Last week, my family and I, as well as a group of my college girlfriends and their families, traveled to southern Poland to celebrate the marriage of Basia and Phil. I have documented my relationship and travels with my best friend Basia and her new husband Phil in this space over the years so I thought I would share the bridesmaid speech I gave at their wedding last Saturday, July 14th in Czarny Dunajec, Poland.
Hi. My name is Devon. I like falling asleep at the beach, salad dressings with soy sauce in them and Friends reruns. If my mom hadn’t conned me into going to school in San Diego, just an hour away from where I grew up, I wouldn’t have met my husband. I also wouldn’t have met my best friend. Luckily she and the rest of us, self-titled “The Case Girls”, like the same things. We met in dorm rooms, with towels in our hair, and vodka in our juices. We had Sociology 101 together, or French. These classes and, more importantly, what went on outside of them, might as well have been called “Welcome to Life”. We learned to play flip cup together, and maybe frisbee. We learned about relationships and doing the dishes (Basia didn’t know you were supposed use hot water until the end of sophomore year!). We learned to live together. To celebrate. To embrace after a fight, a tragedy, to brainstorm sorority skits, and living room decor. To figure out how to get the red wine out of the rug.
Things everybody knows about Basia:
She is Polish.
She has good posture.
She is good at computer programming, but bad at computers.
Things only her friends know about Basia:
Sometimes she wears old spice deodorant.
She takes 75 minute showers, but can’t stand wasting water.
She can back a Toyota carolla into a 10 X 5 ft. parking space.
She can sleep through any alarm.
Basia and I, and The Case Girls, have known each other for 15 years. Through finals, and breakups, and car accidents. Through new jobs and new homes and moving in with partners and away from each other. But the Case Girls carry on, falling off a Beach Cruiser one minute, and lifting each other the next. As friends do.
Basia asked me a few weeks ago to make a speech at the wedding. I tried to write a toast about our friendship, but I couldn’t find the words.
Each time it started out:
And then I thought about it so much that I started thinking “Dear Basia” was possibly all I needed to say about her, because isn’t she so dear?
The thing about my friendship with Basia is we can be ourselves with each other in the quiet. In the pauses. In the forest. And there’s always something comforting about that to me when I’m actually alone.
There is something I tell my daughters over and over again when they have a bad dream or can’t sleep: “It’s ok, you’re safe…” and that’s always how Basia has made me feel. In a school not so far, but just far enough, from home. In a busy party full of strangers, in my first real relationship, in a massive forest in a storm.
Friends are like a flock of birds flying together, weather be damned. We love each other, protect each other, hold each other fervently, even from far away. We find each other, again and again. To embrace, to celebrate, to cry, to hold on to what we’ve built, who we’ve become together and apart. To laugh at whoever forgot their dignity at home.
Phil isn’t an official Case Girl, but he’s a friend of every single one of us.
I met Phil about 13 years ago. I remember him asking if it was bad that his car was made by the same manufacturer as the tv in The Case Girls’ living room.
Over the years we have met again and again in snow and trees, in the desert and on deserted Mexican coastlines. I love every version of Phil I’ve ever met through the years. He is a caregiver, a father by nature, the only person I know who could adapt to forgetting to bring ski pants and a jacket to the mountains in January. He always puts Basia first anyways.
Phil makes Basia feel safe.