We’d been down that hill into the woods countless times together.
Whether it was on foot, our shoes kicking up gravel behind us, on bikes, ripping down toward the creek at breakneck speed, or on toboggans, in the winter when the steep hill was slick with snow and ice. This time, I was wearing a suit.
The clean soles of my shoes crunch through the gravel. The air is misty beneath the trees that are coated in a film of rain and glowing green. Long tracks through the dirt, carved by the falling water, threaten to snag the girls heels as we make our way down into the bush.
Someone shouts, a few of us look, we’re all smiling, the camera shutter clicks.
I think it’s this moment that I will keep coming back to in my memory of Mike and Larissa’s wedding.
I had every intention of writing about this the weekend that it happened.
That was over a month ago.
Perhaps I was just too close to it, it was all too fresh and exciting for me to put into words. Or perhaps the thoughts and emotions involved were just too big for me to grasp with my fingers.
Well, it’s been some time and I’m going to give it my best shot. I hope you all who read this blog would expect nothing less.
One of my best friends got married on October 1, and I had the honour of standing beside him as his Best Man.
Mike and I have been friends for years, nearly two decades, and trying to wrap up that sort of friendship into one story is really an insult to everything that has happened in those nearly 20 years.
We took on the Colosseum in Rome together, we survived the rocky seas of the Ionian Sea, the streets of New York City, and spent years together playing on the same hockey and baseball teams with countless losses, wins and championships to speak of.
Growing up, Mike and I didn’t go the same schools, and in high school we generally circulated with different crowds, but whenever we got together, whatever we were doing, it was almost always an adventure.
I think that’s why that bond people call friendship, the one that arises from experiences together, is so strong between us. Each experience is like a link in the chain connecting you guys, and the more you add to it the more it can sustain in terms of trials. It’s really a testament to time, and how things change.
When Mike and I first met years ago, I think we were eight or nine, maybe 10, when our dads first started coaching hockey together. At that time, we hated each other.
Looking back over all those years, and all the memories, it’s amazing to think how things in life can line up, like individual blocks in a brick road that eventually leads to where we were on October 1.
It really stretches my mind to think about how those experiences formed us growing up.
Whether it’s Mike saving me from the icy rivers of Monarch Woods, or waking me up from a Gravol induced stupor on board a cruise ship to Greece, right in the middle of a storm, or even him getting chewed out by a New York City Abercrombie and Fitch employee for videotaping the inside of the store, however minor and ridiculous that was, it played a part somehow.
The wedding was a beautiful thing. The rain held off and allowed the two to kiss for the first time as man and wife in the great outdoors, and afterward, the food and company had everyone happy.
I gave my speech, one that I had the hardest time writing. I think it was because I had so much to say and really didn’t know how to put it into words. Perhaps that’s why I’ve felt compelled to write this now.
All at once I think I wanted to tell everyone all about the ridiculous things Mike and I have done together, how our friendship has lasted years of living in different provinces, and how great of a friend he is. All at the same time while convincing people that I know in my heart that him and Larissa are meant to be together.
I don’t mean that in a cheesy, Nicholas Sparks bullshit kind of way, I mean it in the fact that I truly believe there is nobody out there that is better suited for Mike than she is.
He’s a ridiculous dude sometimes, and you can tell from the way she is with him, that she loves it. The same goes for her, and anyone who looked at Mike’s face as she made her way down that aisle, would doubt that he loves her like nothing else on earth.
I feel truly blessed to have been a part of that day. And the reason I return to that treacherous trek down the hill behind Mike’s house, one that we’ve made countless times together as kids, is because now I was walking beside the two of them, man and wife. We were laughing, talking, Mike and I were smoking cigars, and I again thought about all the times Mike and I had gone down that hill together as kids. We ran down on foot, we flew down on toboggans and we rode down on bikes. Now, we walked down as groom and best man.
All those realizations and all those thoughts appeared in my head, flashing briefly before receding. I knew they would be back, as they are right now, but at that time, I had a wedding day to enjoy.
Thanks for reading,