I met you, Anna, through the eyes of a man who had my trust and respect from the first time we shared a Guinness. That night on King Street, when Luke and I cemented our acquaintance, we laughed at the things in life that deserved ridicule and made serious the things which deserved respect. I drank with Luke, but I seemingly sat beside you both. You were at a distance, then, but not apart--separated by space but affixed in spirit. He spoke not of "some girl" but of "Anna," not of hair color and height or of beauty and appeal but of purpose. Yours, his, both together. Purpose and commitment--abstract and unclear, not perfectly thought out, but spoken with desperate accord. I knew then that this wasn't the love of men of my age--perhaps of any particular age--since there are loves so profoundly distinct that they seem destined, sacred, inexorable. I didn't know it that night, and perhaps neither did you, but there are ways that men speak about the women they will marry--and in retrospect Luke's words betrayed his intentions.
It wasn't a matter of learning the kind of woman you would be. I knew by how Luke spoke that night and on every occasion thereafter that you were the kind of woman who would attract this kind of man--a man who doesn't settle, a man of discerning sensibilities and staggering conviction and honor.
But then I actually met you, Anna, in a Baltimore harbor with the man at your side who I had come to depend on like a chosen brother. That afternoon in Maryland, when we cemented our friendship, we laughed, also, at the things in life that deserved ridicule and then we laughed quite a bit more. And in many ways, in the five years I've had the deep satisfaction of knowing you as individuals and together, we've never stopped laughing. Later today, after you've made concrete the vows writ with zealous ink across your smiles and time, I want us to clink glasses again among family and friends--with the sonorous laughter of happiness deserved--to your immeasurable spirit and to your dedication.