When sleep is no longer a time stolen, when a step away is no longer a loss, when indifference to the world around is no longer the norm, when, in other words, their love is threatened, we have:
Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Floods. Plagues. Killing sprees. Killer bees.
They do not know about it. Few people do. It has taken years of data processing, number crunching and statistical milking to come to this conclusion.
There are the ordinary squabbles. He complains about her talking too much: a church collapses. She makes a remark about him watching some other girl: a ferry sinks. He tells her to hurry up in the bathroom: meningitis strikes a kindergarten. She catches him with a porn mag: rioters take to the streets.
And then there are the big fights, the ones that end up in genocides and full-scale wars.
You can't make people happy against their will, let alone love each other. We cannot tell them the truth, because the mere burden of the responsibility would shatter them. We have pledged, however, that these two will never come apart.
We have put them under constant surveillance, both through electronic devices and through a complete network of neighbours, shopkeepers, colleagues and friends who double as competent psychologists. These not only provide us with daily reports, but are also entitled to offer them advice whenever we feel that we have a beginning of a situation.
- Don't take it bad, honey, he's just a man. Take my Alfred, for instance, he's been snoring for years and refuses to do something about it. But I still love him.
Attractive people are, of course, the bigger threat. Strict instructions have been given about this. Anyone good-looking seen in their vicinity is immediately driven off, by cunning or by force if necessary. The one we do allow, to keep the appearance of verisimilitude, are the targets of unrelenting slander from their neighbours and friends.
- You see that girl Janice, I know you think she's cute, but believe me, she's a mean bitch. She hates small men like you anyway.
We cannot prevent their small fights. We cannot advert the local wars. It's a containment strategy, with its hits and misses. Our main concern, though, is that there are many other couples like them that we have not been able to