A year ago, I was Maid of Honour at my best friend's wedding. She asked me if I would do a speech and I gladly accepted, thinking to myself 'oh my god I have so much I can say!'
The reality of this became more difficult when I sat down to start writing it. I realised very quickly as I was chuckling away to myself that what I was writing was very much the jokes and stories we had between just us two. When being shared with a room full of strangers it might not necessarily go down the way I would plan and just leave a lot of blank faces staring at me, wondering where the bride found me. So, I edited what I wrote, focused on talking about all the amazing qualities my friend has and obviously the wishes and hopes I dream for her and her new family in the future.
There have been times since giving the speech last November that I wish I had said it better. I look back now and think I was too nervous, rushed myself and was short of confidence. In hindsight, it's hard to know if I should have stuck to my guns and delved into the hundreds of stories between me and her, even if others didn't get the joke. People were polite and said my speech was good and went well, but I still feel like I could have done better.
The phrase 'my best friend is better than your best friend' is 100% true. I know this because of how many good friends she has in her life. It shows when people meet her, they know she's a good egg and they keep her in their lives. I on the other hand get the inner rage if anyone ever tags her as their best friend in a social media post. Back away bitches.
We have been friends since we were eleven. We formed a friendship based on the mutual agreement that most of the people we sat with in our form group at school were weirdos and we were obviously the cool ones. I had come from primary school with only a couple of other people. One, in particular, was tricky to shake and had a strong only-child vibe going on.
When I look back at my teenage years, my fondest memories are of all the times we had. Our shared love of carbs became an everlasting bond. Garlic bread, breaded mushrooms, pasta and pizza were a solid after-school routine for us. Her parents kept us well-stocked. Not only this, but I also recall there was always access to a cooked jacket potato courtesy of her mum. We've never worked out why a potato was always available. Potato dealer? Thought we needed fattening up? Who knows but I like her vibe.
During the speech at the wedding, I wanted to share how we used to get drunk in her parent's house, how she would stop me from calling 'the love of my life' (a boy who never spoke to me) by fighting the BT phone book away from me (yes, a BT phone book…classic). Or describe the oh-so-sexy time we just sat in our pants eating cheese in a tiny apartment in Nice because it was disgustingly hot. In theory, two women sitting in their pants in a French apartment sounds like it could be sexy but trust me the reality is quite the opposite.
There is never a dull moment when I'm with her; quite frankly, she is lucky to still be in one piece. There have been a few times over the years where I have thought I don't know how that even happened.
Once, I received a phone call from her in A & E telling me in a husky voice she had 'accidentally fallen on her throat' by tripping over a gate and crashing onto a raised flower bed whilst trying to feed her rabbit.
In Spain, driving and crashing so terribly on a Go Kart track, to the point where a man had to come and escort her off whilst my parents watched in fear, hoping they would still bring home someone else's child in one piece.
It was also on this holiday we both thought getting our hair braided was a fantastic idea (those cool kid vibes again) …turns out that being pale and having quite a lot of scalp on show is not a good look. The worst part was having to keep them in because of how much money we had spent on them. I wish there wasn't photo evidence of this, but unfortunately, there is.
There are also many situations in our friendship which never need to be shared. An unspoken agreement of never repeating what happened is what best friends do.
Over the years, we have built our own lives and moved away but not once have we ever lost our amazing friendship. We have gone from steak dinners and cocktail dates in London to sending each other selfies of how horrendous we look with our mum hair, faces, and bodies. Reminiscing, laughing and sometimes crying at how great we had it before babies. Our sons don't realise this yet, but they will have no choice but to be best friends.
We have been friends now for 24 years and it's scary where that time has gone. But I also know how amazing and lucky I am to have had a friendship last that long.
I hope that in another 24 years we will still be friends with more stories to make us laugh and that the steak and cocktail dates will have well and truly resumed.