Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Embarrassment (01/12/12)
TITLE: The toast
By Geoffrey johnstone
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The best man has three things to say. He must first toast the bridesmaids. He can then tell a funny story that extols the virtues of the bridegroom. Finally, he leads the assembled guests in wishing the happy couple a successful marriage.
We have rules. Rules that are suppose to protect us against embarrassing mistakes. Unfortunately somebody forgot to tell my best friend, Scott.
Perhaps it was the occasion. Perhaps it was the place. The rose garden was in full bloom under the Australian sun and love was in the air. Whatever it was it had turned a very sensible school teacher into an emotional wreck.
“Mate!” I replied nervously giving him the thumbs up sign.
Scott gathered his thoughts and reviewed his notes.
This time he held his arms open as if to embrace the whole world. Then he wiped his eyes with the back of his hand.
There are times when true friends can hold a conversation using only a single word.
Suddenly he found his theme. “You know Peter and Sue love each other so much I wouldn’t be surprised if they have a baby.”
From the corner of my eye I saw my 21 year old son lift his glass and cheer. Beside him my 17 year old daughter looked a picture of misery.
There was no mistaking the voice of my elderly mother. She had called me the night before to ask me one last time to call off the wedding.
“There’s a documentary on tonight about Russian mail order brides, my love.”
“Mum, she’s from Scotland.”
“It’s the same place, Peter.”
Scott watched as my mother cut the air with her fingers in a scissor like motion.
“Mate?” The best man's face appeared stricken with grief.
“Mate.” I shrugged my shoulders with resignation.
The next few moments were the longest 15 seconds of my life. My best friend slowly examined the faces in front of him until he found my beautiful bride. Susan returned his gaze with a polite smile that never wavered.
“Mate.” Scott was obviously searching for the right words. What he said next will go down in history.
“If there’s anything I can do to help – just call me.”
And that’s why my mother fainted at the wedding.
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