Twenty one was young to get married. That was what everyone said. They’d only just finished university; Imogen was going to train to be an English teacher, and Jonny was determined to get a job campaigning or raising funds for a charity. He hadn’t decided which one- he supported many different causes, and would be happy to work for any of them, just so long as it was a charity. That was apparently the only employer he would consider, since he refused to work in the private sector or for the government. Strangely, while he looked for his ideal job, he had no hesitation getting paid for waiting tables in a restaurant. ‘Money isn’t really real,’ he said. ‘Sometimes you have to play the game, but if you don’t use it the way they want you to, then you’re still following your own rules.’
Two weeks before the wedding they went camping, even though there was still lots of planning to be done and they could barely spare the time. They sat outside their tent while the stars came out and Imogen said, ‘do you think we’re too young to get married?’ She didn’t look at Jonny and made a show of stretching out her legs and seeming casual.
‘No,’ he said. ‘Do you?’
‘Other people think we are.’
Jonny laughed. ‘Other people can say what they want. I know my own mind. Don’t you?’
Imogen smiled. ‘I guess,’ she said, ‘but not the way you know yours.’
‘Why do people think we’re too young?’
Imogen waggled her toes in the cool breeze. It was getting a bit chilly to still be outside in shorts. She began to wish she hadn’t brought this up.
‘I don’t know,’ she said, ‘but… people say you should have fun while you’re young, don’t they? That you should… you know… have lots of different experiences…’
‘You mean fuck lots of different people?’ Jonny asked.
Imogen’s cheeks turned pink. ‘I’m not saying I want to-’
‘People are obsessed with things being new,’ Jonny said, ‘if you only care about being with someone new all the time you’re never going to be happy, because new things don’t stay new. I’m not interested in having sex with anyone else now I’ve found you.’
Imogen nodded. She felt awful for starting this conversation. She felt she’d let Jonny down, and it wasn’t that she was even genuinely worried, people’s attitudes just confused her, that was all.
Jonny gave her a one-armed hug. He didn’t seem to be angry. ‘Surely you don’t think we’ve already done everything together that we’re going to do?’ he said, giving her a squeeze, ‘believe me, we’ve barely even started yet.’
Imogen snuggled against his shoulder. She wasn’t sure if he was talking exclusively about sex now or about their lives in general, but it didn’t really matter. Either way, she knew he was right, and she couldn’t wait for the rest of their lives to begin.