My cousin’s wedding

In this memory, I am four years old. It is shortly after the successful completion of my little brother’s second heart operation. I hear that one of my elder cousins is getting married and that I will be going to their wedding with my father. My whole family have been invited, but since my brother needs to stay home after his surgery, my mother is staying behind with him.

I have never heard of such a thing as a wedding before. But I am excited about the travelling part. Since the venue is far from our town, we will be taking a bullet train. On the day of travelling, my mother dresses me in a midnight blue velvet dress. I feel over the moon with the excitement of travelling and feeling like a princess.

At the wedding, there is first a ceremony, followed by a small waiting period. While my father and I stand in the lobby, somebody offers to take a picture of us. Later, when I look at the picture, I will find myself not smiling like I normally do, but with a straight face totally acting like my imaginary princess.

When it is time for the reception, I am seated next to my father and with some other relatives at one of the round tables. My gaze is glued to the bride and her beautiful dress. I wonder why the groom – my cousin – does not wear something as gorgeous as the bride’s. She first appears in a white dress, then later, changes into a bright red dress. All the while, I am too impressed to speak anything.

Toward the end of the party, I am called by the wedding staff with another young boy similar to my age.

“Okay, little ones,” she tells us. “The bride and the groom have some gifts for you. Upon my signal, you will walk up to them and receive the gifts!”

Neither the boy nor I understand what this all means, but we both like the idea of receiving the gifts. When the staff gives us the signal, we eagerly walk up to the front stage where the bride and the groom await. The boy goes to the bride and I go to my cousin. With a kind smile, he hands me two boxes – two boxes of toys.

“One for you, one for your little brother.”

And that feels like the most natural thing in the world – a reminder that I am now a big sister even though he is not with me today.

When I open the box, a big red toy car with Mickey Mouse in the driving seat comes out. The content of the other box is exactly the same. I have never been a car person, but I love this one. I like its round shape, and besides, receiving it in such a magical setting makes this car truly meaningful.

Once I am back home, I give one to my baby brother. He is excited to have the same toy as me. Since the two cars are identical, I write my name on one and my brother’s name on the other. These two red cars will remain a reminder of my cousin’s wedding for years to come.