January 25, 2008

The Toss of it All

Getting married is hard.

That’s what my cousin, a teacher of 23 decked in a pearl-white wedding dress, said to me as I sat near her table during the reception. If I was younger, I would have scoffed. But as I have gone older (if not more mature), I too have realized that in marriage, as well as in other cornerstones of life, it’s pretty much the game plan.

One of the tendencies of our clan is that we tend to have families at a young age. This is especially true for the men, as I have male cousins at my age who already have two or three children of their own. And I have attended almost all of their weddings, most of which I played the role of the groomsman. There was even one time that I have caught the bride’s garter, and got the unfortunate opportunity of slipping it on some blushing girl whom I don’t even know. I still haven’t known that girl, and I have now learned to keep my hands to my pockets during the garter toss.

But the wedding was usually the fun part of it all. Being a close-knit extended family, I have occasionally spent a day or so in the houses of my newlywed cousins, and I have seen first-hand what it is to support and manage a new family. In the same way that I have often found myself in weddings, I have also been in more than often in a delivery ward, baptism fountain, a late-night rush to the pharmacy, early-morning walk to the corner store, and the day-to-day toil in earning the food of your family for that day. And sometimes I look at myself, and wonder if I too will see myself as such.

And that was the thought that popped in my mind as my cousin spoke in my ear those words. And I haven’t asked myself that question for a long time now, because marriage, nay, a relationship, is the last thing on my mind at the moment. But as my friend and fellow noodle-connoisseur Romalyn once said, the future is always uncertain.

I looked at my cousin’s face, and beneath the make-up and the weary look of preparing for the wedding all month, I saw the sparkle in her eyes and her happy smile. I looked at my recent cousin-in-law, a hulking tower of a man with a skilled hand and an affable grin, shaking the hand of my aunt and deflecting taunts from the other groomsmen across the table. I then looked back at my cousin, patted her on the shoulder, and told her that everything was going to be fine.

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