When Tom first came to me and asked me to be his best man, I said no. There wasn’t any money in it for me and it really didn’t seem worth my time. But then, as I thought about it over the next five seconds, I came to realize that I would probably be able to give a speech, something I thought was important, as it would be an opportunity for everyone to discover just what a fantastic speaker I am.
I remember the night Tom and Alexandra met: It was a going-away party for a girl named Clare, who, unfortunately, couldn’t be here tonight because she went away. Tom and I arrived late, lugging a grocery bag of vodka, soymilk, and Kahlúa up the stairs. “Tom and Matt are here,” I remember everyone yelling as we came through the door. “Hooray.” It was then that we were lifted up onto the shoulders of four strong men, while six beautiful women fanned us with palm leaves. This went on for about six hours. When everyone had had their fill of hero worship, we were let down and got to drinking. Soy White Russians were the drink of choice. It was then, in the kitchen preparing that very drink, that Tom met Alexandra.
To say that there were sparks when Tom and Alexandra met would be incorrect, seeing as Alexandra thought Tom and I were a couple, which seems to be the popular conclusion women come to these days. When a guy doesn’t give them enough attention, he must be gay. Women: Just because two guys hanging out in their friend’s kitchen at 2 in the morning think it’s a good idea to play dress-up in beaded jewelry and oversize sunglasses and then strike a pose for some random stranger’s camera, doesn’t mean they’re gay. It means they’re really drunk.
That said, Alexandra’s misperception of Tom’s sexual orientation was short-lived, as the party changed locations to a Brazilian dance club in South Williamsburg and was, accordingly, taken up a notch. It was then, amid the smooth interplay of electronic beats and live hand drummers, that Tom was finally given the chance to show Alexandra what a truly fabulous dancer he is. “Your moves are electric,” I remember Alexandra saying to Tom. “Your hip swivels are ample and smooth,” I remember Tom saying back to Alexandra.
“You are the olive-skinned boy from Illinois I dreamt of back when I was a little girl in Budapest,” Alexandra went on.
“Your eyes hold all the great mysteries of the world wrapped in an enigma deep-fried in mysteriousness,” Tom said.
And so it went, the two love birds whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears, giving each other these passionate looks, looks that would soften the most hardened cynic, make the most murderous murderer stop murdering. This, my friends, is the story of how Tom and Alexandra met.
Indeed, it has been a whirlwind courtship over the last two and a half weeks. It would be an understatement to say Tom and Alexandra have been through a lot. From the kite-sailing incident in Fiji where Alexandra was blown offshore and briefly kidnapped by Filipino pirates. To Tom and Alexandra’s two years in the Peace Corps together, helping Amazonians burn down the Amazon. To the skiing trip in the Alps with that crazy Frenchman. Ha ha. You remember the one. To the capoeira street brawl in Rio that lost its dance-fighting aesthetic when automatic rifles were introduced. To the ice-skating trips in Westchester County, driving the Johnson family four-wheel-drive sleigh. To Tom’s man-with-a-van moneymaking scheme. To Alexandra’s famous leftover-lentil-soup parties. To Tom’s life debt to the Colombian Cosa Nostra. To the quiet nights they spent in Brooklyn, curled up on the couch, drinking a glass of Pinot Noir together and watching an autumn rainstorm glisten on the streets below, so very much in love. Wow. What a long, strange trip it’s been.
It reminds me of a line from the Huey Lewis song “The Power of Love,” featured in the 1986 classic Back to the Future, starring Michael J. Fox, directed by Robert Zemeckis: “Don’t need money, don’t take fame, don’t need no credit card to ride this train.” Tom and Alexandra, you don’t need no credit card to ride this train. It’s strong and it’s sudden and it’s cruel sometimes. But it might just save your life. That’s the power of love. Do you feel the power? I feel the power, the power of love.
On an almost but not quite sincere note, I would like to close by saying that I am drunk. Maybe tonight is not a testament to love. But it is a testament to money. So, here’s to Alexandra and Tom. May your new citizenship and your $10,000 be everything you hoped for and more.