Ding ding ding, the Sally jumped at the sound of her dessert spoon carefully tapping her wineglass. She felt a bit naked in her electric blue dress, but it wasn’t the cleavage that gave her that feeling, it was that about 150 pairs of eyes were suddenly staring at her.
Sally bit her lips. This was new for her, up to now she had avoided speaking at birthdays, weddings and funerals. Today, was a first. Her eyes scanned the room, everyone seemed to have been frozen, as if they were the cast of sleeping beauty, forks were in mid-air, mouths were filled with food, but had stopped to move. Even the young woman in the pink dress had not regained her position which was hinting at a laughing fit.
Under her breath, Sally muttered, “let’s do this”. She cleared her throat.
“Hello everyone, before I start, please feel free to continue eating! No need to turn into statues that could be unearthed in Pompei, we here to celebrate!”
The room erupted in laughter.
“So, this is the very first time that I am giving a speech at such an important event! But one isn’t a witness to a marriage every day, thus erm I am going to tell you guys a story.”
“Dear Aaron, I remember when I first brought you home. You were the new kid in town, and so mega sexy. All girls must have had a crush on you!”
Again the room was laughing and Sally saw many people nodding.
“You moved differently than all the other boys, you were respectful and knew how to make compliments! I well was in love! At least I had a massive crush on you and my friends and I had already had a fight or two over who should be the first one to send you a love letter. You were beautiful and popular!
“We had to do a science project, and we had been split into groups by our teacher. I am sure all girls were praying to be with you, Aaron. I was the lucky one!
“Dad, was not too happy when he opened the door for you, I must have been standing behind him giggling like all 16-year-olds do. He mustered you from head to toe and said:
“‘Young man, don’t you dare touch my daughter!’ he then added, ‘actually don’t even look at her!’ And let me take you into the living room, he wouldn’t risk hormonal teenagers go into my room. Well, I do recall that when I managed to be without parental surveillance I tried to send you the signs to tell you that I was attracted by you, you just did not care. I pecked you on the cheek that evening when you left. My heart was pounding when I closed the door behind you and I was scarlet red.”
Sally felt the colour of her face changing. She had never told anyone about this episode, talking in front of the 150 something guests was like therapy.
“You were definitely as red as a tomato!” Josh interjected.
“With my pounding heart and my red face, I leaned against the door that I had just closed behind you, Aaron and a minute later, you, Josh showed up and surprised me a bit. I think you asked who you had just crossed coming out of the house and then asked me if I was alright. I was a bit embarrassed and just mumbled something about a science project.
“Dinner that night was strange, dad told mom about my ‘male visitor’ and he had noted the way in which I had looked at you. Then he suddenly came to a conclusion that made my heart ache: ‘from my observation, I think he’s not wired completely the same way as most young men his age are’ he winked at mom. A wink that did not go unnoticed, especially not by Josh.”
Sally glanced over at her dad, who was looking at his hands in embarrassment.
“Don’t worry dad, we all knew that you were tolerant!”
“Do I need to tell you? Aaron and I started doing a lot of projects together. It was lovely to work with him, but I quickly figured that dad was right and he just wasn’t interested in girls. He had changed schools, as his coming out had led to a lot of bullying in his previous school. But what am I telling you? I think many of you already know that…
“Aaron, you quickly became a regular at my place, you were just never around when my older brother was at home. I got along with you far more than with any of my friends, no talks about makeup, but well you did mention the cute boy here and there. My parents accepted you and your differences surprisingly quickly, you must have reminded them of someone else.
“One day, you, my older brother, Josh announced that you were gay. If I remember correctly, you said that now was the right time, and you wanted us your family to know before someone at school would be outing you. The rumours had started to spread and you wanted our support.
“I do recall dad’s face, that just fell. He had just accepted my new friend Aaron, but he wasn’t ready for his son’s outing. Mom had known, it wasn’t a surprise for her, dad had suspected it. And I?”
Sally cleared her throat.
“Well, I had an idea. And looking at today’s event, it’s been my best idea so far.”
She giggled a bit but quickly regained composure.
“I made sure that Josh met Aaron. I asked Josh when he could help one of my friends and myself with some difficulties we had in maths. I invited Aaron over so that we could study for our math exam. I am sure, I was the only one in the room who actually needed help for that exam.
“When the doorbell rang it was you Josh, who opened the door, and your eyes met with Aaron’s and the rest is history.
“It was love at first sight! It felt like a movie.
“Today, after more than 12 years of being together, you two have tied the knot. You respective families are here to celebrate with you. You have so many friends from all walks of life join you.
“I am so happy to be here with you, Aaron, my best friend, and Josh my big brother.”
Sally raised her glass and called into the room: ” To Josh and Aaron! To Aaron and Josh!”