The night before the wedding, I wrote a toast and asked Jaym (maid of honor; Blake's sister) if there'd be time for me to share it. She said yes, of course, and so I did.
Without further ado, to my beloved Blake and her beloved Michael:
A few days later we sat cross-legged on your living room floor covered in papers as we assembled a binder to tell “next year’s people” all the best ways to run the event. That night, your mom asked us if we needed anything and I told her I’d like a vodka with cranberry, please, and she said “WHAT?!?” and we all busted up laughing. I still ask her for one every time we’re together, and I’ve still never had one, but I tell everyone it’s my favorite drink. No one has any clue where that even came from.
Senior year we did a bit better. We organized the blowing up of a thousand helium balloons for our small-town senior homecoming float, and then you curled my hair and we wore almost matching bubblegum pink dresses. I set you up with my boyfriend’s cousin, who ended up being a TOTAL DUD, but you were a TOTAL STUD and stuck the whole night out with us just so I’d have a friend. You’ve always been the best true blue friend around.
You buttoned my dress for senior prom, and you were a prom princess. I wanted to be green with envy but I just couldn’t possibly be because you were so gosh dang beautiful and deserved that sash more than any girl in the entire school.
We rafted and camped and rappelled and jumped off bridges together. We spent days and days at the lake, our hair blowing in the wind as we tanned in the back of a ski boat. I’d show up at your house without knocking and change clothes in your driveway, and your mom would always give me heck for all that stuff…and she still does.
The summer after senior year I went through a heart-wrenching breakup and called you to ask if I could book a next-week ticket to Vermont. You told me you had no beds or furniture in the house but YES I COULD COME, and so I spent half my summer earnings and bought a plane ticket. We stayed in our pajamas for a week and slept on air mattresses and ate an entire family-sized bag of Captain Crunch with berries and watched two whole seasons of Gilmore Girls and gave ourselves face masks with cucumbers on our eyes. It was a true blue friend thing. You’re so good at those. The next year, I sent you a box of captain crunch and a loaf of zucchini bread for your birthday because I couldn’t think of a more appropriate gift to send.
We backpacked Europe together and have pictures in Hallstatt, Austria, Alps towering in the background; in Cadiz, doing cartwheels on the beach; at a Belgian flea market with overloaded backpacks buckled around our waists; in front of the Eiffel tower as it shimmered on the hour; eating banana-nutella crepes at a Parisian market; holding a cheap bottle of white wine—that one comes with a good story—and one on a train holding tickets to some foreign country.
We almost got stuck in a train station during street riots in Madrid, but you said “I think I know a lady who might be our ticket out,” and you called Katherine and she drove all night through the mountains and we hopped on the last train out of the station and got off on a stop in the middle of nowhere and THERE SHE WAS to rescue us. She whisked us over the mountains and into France and gave us a room and a bed in her house and treated us like queens. You and I nearly killed each other when we were stuck in that station with seemingly no way out of the country, but we didn’t, and that’s a good thing because Michael needed you to come home!
When we were in Cadiz, you started skyping this “cute guy” you had met just before flying to meet me. You told me you met him at McDonald’s and thought you might marry him. We were eighteen with backpacks on and French pastries in hand, walking down the Champs d’ Elysses a few days later, and I rolled my eyes and told you “yeah, whatever, okay” but you told me you were serious, and I told you it was a fun thought. Guess I should have believed you then! Blake Marie, you’ve always been true to your word—and Michael got the best end of that character quality this time around.
It’s been just over three years since that day, and your sailor is back from sea and just took you to be his wife for as long as you both shall live. Michael, thank you for loving this girl we love so well. Blake—you picked a good one. I cannot wait to watch your together-life unfold, and I thank God you’re my best Duo friend. I love you!
To Blake and Michael, Forever Karas: CHEERS!