I was told that I didn't need to make a speech at the wedding; that it'd be a largely casual affair. I get that, I do. But at the same time, getting to see this marriage seems like a special event to me and not something I thought I'd get to see. I guess I have Vallo to thank for that, even if it feels like there's been a few lifetimes for these two that I wasn't around to witness beforehand.
So in an effort to keep from making people hold their drinks during a long-winded speech from me at the reception, I decided I'd just put my little speech here for anyone who wanted to hear it - or read it. Those of you that know me can probably picture me saying it anyway, if not reading this in my voice. I'll take that to mean it works just fine.
Tomorrow, my best friend is getting married. Before that, let me tell you a bit about him.
When I was a kid, I was just about the scrawniest, sickliest guy this side of the Bronx. A day didn't go by that I wasn't bullied or ridiculed, but I can admit that there were a lot of times I purposefully put myself in those situations - I had something to prove, or maybe I just hoped it would eventually end. It sounds a little silly now, but I'm glad I did. Because in 1930, some thirteen year old tough guy caught sight of me getting my can kicked in and, without any kind of sense of self-preservation or promise of reward, he jumped in and saved me.
You might be thinking if I got into so many fights, how did stopping one of them save me? It was more than that, there was an immediate kinship there. A bond between two boys from Brooklyn. James Buchanan Barnes, Bucky to those he liked, was a cut above most even by that age. He saw some weak, traumatized kid who he'd find out was an orphan and turned him into family. Because that's the kind of guy he is. There's more people here that have become family with Bucky, so you know what I'm talking about.
We palled around for years after that, best friends against the world. He always looked out for me, always had my back. When we found out about the war with Germany, World War II, we both wanted to do our part to help the country. Did Bucky try to talk me out of it? Not at all. He spent weeks teaching me how to box at Goldie's. Giving up his time to give me a chance to prove myself when it came time to sign up. I don't need to tell you how my attempts to enlist went, but the fact that he always believed in me - that's a sign of who he is.
Now I can look out across faces at some of these gatherings and see all the smiles and the laughter directed at Bucky and I can say that he's finally found a place where he's got what he's earned. Found family. Friends. A cat. Goats. And some fella who makes his heart sing. So I want to take a moment and ask everyone to grab a nearby drink and hold it up. To Bucky and Nyx. May their future together be as bright as the shine on Bucky's arm after a good polish. You two mean a lot to me and I'm glad I'll be there to see you two get married.
All my love,