INT: AN ELEGANT(ˈeləgənt) RECEPTION(riˈsepSHən) HALL(hôl) — EVENING(ˈēvniNG)

Tim is giving the Best Man’s toast at Chase(CHās) and Christina’s wedding(ˈwediNG). He is holding up a flute(flo͞ot) of champagne(SHamˈpān) and has obviously(ˈäbvēəslē) had a little too much already.


Ahem(əˈhəm, əˈhm). Hello…everyone. As you probably know, I’m the best man. Although I’m here to stand by the groom(gro͝om,gro͞om), I’m actually honored(ˈänər) to be a close friend of the bride’s(brīd) as well. That’s how you get good real estate(iˈstāt) at the reception tables: befriend(bəˈfrend) Chase(CHās) and Christina separately(ˈsep(ə)rətlē). It’s nice because I’ve gotten to see two people find each other, and to experience how much happier they are together than apart(əˈpärt).

(Pauses(pôz) to take a drink)

Oh, sorry. Not done toasting(tōst) yet. I have to talk about the groom! What can I say? Chase and I have been friends since we were six years old. Six. He just walked up at lunch and said he had pudding(ˈpo͝odiNG) and what did I have? and-bam(bam)-we were best buds(bəd). At six years old, pudding is the sacred(ˈsākrəd) cup of friendship. From then on, you’re basically(ˈbāsik(ə)lē) brothers. You share everything, whether you want to or not, you know?

(Pauses for laughter(ˈlaftər), looks at Christina)

Oh, jeez(jēz), Chris, I didn’t mean it like that…

(Pauses to take a drink during laughter)

Okay okay okay, wait, I have to tell you how I met Christina, too.

We did cross-country together freshman(ˈfreSHmən) year of college(ˈkälij), before Chase drop-moved back home. Okay, so it was really wet that spring, and I was sitting in the grass(gras) under the bleachers(ˈblēCHər) during a home meet, listening to the rain on the metal(ˈmedl) seats(sēt) above my head. And Chris ducks(dək) under there, with a purpose, you know? To get dry, I thought? She’s soaking(ˈsōkiNG), and her hair is in like a wet braid(brād), not like that fancy(ˈfansē)-schmancy(Shəˈmansē) do-up-ha(hä), updo, whatever, Chris, you know what I meant!-she’s got today.

(Pauses to take a drink, looks steadily(ˈstedəlē) at Christina)

And she lies(lī) down in the wet grass right next to me, with her shoulder(ˈSHōldər) against my hip(hip), and she hooks her feet on the underside of the bleachers(ˈblēCHər) above my head. And she looks up, right at me, and she says, she goes, “Where do you think birds go when it rains? Do you think they have a way of keeping warm?” Like this is a normal question to ask a relative(ˈrelədiv) stranger.

And that’s what’s so special about Christina, I think. I’m not sure I appreciated(əˈprēSHēˌāt) it then, but that was before I went to Spain(spān) and found out how quickly your life can change when you leave it behind. I should’ve told her right then what a…an incandescent(ˌinkənˈdesənt) person she was. Most people barely(ˈbe(ə)rlē) think about the stuff that’s right in front of them, so it takes someone really special to wonder about birds’ happiness when they’re not even there.

I just don’t know how often you find someone who still thinks about you, so long after you’re gone.