Which means my family gets a new level and I get a new relative to rarely see.
This is confirmation that my brother has grown up. Any hope of rekindling that childish brotherly relationship we once had is gone. We will never again stay up all night playing Tekken and eating the kinds of things that I'm afraid to eat now because they'll make me fat. He has his own family. And although I'm happy for him, it's sad.
What's sadder is that I can no longer pretend that my brother is not sexually active. I can't pretend he's saving himself for marriage even though he's been in a relationship with the same woman since he was seventeen and is now twenty-five. I shudder as images of their sweaty naked bodies enter my head.
The worst part is that I didn't hear it from him. As far as any of my family are aware I don't even know. I was informed by his girlfriend's drunk younger brother who I happened to encounter two weeks ago in a club.
'We're gonna be uncles!'
'Wait. What? [Redacted]'s pregnant?!'
'You didn't know?!'
I brought this whole ordeal up with a friend who suggested the possibility that they're trying to avoid telling people because allegedly most miscarriages happen before three months. That's probably it. They want to protect me from the disappointment of a miscarriage. It's nothing to do with the vast and perennially growing void between me and my brother.
I'm not sure of which relatives know. There's a possibility that I haven't been informed for fear that I might share that information with my mother. My relationship with her isn't great. But the one between my brother and her is non-existent. He's probably already dreading the day when his son or daughter asks about his or her grandmother. She'll be crushed when she inevitably learns that she has a grandchild whose father wants her to have nothing to do with it.
I'm worried about the prospects of being made Godfather. I realise that probably (almost definitely) won't happen and that there are a lot of other family members and friends that would be justifiably considered ahead of me. But what if my brother makes a horrible decision, on par with having unprotected sex? Five years pass. The three of them are happy. The parents have gotten their shit together and the kid is about to start school. Disaster strikes. Drunk driver on the wrong side of the road. The two front occupants perish. The passenger in the back seat makes it out alive. And I have to fucking take care of it. My life becomes a sitcom.
Being an optimist, I've managed to find something that isn't terrible about this.
I have zero interest in ever producing offspring. There are too many things I want to do with my life for me to want children which will get in the way of those things. There's a certain expectation though, which exists in Irish society, where you are supposed to not want to lead a free and independent life but must commit yourself to other people and allow that to be a central aspect in how you identify yourself. My brother conforming to these societal expectations alleviates some of the pressure which which might be placed on me by my family to do that. I could now be relieved of the responsibility associated with continuing the bloodline and carrying on the family name.
Also, I genuinely believe that my brother and his girlfriend will make excellent parents.