post-engagement tweaks in our relationship were small, but significant.
I moved to Chicago for grad school and we maintained our best friendmanship
via phone calls and emails, but now talk of music, family, and jobs
was occasionally infused with mentions of churches and reception
halls. An extra week or two came between our conversations, and
often Andrea would yell in the background, "Hi Molly!"
To which I would say back, "Tell her I said hi," and Youssef
always would. I pictured them cooking dinner together, whipping
up a gourmet Pad Thai while we talked on the phone and the image
in my mind helped me hear the way his voice was steady, ready for
the calm and stability of settling down. I understood. Kind of.
Finally, a year and a half after the engagement, I was handing my
ticket to the Northwest Airlines agent, boarding a plane bound from
my current home of Chicago to our hometown of Minneapolis, my best
friend's wedding invitation tucked neatly in my purse.
tears started mid-flight. I was staring at the clouds below and
thinking, "Holy shit. Youssef is getting married!" In
the car on the way to help him with the place cards, on the way
home from picking up my dress from the dry cleaners, to and from
the rehearsal dinner, every time I thought about Youssef getting
married, I started to bawl.
I bet you're expecting a tale about how I realized I was truly in
love with him and decided to totally sabotage the wedding by spreading
rumors between the bride and groom, sending fake emails and then
ultimately cornering Youssef and saying, "choose me, marry
me," then stealing a bread van to try and get them back together
after I ultimately realized how selfish I'd been. But no, I didn't
pull a Julia Roberts in My Best Friend's Wedding, and THANK
GOD because I don't know how that woman even showed her face at
our relationship was definitely going to undergo a makeover.
Plan B was officially off the market. I saw myself at eighty, clipping
coupons while surrounded by my creepy porcelain doll collection,
eating ice cream on the couch, never having lived with anyone, never
having had kids, going through the next hundred painful breakups
without the cushion of Youssef making it all a little more bearable.
got my tears under control on the way to the wedding, as I'd spent
a lot of time on my eye makeup. I went to say hi to Andrea as she
was getting ready.
turned away from the mirror where she was straightening her veil.
"Have you seen him? How is he doing?"
about how I'd hung out with Youssef a few minutes earlier and he
was all smiles. He was like this enormous ball of energy and couldn't
stop hugging me and was pretty much skipping from car to bathroom
bouncing off the walls," I said. "I've never seen him
so excited." She teared up, then quickly started fanning her
eyes to preserve her mascara. "Oh my gosh, he is? Really? That
makes me so happy!"
that was a Plan A reaction. And my best friend was going
to be with his Plan A! He found her. All this Plan B stuff suddenly
seemed ridiculous because how could I have wanted anything less
than a Plan A for my bestie? I wouldn't want him to end up with
me, even if we were both old and lonely, because I would never tear
up after hearing something like that about him.
in the second row, holding my reading (NOT the Corinthians stuff,
thank you) and as I watched Youssef I knew that our relationship
was just headed to the next phase. That phase that involves wives
and husbands and kids and careers and moving and settling down;
which is probably the most exciting thing to happen to our friendship.
To take our relationship through the different levels of life is
going to be an adventure and he is my clear-cut, no-doubt-about-it
Plan A for that. And you know what? He'll still be there for me
at the end of a hundred horrible break-ups, making it all bearable.
But now Andrea will be there too.
just as that Duh-Duh-Duh-Duh began, Youssef looked right over at
me, smiled and winked. Then he looked towards the entrance of the
church as the doors opened, and Andrea started walking down the
aisle. He stood up straighter, this enormous smile spread across
his face and I saw tears shining in his eyes. And I got that absolutely,
unbelievably happy feeling, where my heart is like, taking up
my whole chest and I got this like, fizziness in my nose and I could
burst into tears at any moment out of pure joy because I'm one of
those happy and sad criers and my mind just stopped to take
a picture of everything about that moment.
version for easy reading
material is copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission|