Friday, March 03, 2006
When a sister got married recently, her absence left a blankness few of us were familiar with. It felt like a loss, not the victory we were used to in this family of males. People always came, no one ever left. It felt generous. When families are large and close, there is warmth and variety and giving. It is a club to which you have gained admission, and we feel large-hearted for accepting without judgment (mostly). But how can this feeling be extended to loss? Now, like a new word that you suddenly notice everywhere, there are sisters all around, only a few years away from leaving. There will be gains as well, for a generation of boys are becoming men, but these defeats are not easy to forget. We are suddenly minus one, and the realignment of family takes a long time – time we want nothing to do with, time we don’t want to know of. This endearing bunch of embarrassing nicknames will be elsewhere, and change will affect them in more ways than just by name. These walking targets will move out of range, leaving their brothers lost and pining for them.