friday: hair and makeup in the neighborhood, for me, then family dinner—and first meeting—at our apartment, catered by our favorite brooklyn deli (eight out of ten attendees were jews). this was followed by the premiere of jeff, molly, and sam’s wedding video and our reinterpreted wedding ceremony, officiated by sam with molly as flower girl and jeff playing axl f, the only song he knows how to play on the piano. then a walk along the brooklyn promenade, a viewing of the statue of liberty and manhattan, and a nightcap at the group’s hotel.
saturday: hair and makeup at the studio, followed by sunset drinks at the lobby lounge at mandarin oriental, the bar with the best views in the city. then we went to shun lee, our favorite restaurant, with the most flattering lighting and extravagant, dragon-filled interior, packed with older women wearing heavy, perfectly-applied eye makeup; men in blazers, some of them white; plus what looked like a smith reunion. it will always be the site of my favorite people-watching, but we were mostly talking to each other, at the specially-requested best, most central table. another hotel nightcap.
sunday: bagels, lox, and various champagne concoctions at our apartment, plus a walk around the neighborhood, before everyone made plans to see each other again and said goodbye.
my father-in-law asked what i would like to call him and my mother-in-law; finished my book and even remembered what year it was published; and also remembered the name of my nail polish, which i told him years ago (“status symbol”—he thinks it’s funny, too). my mother and mother-in-law discussed their favorite topic—being jewish—and watched jeff and the kids run around. my mom said she is retiring next year and would be more than happy to take care of a grandchild. my mother-in-law said she wanted to show me off at a lunch with her friends next time we are in dallas (at neiman’s, surely). my mom’s long-term boyfriend, mike, always a stand-up guy, took lots of pictures with a real camera. my father seemed to be having fun, too, except for when he was staring off into the distance. my brother couldn’t wait to come to new york and he especially wanted to see the statue of liberty, which jeff and the kids went to visit on saturday.
shun lee is where joan didion held her daughter’s wedding reception and i made a joke, months ago, about how we all know what happened to joan didion’s daughter. that was before my brother died. marc had a toast prepared for that night, and he told me in advance the part about keith: how the weekend had been planned with him in mind, and that we would always consider him a part of this new family. i started crying, then stopped, because i couldn’t show up for the makeup artist with puffy eyes. once we got to the bar marc said that he thought giving the toast felt wrong. the best way to honor my brother, during this delicate three days, was by not saying anything at all.