When Kendelyn asked me to be her maid of honor, she made it clear: “I think you’ll write the best speech.” Now, Kendelyn, that’s a lot of pressure to put on a girl. To tease her like that with your words. To make her feel obligated to create written awesomeness that can translate into spoken; to collect tears with the flip of a sentence, then in the next, make that crowd laugh even a little. Oh, Kendelyn, you chose the right girl. I love to write things that are the best. Cue speech:
|Photo of moi taken by Tony Santacaterina (c) 2011
The MOH Speech
Read out loud on May 12, 2011 to the most beautiful of brides.
I’ve started this speech over and over, trying so hard to avoid the cliché poetry, the silly rhymes, the cheesy praise of Kendelyn’s sweet personality, beauty, tendency to keep me grounded and sane. I started one version of this speech with a short joke. The fact that I used to be shorter than Kendelyn, and maybe something about the size of her heart being exponentially larger than the size of her body, which you now see stunning the room in that gorgeous white dress. Another version talked about the boys of our past. How she used to listen intently as I complained about one boy to the next, broken heart after broken heart, comforting hug after comforting hug (I still do it now).
In middle school, Kendelyn’s house was a second home. Her fridge, my fridge (sorry, Marla, I was always hungry). Her bed, mine (sorry, Scott, she was definitely mine first). Her house was always an adventure. I remember playing Twister and falling to the floor, hide and seek, sneaking popsicles from the freezer (or maybe that was just me). I remember her mom walking in surprised to see that we were still up at 3 a.m. Us giggling because we were so out-of-it from staying up so late.
I remember high school, and when she moved to Weston. I remember crying because she wasn’t in Miami, then seeing her often because my grandparents had moved into the same neighborhood. I remember Sunflower Circle. I remember the last sleepover we had at my grandparent’s house. How we fell asleep talking to each other, not knowing what the future would bring. Not yet knowing I would move to Boston, or that there was a Scott out there for her to love.
And at her house, I remember music. Eve 6 and All American Rejects. “Think Twice” and “Swing, Swing.” They were songs of our youth and our angst, and despite some of the emo lyrics, they were songs we sang together, out of tune and out loud. We talked through those nights, staying up too late until Nikon fell asleep across our legs like a heavy blanket.
The thing about Kendelyn that makes me honored to be standing before you today, is that she’s been there for me through all of it—the times when I felt like I was drowning—so for once I’m so glad to finally be able to be there for her. Even when she was living an hour and a half away in Connecticut just recently, she made sure we saw each other, my favorite moments involving fireworks being watched from a Connecticut parking lot, or a mystical stack of Legos in what I thought was the middle of nowhere.
And of course we’ve had our inside jokes. Luke Sayers. She being the minkey to my moinkey (please, don’t ask). My absolute love of dogs. And when I needed advice, she always gave it. No jokes at that point. All attention, sympathy, and love.
Speaking of love, Kendelyn is the expert. Since I’ve known her, she’s proved to me and to others that in order to make a relationship truly successful, you must put your heart, your time, your sacrifice toward one ultimate goal: to be happy with the one you love. To spend the rest of your life with them no matter the distance, no matter the struggle. I do really need to learn how to find a man on a cruise and keep him like she did.
She’s taught me that as long as we’re with the one we love, the location is simply the background of a movie. A setting. A prop. The real film is in the romance between Kendelyn and Scott. A romance I am both jealous and envious of, because their happiness makes me want to be as happy.
Kendelyn’s always been an optimist; she’s always faithful, always kind (I can’t speak for her sisters. Sibling rivalry can be hell). But she’s the reason I still have hope in love.
I’m going to end with something that I wrote on June 2, 2003 (so I was 15?) in a personal essay titled, Short and Spunky: The Quintessential “Best” Friend. Please excuse how bad it is, Kendelyn. I was not yet the prolific writer:
“With her small size and unique personality I always know why she’s so great, not just because she shares the unusual qualities I possess, but because she admires me for the fact that I have them. She makes me feel meaningful in life, and isn’t that what friendship is all about? Isn’t that why “best” friends exist? Isn’t that why we can be there in spirit?…Just wait, in fifteen years I’ll still be talking to my four foot nine friend and laughing saying, ‘I’m there with you buddy, I’ll always be there with you.'”
And now that it’s 8 years later, we’re more than halfway there. To my best friend. To the bride. To Kendelyn. I love you.