(I know I’m late. Sorry.)
So, after a night of disturbed sleep, people shouting in front of my window, a bell, tolling the hours, and finally the sound of my mother’s coughing at 5.22, I was real tired and wide awake. But I had to get up at six anyway. I meditated, I did a primary back stretch, I did morning pages, I dressed in my really tight black jeans and frilly flowery brown top with the new bra, and applied makeup. Then I went down and had a typical German breakfast. Blah! Okay, there was tea, but of the kind where I prefer to have coffee (and I don’t like coffee at all). At breakfast I actually panicked, because I seemed to be the only member of the wedding party who hadn’t brushed her teeth and packed before breakfast. So I rushed back up, brushed, applied lipstick, packed, rushed back down, and paid for my room. On the way I met my mother. Before that I had thought everybody had left without me, leaving me stranded with no means of transportation. But then I found my parent’s car, put my meager backpack on top of their very big suitcase in the trunk, and then – my father and I waited for my mother.
Immediately I felt a sense of familiarity. When I was still living with my parents, this was the way every single family outing started. But finally my mother arrived and ‘though we were a little late, there were guests even later. We all met at my sister’s apartment and set off like a caravan with three cars. Everything was recorded on video and there were four people taking pictures.
The Standesamt (civil wedding office) actually is situated in a very lovely old part of the town house. The registrar who did the ceremony was not an inspiration, but the surroundings.
My sister was very cool and denied any signs of excitement in her or her spouse to be, though they seemed a little tense to me. Then, halfway through the ceremony, I saw this little half smile on her face. It looks as if she were coolly amused, but I know her better. It is concealing the fact that she is so moved that she might start to cry. But she didn’t (emotional outbursts are frowned upon in my family).
Afterwards there were hugs and pictures aplenty, good wishes and then my new in-laws brought out the champagne. Since my sister is working in a library facing the town hall, all the librarians came out, and we had a big impromptu reception on the town square.
There she was, my little sister, married. And I actually like my brother-in-law a lot. And she changed her name! Who would have thought! She told me, she didn’t want to have to carry around a copy of her marriage certificate at all times to be able to prove that she is related to her husband like I do. And since she had to have a name that you have to spell out frequently she’d rather spell five than nine letters.
They looked very sweet, moderately dressed up, she in pants that are no jeans, and him actually wearing a real shirt (borrowed from his father). I think the mothers were a little sad that there was so little elegance. My sister didn’t even wear makeup, since it was so hot that everything melted instantly. But all thoughts of regrets, or “We should have made this into a real wedding.” dissolved, when we saw the next couple waiting for their wedding. They were all dressed up correctly, with the white dress, three-piece-suit, everybody in evening gown and the women obviously had seen a coiffeur at seven in the morning or earlier. But they were all looking quite unhappy and uptight. So we were relieved to be maybe not as chic but a lot merrier.
After the champagne we had a little time to ourselves. This was easily the weakest point of the whole wedding. We ended up buying a household appliance with a group of six people. Later we had excellent coffee., but were not allowed to sample the excellent looking cake, because we were supposed to eat lunch half an hour later.
Then off we went to meet at my sister’s (and brother-in-laws) place once again. By the way, the members of our party who had troubles with their feet or walking in general and therefore opted to be driven by car had to walk the same distance as the members who declared themselves fit and just walked to the apartment. Needless to say, I walked. I was the only one not suffering from the heat. In fact I was the only one who started the day with a cardigan over her top, because I found it quite cool.
For the big wedding lunch we went to an organic Greek restaurant again out of town. I was delighted to see items on the menu like skordalia that you don’t get very often in Germany. The food was excellent, the service very nice. Near the end of our meal, the owner of the restaurant asked for the cause of our celebration. When we told him about the wedding, he spoke about marriage and life at length and presented them with a bottle of wine. So my sister had a speech after all, even if it was not devilvered by the bride’s father who is too shy to speak in public. When we ate, there was the long longed for thunderstorm, and finally it cooled off a bit.
After lunch we got a little wet and met once again at the apartment. There we stuffed ourselves into the living room. It was a little too small, but I was the only one sitting on the floor. We had coffee and cake. (Yeah, I know, but we’re German. Germans drink more coffee than beer. And it’s not like we were a nation of wine-drinkers.) Interestingly, nobody was really eager for the cake at that point. Might have been the luxurious three course lunch we just had eaten.
When everybody had settled down with his coffee cup, I got ready for the delivery of my personal gift. I had wanted to sing for my sister at her wedding. My options were a little limited ‘though, because I had only me and my voice, and my repertoire is suspiciously void of love songs. Especially love songs that sound good without accompaniment. So I stood up, quite nervous, discovered that wearing your really tight jeans for singing is not a good idea, and sang “Throw it away” by Abbey Lincoln. I learned that song from Rhiannon and it is very special to me. And it’s not one of those cheap and sappy love songs. It went really well, everybody was transfixed (well, apart from my parents who alternately blew their noses and coughed), ‘though I mangled the lyrics at the end. My sister even started sobbing halfway through the song, which was quite sweet, but then I started sobbing too, and it’s a little hard to sing while crying, but a seasoned singer like me can finish the song anyway.
Then cake was eaten. Of course. Then my parents left, and soon afterwards it was time for me to take the train back home. I changed back into everyday clothing, and was driven to the station through the still pouring rain.
There I was afraid that my good train karma had left me, because the train was delayed for forty minutes. When it arrived at my destination though, it was only fifteen minutes late. So all in all I was home only twenty minutes later than anticipated. It was a long day though. Not sleeping well, waking up at 5.20 and getting home at 12. The train ride was very pleasant, very calm and cool. Again I had time to think, write, read and listen to music. Heaven.
So, although the account of my sister’s wedding may sound a little mundane, it was exactly right. Everything went smooth, I met nice people, and it was a delightful, un-stressful event. And of course it was a really special occasion for me. It’s not everyday that your only sister marries. And I love her dearly and wish them well.