He used to eat raw oatmeal out of the packet, wear his
giant jeans rolled up to his knees, and go to bed dressed head to toe, even wearing his shoes, so he could sleep that extra five minutes. He once
chased me with a hammer, screaming "Smell my fart!" and it was
exactly as awful and completely hilarious as you’d think. He is my baby
brother, and my baby brother is now so handsome and grown up–an executive
pastry chef and a husband.
The day started at 6 in the morning with makeup, then running laps around the hallways of the hotel, looking for money and keys and some person
to tell something and breakfast and coffee and back for touch-ups and hair
and pictures and a furtive cigarette out by the pool and pressing the dress and
being asked "Are you going to press your dress?" and indignation
because it was fine except after Aunt Betty gets ahold of it with her iron, it is
returned in pristine condition and maybe you just don’t know how to iron, and
arranging for rides, and rearranging, and rearranging again, and ducking in to
make sure the bride’s head, which seems on the verge of exploding, has not yet
exploded. Then running into the groom in the hall, and realizing he has never in his
life been this nervous, and that it might be a romantic dual-head explosion.
Arriving at the venue–a beautiful Victorian mansion. Cringing at the
video camera–a video camera! No one said there’d be a video camera! Oh, holy hell.
Trying to act natural but realizing it is completely and one hundred percent
impossible not to keep looking straight into the lens of the camera like some
kind of giant dork and knowing any reality television dreams have been cut
abruptly short. Starving. Starving to death. Sitting in a small room, all the
dresses lined up on a rack, the hem of the wedding dress trailing against the
rug, and realizing a wedding is going to happen, and happen soon, because there is the
dress and here is the bride, wringing her hands. Oh thank god, cheese. Oh thank
Disappearing into the bathroom and dressing. Emerging, one
by one, in yellow, and suddenly we are a flock of lovely birds, in lovely
plumage. Blaming the champagne for the terrible, emotional analogies, but
wallowing in the treacle. Holding tight to the arms of the chair as the bride
steps into her gown and turns to the mirror. She is nervous, but she shouldn’t
be. He loves her so much, and she is so lovely right now. Her mother holds her
hand as she steps into her yellow heels. And through all this the photographer is
quietly snapping photos of us, of the bouquets, of the room and the dress and the
moment and I am grateful because this is a moment that I am afraid to forget.
Fear, suddenly, tromping down the stairs and lining up and
being told what to do and where to go and how will I possibly remember any of
this? The groom, suddenly, in his suit, and my arms around him and he is so
nervous and I am so proud of him. "You look nice," he says to me.
"I told you the dress would work out." My speech is tucked into my bouquet, and I
want to throw up. We line up and we are marching and there is my brother at the
altar, just waiting for her, and I am arranged with the other bridesmaids and realize I’m not nervous about my reading anymore, because I want to tell them
The pastor tells us how much they are meant for each other
and their joy is palpable. You want to reach out and cut yourself a sliver
that will last you the whole of your life. They are married, racing down
the aisle, and somehow I walk a straight line despite the tears in my eyes.
We burst back into the wedding hall and then the reception
is beautiful, and here is their first dance. That is when I lose my shit
completely. I have kept it together all through the day, but now, after seeing him in his
wedding suit and how beautiful my mother looks and the yellow rose they leave
on a chair for my father and their vows and the kiss,
I start bawling, while they do a choreographed swing dance to "Accidentally In Love,"
and I couldn’t even tell you why.
I could blubber about how he is so brave, doing something he
hates in front of a hundred people, probably feeling a little stupid, a little
ridiculous, but, god, look how happy he is and look how well he is doing, so
wonderfully well, and he is laughing and just look at the way he looks at his
wife, his brand new wife who sparkles up at him as they dance. He is not my
baby brother anymore. Then I hate it, and feel a sharp stab of nostalgia for that
moment when you realize nothing stays the same, but, goddamnit, why not? And
then the flood of tears because I am goddamn proud, so unbelievably proud of
him. And then I blow my nose and laugh because I’ve become all fucking
maudlin and treacly, but you have to forgive me, because weddings, they do that