I don’t know why my brother picked me to be the best man on his wedding. We were never really close anyway.
Growing up, we never really bonded, and the interaction we’ve had usually got me into trouble. The worst one was when he tried to imitate Bret Hart, a champion wrestler. He wanted to do the “pile-driver” as we were on the top step of the stairs, but he accidentally dropped me and my head hit the tip of the knife that was on the stone floor at the bottom of the stairs. Yes, the tip of the knife that was on the stone floor at the bottom of the stairs. I was rushed to the ER and even had to be given blood because I lost so much.
I remember crying a lot because of him—he took my newly bought pillows the first night I was going to use it, he took my first perfume and accidentally broke it, and when I was in college, he’d go to GCM and fill a bag of loot. Yes, he’d take my stuff without permission.
When I tell my parents about this, they’d say “Hayaan mo na yung Kuya mo, kawawa naman.”
You see, I really don’t know why my brother picked me to be the best man. Often times, what I felt for him wasn’t love, but hate, because he screwed up so much.
It took him 8 years to finish college, as it turned out he spent his supposed third year as a Physical Therapy student out of school. He used his tuition and allowance to fuel his vices, and his never-ending thirst for gadgets. Add to that, the first two years he actually spent in school yielded nothing as he only passed half his classes. My parents forgave him, and they vowed to help him get back on track.
He was sent back to the province to finish his studies, which he unfortunately didn’t do. He eloped with a girl whose background was eyebrow raising and even talked back to my father when he said “Buti na lang hindi mo nabuntis!”
“Tanga ba ako? Malamang gagamit ako ng condom!”
He was sent to an exile island by my father and forced to good by uncles who were former soldiers. Tough love.
When he finally finished college, he made problems for himself again. He impregnated his girlfriend.
Of course my parents supported him. They were really excited for another grandchild. My second nephew ever was born, and my parents paid for everything—down to his milk and diapers. They wanted to help my brother get back on his feet.
And when my brother said he wanted to get married, my parents didn’t think twice, they were so excited about how the entire thing would be. It was after all, the first wedding in the entire clan for my brother’s generation. Everything was set, and I was part of the groomsmen.
But a week before the wedding, almost sister-in-law broke up with my brother. She took their son, and flew far away from us.
I only see Enzo in pictures now, just recently, through Facebook.
My 6 year-old nephew Charlie always talks about his cousin. He looks at his toys and sometimes think of the things that he would like to give to Enzo. “Eto magugustuhan ‘to ni Wing.” Sometimes when people would ask him if has a brother, he’d say yes.
I’m not sure if my brother looks at his stuff, or his wallet like that, and remembers to give Enzo what is due.
And life goes on. I’ve graduated and landed my first job, a sister got promoted tons of times and is now being sent all over the world to train white people, another sister is now a full-time nurse in London, and my parents who have finally retired from work are now enjoying their retirement money.
But my brother is here again, knocking on our doorsteps.
I wonder why he chose me to stand beside him on Saturday, on his wedding which can be said as his second.
Why me? He has bestfriends who he had the time of his life with—they’d play race cars on Sundays, nightouts every Friday, and just about everything 20-year olds would do. Our interaction was just always about Resident Evil and Street Fighter, anyway.
Why me, Kuya? Was it because I seemed to be the most supportive, kindest sibling?
Was it because I was just a spectator in their fights when we were younger—Kuya would throw our remote control at my sisters, sisters made fun of my brother when he was dumped, they’d slap and scream at each other regularly.
Now these two sisters won’t be able to go on Saturday—one scheduled a work trip to London (I’m suspecting on purpose, so she’d miss the wedding), while the other is still in London, working.
All I could think about now are his mistakes and how he frustrated all of us, how he took things that were mine, how he made our parents age difficulty.
Maybe it was that. Maybe he chose me because I know what he went through, what he did wrong. Because I knew the shit that he did, the baggage that he still has. Maybe he’s asking for help. Maybe he’s asking for forgiveness. Maybe he thinks I’ll readily give that?
On Saturday, he will marry his girlfriend of more than two years, at the church where my parents and grandparents were married. My parents paid for everything again, and seem to be in full support. Kuya has moved out of the house, overdue, but still cause for celebration.
“Magsisimula na talaga siya sa buhay niya,” Mama said.
And because we are family, what ever may have happened in the past, we are still family. And on Saturday, I will be Kuya’s best man, because I am, because he chose me.
“Buti naman, Ma. O baka yung mga gamit ko dati sa GCM gusto niyang kuhanin. Perfect condition pa yung ref, toaster, microwave, pati yung PC ko. Support naman ako. Haha.”
“Haha. Nakuha na niya.”