Today’s the day I change.
I had told myself that for days.
But today is going to be the day I actually change. Today is going to be the day that I face my anxieties. Today is going to be the day that I smile. Today is going to be the day that I will change.
I just didn’t know it yet. How could I? I hadn’t met you yet. The reason for the change.
But standing here, in front of you, I now know that’s the day I began to change.
That’s the day I met you.
I looked up from our entwined hands, even now you know how bad my anxiety is. Without me even saying a word, your hands reassuringly squeeze mine. You know my anxiety had nothing to do with what we are doing. I can tell by the dimples hiding beneath your ginger beard, the ones that you only show me, and the sparkles in your ever-changing eyes. Blue. Green. Grey. Gold. Today they are somewhere between blue and green, and as I look into them I know you remember.
You remember my anxiety about talking in front of people. You know that this must be hard for me, to be able to stand up in front of people and just talk. And yet, I know standing opposite you that I am safe. That you will support me. Taking a deep breath, I carry on.
The day I met you, wasn’t even the day I saw you.
The day I met you, we were playing pool in a game.
Each of us was on opposite sides of the world. I was in England, and you were in America. And who knew back then that this would be the greatest love story that they would know. That a friendship would quickly blossom and out of that came love. A relationship. Who knew that we would both be standing here, together?
That first game, we talked for hours upon hours. But it only felt like mere minutes, because as soon as we started talking it felt like I had known you my whole life. For the first time in my life, I felt safe talking to a guy I didn’t know. I think that’s why we work so well together, we give each other the safety and support that we both need. That we both want.
That’s the day that I slowly started to change because of what I was like before I met you.
Before I met you, I had all but given up on finding love. True love.
I had all but given up on being truly happy.
Before I met you, I was lost in a battlefield of anxiety and depression. I didn’t even feel worthy to have anyone love me.
But even on that first day, I smiled and laughed properly. That was the first time since my Mum got diagnosed.
This time when you squeeze my hand, it’s for emotional support. To help stop the tears from falling, that is undoubtedly welling up in my bright blue eyes. I couldn’t help but think back to that time in my life, with you not in it. The failed relationships where I hid parts of me, the parts of me that you adore. The failed relationships where I was scared and controlled. The failed relationships where lies were told. How I didn’t have anyone to hold my hand and walk with me on those cold, rainy days where the weather perfectly matched my mood. No one to support me when I broke when my Mum was diagnosed and all of the resulting treatments. I had gone through that all alone until I met you. I meet your eyes that once again have changed colour, to a warm green. You hope that changing the colour of your eyes will bring me back from that place. You know my head wanders, thoughts running through my head like a freight train and if I don’t stop it my anxiety will peak. It works, it always does. I chew on my painted pink lips, before squeezing your hand back. Reassuring your worries about me. That I am okay. That my anxiety is largely under control. That I can carry on.
And every day since, you have made me smile and laugh. But you’ve also made me truly happy. I know that you always will, make me truly happy.
Because I know that even when I’m crying out my heart, you will make me smile with just one word. That even on the greyest days, you are the sunshine that brightens my day.
It is not an understatement when I say you lit a spark in me Eric, and that’s why I began to change.
A spark of hope that I could be loved. Honestly. Truly. Deeply.
That I was worth something to someone.
That you love all of me and I love all of you. Unconditionally.
That day that we started talking, that was the day I changed.
You made me want to be a better person because Eric you are my better half.
You changed me so that I was always happy.
That I was more creative, I write and write and write since I started talking to you. Mainly because you see the talent that I don’t. When I first told you I write, I remember you asking me to write a story that involved us, so I wrote a story about us being married and fighting demons. And I was so scared to send it to you, that you wouldn’t like it. But you smiled and said that you loved it and that if I didn’t write the world would be missing out on the next Harry Potter writer. You remind me of that every time I doubt myself.
You made me believe in myself. That I am beautiful and clever and worthy of love.
I know that I changed you too, made you happier. Made you believe in love too. I know that you said that you were never going to do this again. After what happened to you. I felt the same way before I met you. But now standing here with you, after everything we have been through together, I am glad that you changed me. Because Eric Brian Copeland, you complete me. I will love you always and I can’t wait to spend forever with you.
The sunshine filtered through the stained glass window, landing on us. A sign from God. The sunlight caught the sparkles on the skirt of my white wedding dress, making me look more like a princess. No one could smile brighter or wider than us as we looked into each other’s eyes as those last words were spoken. The ones that we had been waiting to hear since you put a ring on my finger; since you asked the question; since we met.
With the power invested in me, I pronounce you Husband and Wife.
You may kiss the bride.