There is going to be a wedding.
This July, back on the island where I was born, my oldest, closest childhood friend will exchange Miss for Mrs, although in true Scottish fashion she already shares a surname with the man she is due to marry. She was my bridesmaid, almost seven years ago, and I’m honoured that she has asked me to do the same.
What a joyful celebration it will be. I can imagine already her shy smile, her graceful walk, the radiant light in her eyes. I know there will be giggles as she and her husband try to steady their shaking hands for long enough to ease on golden bands.
The plan is for a beach wedding – a quiet expanse of coral white, at the end of a winding road. We will all be praying for sunshine. Her fearless, bonnie daughter will be a flower girl, set free to gather shells and build sandcastles during the longer speeches. We’ll dine afterwards in the hotel that my family has owned for three generations – a place where we have both done dishwashing duty. There will be dancing, I’m sure, and much laughter.
My friend’s true love is a gentle giant from another island. Six foot something of Highland brawn, and the kindest smile you’ve ever seen. He works in the distillery, knows all the secrets of a perfect dram. I met him for the first time in a Paisley hospital ward, the day after their daughter was born; he cradled her like a tiny feather in the crook of his arm.
This will be the first time in over ten years that my friend and I have been back home together. We are calmer these days, more settled. I like to think there will be fewer Bacardi Breezers, and a little less late night dancing. I am hoping we can avoid bloodied knees from drunken stumbles. But I make no promises.
There is no substitute for someone who has known you forever, someone who has shared the saddle on your beloved rocking horse. When I moved away we wrote weekly letters, and over the years we progressed from dress-up to discos, from posters of bands to crushes on teachers, from douchebag boyfriends to inevitable broken hearts. And now there is this – true love, family life, continuing friendship.
It is odd. We are both solitary types; happy with our own company, a good book, maybe some hot, sweet tea and toast. But when we’re together we have that easy kind of friendship that is just as comfy with silence or chatter. For years we used to walk the quiet streets of our village, imagining the future. Where would we live? Who would we marry? What would we be? We’d pause for a while to sit on the steps, swigging contraband whisky from the bottle to keep ourselves warm. Then we’d walk and talk, and talk and walk, all the while watching the clear night sky. Who could have imagined all this?
There is going to be a wedding.
I can think of no better reason to fly across the world.
I am so grateful and surprised to make it to the finals of the Brilliance in Blogging Awards – all the more so because it’s in the Best Writer category that I have reached the final six. What an honour. Thank you so very much if you took the time to vote for me. I won’t make it to London for the ceremony, but I can’t wait to follow the event online and hope to see some of my own favourite bloggers recognised.