Maya Reid (New Jersey)
My Best Friend's Wedding
When all our friends and family have settled down,
and even your not-a-baby-anymore sister has turned to look at me, expectantly,
I’ll stand, smooth out the wrinkles in my just-classy-enough-to-not-be-skanky dress, and
clear my throat, preparing to ignore them all and speak directly to you.
Speak now, or forever hold your peace, right?
I’ll tell you that when I first met you, too long ago for me to remember exactly when,
I didn’t imagine there’d even be a you and I, let alone that we
would share so strong a bond we’d challenge customs, you giving me the title:
Best Woman. I’ll make some tired old joke about how that’s all over now that I’ve been bested.
Not that this was a contest—I entered this race knowing I’d never win. I just wanted to be close to you for as long as I could.
I’m sure I’ll tell them that I’ve never seen you this happy.
Inside I’ll be wondering whether or not that was a lie.
I’ll look towards my right, at the one holding your hand, and after everything, I still won’t be able to tell do I want that to be me?
What I will say is that I’ll give him away if I have to, but on one condition:
She must take better care of you than I have. Depending on how much wine/champagne/whatever-the- hell-the-waiters-have-been-carrying-around I’ve had, I’ll speak the truth:
I’ll say, and I quote, “This man right here is the love of my life. If you hurt him, sleep with one eye open—I know where you lie at night.”
She’ll think I was joking.
You’ll think back to those nights in my kitchen, where I turned against my brother to protect my mother’s “other son, ” to who rode shotgun and made you get out of the car to leave your first love letter, to who made the family wait to decorate til you were off from work, so you could do the star. You’ll look at me and know I wasn’t.
You’ll look at me and I’ll feel bold enough to keep going…
I’ll conjure up memories of all those times when it was just you and me, alone but for one another, us against the world,
when Mr. Seigel asked me if any degrees of separation were allowed between us, and I told him firmly, “No.”,
every time some blissfully ignorant stranger referred to us as the “lovebirds”, “such a cute couple”,
how we laughed them off me sometimes wishing they were right.
I’ll tell them the story of the night I realized you were ridiculously in love,
rather than just plain ridiculous. How you readily admitted it.
I’ll bite my lip, wondering if now I can say that forbidden word: jealous. Or if that’s not right, then just lonely at the thought of losing you.
I’ll laugh a laugh that’s half a sigh, take another sip of my wine or whatever, and tell them that I still think you’re ridiculous. I don’t doubt it for a second. You’re crazy—and if you’re crazy about anything, it’s her.
I’ll wish that she can drive you crazy in all the best ways, the ways I never could the ways you never let me try the ways I don’t think I wouldn’t have wanted to.
I’ll turn and look at you while I say that last bit. I’ll have worn waterproof mascara on purpose, and you’ll have “something in your eye, ” just like the night I left for too long.
I’ll wish you the best this world has to offer, and then some,
say I’m gaining a sister rather than losing my brother from another.
I’ll tell her Sorry to have to break it to you, honey, but we’re bigger than this, him and me. Congratulations.
Comments about this poem (My Best Friend's Wedding by Maya Reid )
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