TANDY VERSYP Staff Writer
Last Friday, my sister Gina called me. I rolled over in my bed and groggily answered, “Hey.”
“Alex and I are getting married on Oct. 25.”
“Have you told Mom and Pop yet?”
“No. Tomorrow at dinner with Alex.”
“Mom is going to cry,” I replied.
Two days later, my sister called again. “You were right. She cried.”
This is going to be my sister’s second marriage. The first was a shotgun wedding to a wangster loser named Paul. He liked to show his affection through black eyes and insults. One day they were having an argument, and the shouts woke up her newborn, Marianna. Gina tried to go into the nursery to quiet the baby, but Paul wouldn’t let her. He stood in the way. That’s when she left.
“Pop only asked Alex two questions: ‘How old are you,’ and ‘How is your credit?’” Gina laughed. My parents had never met Alex before.
“I bet it was a very quiet dinner,” I commented.
“Yes,” she answered through tight lips.
When my brash and sensitive older brother Hollis met Alex, he pulled him aside and gave him the if-you-ever-hurt-her-I’ll-kill-you speech. To which Alex replied without hesitation, “OK.” That was enough for me.
But not for my mother. She asked him if he knew what he was getting into. Before he could answer, Mom made a list: two children, an unstable ex-husband and a commitment for his entire life. Again, Alex decisively answered, “Yes.”
Gina hadn’t always planned to marry Mr. Alex. A few months ago, they had stopped seeing each other. My sister was watching a movie with my other brother Zane and complaining about how her love life wasn’t fulfilling. Zane quickly chimed, “That’s because you always date douche bags.”
“What about Alex?” Gina asked. “He wasn’t a douche bag.”
“Yeah, and as soon as you found out he wasn’t, you dumped him.”
She called Alex the next day. And now, over the phone, Gina went on to explain her plans for moving to another city, Cailey’s excitement over a new anti-Paul daddy, her new job and her engagement ring. Her resolute tone told me everything was going to be OK.
I hung up and immediately played Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up.” And I cried. Really cried. I threw my glasses across the room, fell to my knees, and shook like a damn animal. I wasn’t sad, but proud – of my brothers, of my parents, of the fundamental idea that there’s still room in the world for love. I mostly cried for my sister. She’s a college-educated mother of two in love with a worthy man. Happiness was never out of reach for her.
So, I listened to the words of Curtis Mayfield, “Hush now child, and don’t you cry/Your folks might understand by and by/Just move on up/Toward your destination/Though you may find, time to time, complications/Move on up and keep on wishin’.” Maybe I’ll get her to play it at the wedding reception.