Of course I was invited to the wedding. I was the groom’s
brother. And the best man. I prepared and gave a toast at the rehearsal dinner,
never realizing that tradition dictated it should be delivered at the reception
following the wedding. Still the toast was OK, even admired. The proper toast,
after the wedding, composed on the fly and greased by too many drinks, was empty.
Nobody would have missed it. But others wanted to toast the newlyweds and
wanted me to start, and silence would have seemed strange from the best man. No
matter. I could have survived that humiliation. It was the dance that murdered
me, when REM’s “It’s the end of the world as we know it” played and my younger brother
joined his childhood friend on the dance floor and in joy they leapt and
slammed into each other and laughed. I watched from my perch near the wall,
wishing for all the world that it was me out there leaping with him.