MY speech for the wedding is four minutes and 54 seconds long.
Though, that includes about three minutes of crying and gnashing of teeth, so if you’re the betting type I wouldn’t run to put any money on it just yet.
Feeling like a bit of an eejit earlier, I pulled the blind to make sure nobody could see and stood up in the kitchen to run through my speech. I had some of it written, but wanted to say it out loud in order to finish it, in order to make it perfect.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” I began in a nervous voice before collapsing in a fit of giggles.
My voice sounded nothing like my own.
I shook myself out and started again, with a deep breath, and a grin at the kitchen door, projecting my voice around the room.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I want to start by telling any of you playing the thank you game that…”
That was shite.
And I still sounded weird.
On and on it went, me reciting paragraphs here and crossing out paragraphs there. Stopping and starting, pushing through the pain, determined to get it right. Collapsing in hysterical giggles at the sound of my own voice.
Until I thought I had it almost perfect.
Everything I wanted to say, succinctly said. Everyone I wanted to thank, thanked. Everyone I wanted to tell that I loved them, told.
Ok, here we go, the speech was perfect, time to read it out and time it with the stopwatch on my phone, including pauses for applause and, hopefully, laughter.
I was fine until I got to the part where I thank my siblings for being wonderful.
And they are wonderful.
My voice wobbled alarmingly and my throat suddenly seemed too tight to allow any sound escape at all.
I sniffed and cleared my throat, trying again.
Fuck it anyway. This wasn’t part of the plan.
Half blinded by tears, I stumbled over to the counter for a tissue, trying to control myself.
Ok, move on from the siblings I told myself, try the parents instead.
Thanking my folks for everything they have given me over the past 32 years looked nice and composed, on paper. Telling a roomful of family and friends how desperately proud I am of them was easy, on paper.
Standing in my kitchen trying to force the words out through my tears was another story.
Fuck it anyway.
The pile of tissues on the counter was growing steadily. This would never do.
Ok, start again. Move on to the paragraph about Yer Man. It’s only about six lines.
You can do this, I told myself.
It’s six lines. You can DO this.
But of course I couldn’t.
It’s Yer Man, how can I rattle off six lines about him like he’s nothing, like I’m reading a report on crop growth in the northern hemisphere?
After a good cry, I pulled myself off the kitchen floor and ran through the speech one more time.
This time, while digging my fingernails deep into the fleshy part of my palm, I managed to thank my guests, to speak warmly about my siblings and to tell my parents that they are exceptional.
But those six lines about Yer Man still elude me.