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Have you written your toast?” Anna asked as we turned into the avenue bordered on both sides by dead fallen leaves occasionally being disturbed by the freezing cold December evening breeze.
“No.” I admitted. “Not yet.” I replied as I took in the brown-gold landscape, against the sunset to our right. It was a very beautiful sight.
Anna turned to face me, a surprised look in her eyes. “Three days to the wedding?” Then,in a much softer, concerned voice “What’s wrong, Tope?”
“Nothing’s wrong.” I said vaguely, digging my hand into my coat pockets and staring out into the distance to avoid her eyes. “I haven’t gotten around it just yet, that’s all.”
“That’s not true, Tope.” She said, “I know you, you always know what to say. If you really wanted to make a speech, you would have by now.”
It’s true. Only she knows me, only she knows my fears and only she could set me free.
For a moment there was nothing but silence and the sound of the dead dry leaves beneath our feet.
Then she broke the silence softly. “Or you don’t want to do it.”
“No. No.” I said alarmed, “I just wanted…it… to be a surprise.”
“Oh really?” she asked sarcastically, as if she suspected I was lying. “Well let’s hear it then”.
“What? Now? Did you not hear the part where I wanted it to be a surprise?”
“I don’t want a surprise. I don’t want another surprise Tope. ”She said stopping and letting out a tired sigh. “I just want this wedding to be perfect. No surprises.”
Turning to face her, I held both her hands in mine. “You’re cold.”
She nodded and stepped closer to me, putting her hands in my coat pockets.
Then she said. “I want to hear the toast.” She really didn’t want to give up on it.
“Anna, you’ll hear it, but not now.”
“But I want it now. It’s three days to the wedding, what’s the difference?”
“Fine!” I snapped. “Most people spend their whole life searching for ‘the one’ but I’ve never had that problem, because I’ve always known her. It’s always been you, Anna.The truth is, I’ve loved you much longer than you know.”
“What?” Anna asked, in what sounded like a shout as she dropped my hands and stared at me like I was crazy.
“Every time I remember our first kiss, I melt because I’ve never felt that way before. And though you didn’t know where you were the next morning, I was sure it was IT! Love. In fact I doubt you remember the kiss, because you were so wasted from the previous night.
I’m sorry that it’s only as you hold my warm hands in your cold ones, that I blurt out “I’ve loved you much longer than you know” and I realize that it’s true even as you drop my hands and stare at me like i’m crazy.  Anna, all I want is to taste your lips knowing fully well you wouldn’t allow.
But you see how I never did anything wrong but love you? That’s the irony of it all. You may love someone with all your heart. Your every breath. Your world. Everything. Yet, if they don’t feel the same way, none of that matters.”
“Well I can’t give that speech at your wedding, seeing that the groom is my best friend, and I’m his best man”’


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