The more I think about it the more monumental it seems. With one simple act my brother has physically redefined my sense of family. I never thought anything of marriage or weddings. Never pondered what the significance of what one in my immediate family might be, until last night. My brother telephoned to tell me he asked his girlfriend to marry him. I shouted a long stream of joyful words for some minutes before uttering the hushed question, "She said yes, didn't she?"
Yes, was the answer. For the next hour I found myself in a round of telephone conversations. I spoke to all the parents, my brother, my future sister-in-law and my mother again. I asked genuine questions about the ring, the proposal, the state of happiness of every family member. Half an hour into the telephonic bonanza I paused to consider my own feelings. My initial rush of joy was fading.
What it faded into is unclear but for one thing. From the wedding day on it's going to be them, an official unit. It used to be us, me and my brother, just the two of us, for all of his life up until now.*
It's a strange feeling to be simultaneously joyful for the pair of them and unclear about me. I'm not suggesting that marriage diminishes existing relationship but it does redefine a thing or two. For example if it was me and his wife in a burning building my bet is on him first saving his wife. That's probably a bad example, its not even skimming the right feeling. It feels more like someone took off my training wheels and pushed me and my wheeled contraption of an identity out into the street, alone.
For now I'm running with the theory that the burning building scenario is unlikely to happen and the three of us can share years and dinners, hanging out, Christmases and the occasional disagreement. I might even be looking forward to it.
* With the following exceptions:
1. In his first year of high school if he say me walking up to him and his friends he would say "That's my crazy sister, let's go.", and then run away.
2. A psycho ex-girlfriend we all called Fuck Face - first name Fuck last name Face, caused a temporary schism in the scheme of things.
3. In primary school when he figured out he was better at tennis than me and spent every tennis match hitting the ball as hard as he could, straight at my head, and winning every game.
4. There's more but sometimes it is better to finish a list than to continue.