My sister’s instructions were to wear a nice shirt. Something that didn’t look like I’d, “just rolled out of bed.”
I tried to set her mind at ease, assuring her I almost never roll.
That day, I left work early. I changed my shirt in traffic while I sped to the courthouse.
It was a small ordeal, I hardly remember anything except the words, “Who gives this woman away?”
I answered for the entirety of my family. They kissed. Mama cried. Everyone shook hands. And then it was over.
No party. No dance bands.
The truth is, she deserved more. A proper ceremony, a dress, photographs, a honeymoon. What she got was zilch, with a steaming side of jack-squat.
Well, I know that’s just the way life goes. I’m not complaining about it. But sometimes, I like to imagine things.
For example: let’s imagine I’m walking along a beach. I see a rusty bottle wash ashore. And, let’s say I pick the thing up and give it a good scrub.
A genie pops out.
He says in a booming voice, “I am Genie Of The Seven Seas, who hath awakened me from thy slumber?”
And I say, “It is I, Sir Sean Of The Burgundy Eighty-Nine Ford.”
“What is thy wish, little man who looks like he just rolled out of bed?”
And because I’ve waited for this moment all my life, I say, “I wish for unlimited wishes.”
He laughs. “Sorry, against the rules. Try again.”
I don’t even have to think about it. I say, “I wish my sister could have another shot at life, a normal childhood. One with a father, two cars in the garage, PTA meetings, summer vacations, a big wedding…”
“Sorry,” Genie says again. “I can’t change the past.”
I scoff, because genies always were disagreeable little pricks.
I go on, “Then, I wish she could have a chance to share such a childhood with a little girl of her own. That way she can watch a small piece of herself enjoy these things.”
“Even the PTA meetings?”
Thus, Genie crosses his arms and says some magic words, like, “Rammer jammer yellowhammer.” After which he gets sucked back into his little container. Which pleases me, because I didn’t particularly care for his little attitude.
Anyway, I know it’s only make-believe. Childhoods can’t be the way you want them. Neither can adulthoods. There’s no use pretending otherwise.
But, yesterday around lunchtime,
My wish came true.