Sonny and Lily got married yesterday, on the hottest day of the year. At the church I became involved quite naturally in ushering people into the building, where we all sat and baked throughout the ceremony. Sonny’s father read a touching piece entitled ‘Apache Blessing’, which brought a tear to my eye. It’s easy to see where Sonny gets his character from. His dad is just like him: a talker, a listener and a positive person who I did not hear say anything negative all weekend. He was a joy to meet and experience; a man whose personality stands in stark contrast with that of my own father.
At the reception, Sonny asked me to do some more ushering, which I happily got on with. The weather was glorious and the whole afternoon and evening were well-organised and relaxed. There was a clear structure to the proceedings, but the flexibility allowed people to mingle, meet and talk to each other in such an easy fashion that it was hard for anyone to be aware that anything was going on behind the scenes at all. [Karaj: The hallmark of quality.]
The jazz band played as people chatted on the lawn. I spent some time with Ed’s little boy, which was as much of a pleasure as it had been at Kelvin’s wedding. As I lay on the grass, weary from the heat, I felt too tired to talk to anyone. Lying there, I knew I had a choice: either go into my script, withdraw, do my familiar, antisocial trick of not talking and then on the inside blame the world for my predicament; or carry on socialising. I felt uneasy, but there was only one option and, having decided to keep talking, I relaxed.
For the speeches, the college friends stood in a line at the back of the marquee: Eric, me, Kelvin, Peter and Ed. When Sonny gave us a mention, there was something tangible about our presence and I was – and will always be – proud to be part of that group of friends. Tom arrived with his fiancée in the middle of Sonny’s speech. It was ideal timing on his part and he was greeted with hugs from all of us.
When it came time to cut the cake, three friends, Kelvin, Tom and Ed, were dispatched to their stations, each tasked with lighting one of three ground fountains. As the couple began to cut the cake, the fireworks were lit in unison. An enduring image from the whole spectacle was Kelvin jumping up and down behind the three silver fountains, his arms aloft and his kilt flying, filled with excitement and no doubt overjoyed at having been involved in such pyrotechnical perfection.
That all happened yesterday. This evening Sonny and I shared a few beers and reflected on a wonderful day. He told me of the comments he’d had from people at the wedding. Girls had told him that I’ve changed. He, himself said that I’m a new man. And when Lily joined us, she mentioned a comment from Ed’s wife who said I was a pleasure to be around. People had also remarked what a special group the college friends are.
I was almost overwhelmed by the relief I felt to hear this feedback. I have worked fucking hard to get here and, whilst I know there is a long way to go, this summer and this weekend in particular have shown me the potential I have and how I am beginning to fulfil it. Thank god. The other thought I had was that this is all down to my work with Karaj. He has given me the direction I didn’t realise I needed. I was always looking for something, but Karaj has guided me where he knew I needed to go. For that I am truly thankful. Who knows how long it would have taken without his help.