Amidst the hectic book schedule, we managed to make our way out to the botanical gardens. Four years ago, Cynthia and Greg got married there. They had a costume wedding and many of the attendees were dressed up like fairies, (even the preacher had a wolf tail). Needless to say, it was quite an event to see. Today we came back to the botanical gardens to walk down the paths and remember and celebrate their anniversary.
For me, it wasn't just an anniversary for them. In a way, it was an anniversary for myself as well. It was the anniversary of a turning point in my life. You see, things weren't always how they are now. Four years ago, I was a very different person. If you would have asked me where I envisioned myself now, I imagine that it would have been vastly different from the reality of the current circumstances. I probably would have said something about finishing grad school, or mentioned where my solo shows would be, or even if I was going to summer in the Hamptons or the Berkshires. I probably wouldn't have mentioned my family, as at that time we were some what estranged from one another. Sure, we kept up with one another through our parents, but the relationship I had with my siblings was barely there. We were simply living different lives and going down paths that didn't cross much. My focus was on my art, my career, my spirit, my goals, and getting ahead and trying to live it up in New York City.
As bad as this sounds, I almost didn't go to the wedding. Cynthia's wedding fell on Halloween weekend and my social calendar was full. If I went, I'd be missing some of the most extravagant parties of the year. (Remember, at that time, it had been years since I had last saw either of my sisters.) But a combination of parental pressure, curiosity to see the new baby, and a date backing out culminated in me going after all. (That and if I hurried back, I could still go out and celebrate in the City Halloween Night!)
Two unexpected things happened. Firstly, I fell in love. Seeing Azalea melted my heart. She was so little and fragile and cute. I was afraid to hold her. Instead I sat by her crib and stared at her little smiling face. The second thing that happened was that I gained a brother. 18 years ago now, my brother Dwayne left us and hasn't returned. We don't know where he is. We don't know if he's alive or dead. We don't know anything about what happened to him. When he left, a void opened up - an empty space I don't think will ever really be filled, but for the first time in a long time, it came close. Greg became like the brother I lost so many years ago.
Today is the anniversary of me discovering something more important than just me on my own: My Family.