Published on July 1, 2012 | by Gabe Arnold2
Chucking Apples & Building Forts Part 3
“Ouch, ouch, OUCH! Dude, you’re pinning the flower into my chest, not my tuxedo coat!” Grant yelled at me and I came back to reality and stopped jabbing the pin too far. I had bent down to help him pin his flower on, as we were minutes away from going out to stand up in front of the church at my first wedding. Grant was my best man, and he had been teasing me for the past few weeks that he was actually going to stand up for once at my wedding. We’d been looking together at those wheelchairs where you can strap yourself in so you can actually come to a full upright standing position when you want too, but his parents couldn’t get the insurance company to pay for it, and it was thousands of dollars more than they could afford, so we just made it into a joke. And, as always, Grant just laughed…and his laugh turned into a giant glowing smile.
I didn’t know any better, but Grant had taught me that I could do anything I put my mind too, just like he did. I was getting married too young, too fast. But he was there to support me and be my best man. You see, what started out as fort building and rotten apple launching, turned into a lifelong journey (See Chucking Apples Part I and Part II ). By the time we were teenagers, we had this all figured out.
“When are you getting married?” I asked Grant as we sat by the campfire in his parents’ back yard. I must have been 14 and he was 16, and we were roasting what was left of the marshmallows that hadn’t been pelted at each other and his sisters earlier that day. “I think I’m gonna marry your sister when I turn 18,” he quipped, and I quickly whipped another marshmallow at him as he ducked. I missed. “Alright…well, I think I’m getting married at 18 or 19 too, so you have to be my best man, and we’ll see about you marrying my sister,” I responded. “Deal. I’ll be your best man, if you’ll be mine,” he retorted. “Alright, it’s a promise,” I said. And that was that. We never talked about that night again, but we just always knew we’d be in each other’s weddings. And now the day had come.
You know how our mind helps us look back, and over time, if we try hard, we only remember the good parts, and the bad parts get fuzzier? That’s how it is for me when I remember my first wedding day. I remember standing there, a little too cocky, but looking over and seeing Grant beaming with pride, sitting in his wheelchair at my side as my best man. I remember everything from the start, to the time where he handed me the rings, and after, when he gave a toast at the reception. He was there, even though he’d just fought a tough battle with an infection that had him on bed rest for almost four months before the wedding. He pulled it together and showed up, just like always. I don’t remember him ever complaining about a thing. He would always get this quirky little smirk that would turn into a big grin, and he’d tell me something funny or remind me that he could still beat me in arm wrestling.
As quickly as it had started, it was over. The wedding day passed, and it seemed like life started speeding up on me from there. My company started growing at an incredibly rapid rate, and before I knew it, the years were slipping by faster and faster. One day, as I was sitting and thinking about how quickly time was speeding by, it occurred to me that I hadn’t talked to Grant in a few months since around Thanksgiving.
What was about to happen next would forever change my friendship with Grant. But once again I’m falling asleep at my keyboard and will have to pick this up tomorrow. Check back then and I promise I’ll tell you everything that happened, as well as the surprising gift that Grant gave me.