As one of the matrons of honor in my friend Kristen’s wedding, I gave a toast. Those who know me well (or those who were in the same classes as me in school) know that I loathe public speaking. There’s a famous quotation out there about people fearing public speaking more than death. While I wouldn’t go that far, my pulse definitely spikes and my legs start trembling about 10 minutes before I get up in front of the crowd.
Due to that, and also due to my feeling that toasts tend to go on longer than they should, I kept it short and sweet. Much shorter than I planned, actually, as I felt myself heading into the “sobbing and babbling” territory of the toast much more quickly than I expected and cut it off early, ending with something like, “She’s the sweetest girl I know, so Richard, treat her right or I’ll kill you.”
So here’s what I would’ve said if I had endless time, and more emotional fortitude.
Kristen held me together more times than I can count. She let me sob for endless hours on the couch next to her, about some boy that she didn’t even think I should’ve dated in the first place, and never once told me “I told you so.” Years later, when I was sobbing about a totally different boy on the phone, she said, “I’m sorry, I really can’t help you with your junk right this second because I’ve got junk of my own. Can we talk about mine for a few minutes?” I just about died laughing, and it pulled me out of my multi-day funk. Everyone needs a good friend who will call them out every once in awhile, one who knows when to be honest and when to silently be there as a shoulder to cry on. Kristen’s mine.
She singlehandedly got me through Accounting 327, which allowed me to become an accountant. I’m not sure if I should thank her for that or not, but seeing as I met my husband in our upper-level accounting classes, I’m going to say it was a good thing.
When I had a completely fried brain and couldn’t study any longer, she set her books aside as well and went on a journey with me to jump into every. single. fountain on A&M’s campus at 3 am. Why? Who knows. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
After we graduated, I was afraid that we’d lose touch, since I was moving to Dallas to join the CPA world and she was moving to San Antonio to attend dental school. But despite our different lives, Kristen always found time to talk, to try to explain complicated dental stuff to me while I whined about my lack of a social life as Big 4 staff. She managed to come to my bachelorette party even though she had just completed dental school and probably would have liked to sleep for a few weeks to recover from her final exams and boards. She came to my wedding and made me giggle endlessly while getting ready, keeping me from stressing out.
When I moved to Budapest, she was one of my first Skype dates, and she regularly sends me little e-mails to let me know she’s thinking of me. Every time I see her name pop up in my inbox, I smile.
I love you, sweet friend. You made a beautiful bride, and I am so, so happy for you.