I met my friend Mel in August 1996, half a lifetime ago. It was the fall semester of our freshman year of college. Classes hadn’t started yet. We were sitting and waiting outside the modern languages office to be advised on what language courses we could register for based on our AP credits — she was registering for Spanish, I was trying to register for French but wound up in a German class instead (unrelated long story). The following week, we found out we had two classes together: art history and world literature.
Together with our other BFF, Claire, we made a great triumverate. (I wrote here several years ago about how I met them and some of our exploits together.) The three of us have stuck together long beyond the college years, and have somehow — even after 18 years of aging, growing, and changing — still stayed close. Claire was there as a bridesmaid this weekend, too, of course. In fact, we took the opportunity to recreate our wedding-day selfie from my wedding last year:
Back in college, Mel and I became friends quickly that first semester and then started rooming together after Christmas break, when my original roommate moved out in search of an off-campus apartment. Mel and I continued living together for the rest of our time in college. In fact, she’s the last person I lived with before my husband and I moved in together before our wedding.
Living with someone for four years, you get to know a lot about them. I know what her snores sound like. I know she will never, ever manage to leave the house with all the necessary items on the first try. I know what to do if she has a bad asthma attack in the middle of the night. I know she’s the kind of person you can count on for advice or just a listening ear any time you need it.
I know she’s an incredibly intelligent, quick-thinking, funny, poised, and determined person. She also has the biggest & strongest heart of anyone I know. In her job, she fights for justice for people who need someone to fight for them — people others would turn their backs on. Their lives literally depend on her work. When I think about what her job entails and how hard it is, I am just so impressed and moved by her.
For the past few years, she’s been a single mom, raising her two beautiful kids on her own. She moved with them to a new state for a fresh start for their little family, which is where she met the man she just married this past weekend. To match up to someone like Mel, you basically have to be a pretty amazing person — and Mike fits the bill. He’s hard-working and kind and funny, warm-hearted and happy and honorable.
It was such a wonderful experience to be part of their wedding — to get to stand up beside my friend of 18 years and watch as they said their vows to each other. Fine, I got a little misty, but I blame Mike. It was the look on his face when she walked in that did it to me. I fear all the photos of the ceremony will reveal me grimacing in the background as I tried not to cry too hard. Let’s hope the photographer went with a shallow depth of field there.
The weekend was wonderful (full of crisp fall weather and beautiful leaves up in Viriginia, and), full of families and friends coming together to make the wedding happen. We worked together to set things up and organize; we helped each other get ready; we combined our efforts to keep the champagne glasses full, the lipstick blotted, and the mother of the bride calm. Well, we tried, anyway. All in all, it went off without a hitch.
And now, the happy couple is off on their fabulous honeymoon and I’ve come back to reality, aka work. Speaking of which, I’d better get back to it.