes. He was a smart dresser and a very tidy guy.

People might have talked more about the big age difference and they might have gossiped more about Claire’s rush into the marriage in her 70th year of life, but as the first year of their marriage was closing, no one could find fault in Claire and Henry’s choice to be a couple. Besides, their friends loved being with them to share dinner, wine and witty conversations.

Claire did not care much for cooking, but Henry planned the meals with attention to Claire’s health needs and everyone always complimented him on the tasty elaborate dinner parties they hosted.

Their marriage was remarkable and happy. Henry devoted himself to Claire. In fact, Henry was good at anticipating Claire’s every need. Every day, he wanted to know if there was any item at all that she would like to add to the “honey-do” fix it list. Even when Claire suggested that the bathtub could be polished and the spice cupboard organized, Henry obliged with a smile while doing expert work.

Claire was obsessed with watching old WWII movies. No problem. Henry started spending quite a bit of time researching more series and films that might interest her. He never once asked to watch a football game, or any other sports show.

Claire’s friend Vicky had called just a couple of days ago and told her that Henry was a “dreamboat.” “Yes”, Claire had replied, “he is the man of my dreams. And, it is funny that you should call him a dreamboat, because I have planned a luxury cruise for our anniversary. We will be leaving soon for the month.”

Vicky asked if they were packed yet. Claire laughed and said, “Vicky, Henry packed everything and it is completely organized. I don’t think he missed a thing. He even fit my pillow into the suitcase because he knows how much I like it.”

“Are you worried about anything going on a cruise for that long?” Vicky asked Claire.

Claire’s face saddened, and even though she did not tell Vicky her thoughts, there was something very concerning to Claire about the cruise and the fact that they would be porting in foreign locations.

You see, Claire was the only one of her entire group of acquaintances that knew that Henry was a bot. Yes, a robot. She just hoped that there would be no issues bringing Henry with her without him having a citizenship certificate. She just hoped that his manufacturing certificate and her purchase receipt for him would suffice. After all, she thought, we never really know if other couples on board will both be human and who are we to judge.

The end.

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