Hi you guys! I’m the sister and maid of honor of the bride, and I want to take a few minutes to honor my big sister and new husband on their special day. I’m a little nervous, so please bear with me. Elena has always been the public speaker and performer of the family, I’m more of the stage-crew girl. Wow, my heart is really pounding. I can hear it beating in my ears. Can you hear it? No, of course you can’t.

So, I have, of course, known Elena since I was born, and I often wonder how she survived the first two years of her life without me. More than that, I wonder how I survived the first two years of my life with her. The first time she picked me up, she dropped me. And the second time. And the third. But eventually she got the hang of how to handle me, and she has been my rock ever since.

Okay, no, wait. The heart beating is definitely coming from somewhere else. Do you guys hear it? I feel like I’m going crazy. It sounds like it’s coming from… Oh, Dave says it’s his heart beating quick, stealing glances at his beautiful new bride. That makes sense.

Seriously, Elena has always been my role model. I would get myself into quite some trouble growing up, and she never once judged me. Not even the time our dad’s friend Paul came over and scared me so much I insisted we had to kill him. Elena said, “Okay,” put me to bed, and we never talked about it again. She is the kindest, most generous person I’ve ever met, and I’m not just saying that because we share DNA. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, she truly has the biggest heart in the world.

The big heart. I hear it again. It’s a quick, low, soft sound, like the sound of a clock heard through a wall. Can you hear it? Can you?! It sounds like it’s coming from below. I’m sure I hear it. Perhaps it’s just me. My hearing has gotten quite strong since I got health insurance.

The first time Elena introduced Dave to the family, I knew I had just met my future brother. And sure enough, my parents presented us with his adoption papers the next day. Just kidding! Dave fit in with all of us right away, and it was immediately clear how head over heels he was for Elena. He’s shown every day since then how committed he is to her, and he makes her happier than I’ve ever seen her. It is a blessing for all of us in their lives to witness how their love continues to grow.

It is growing, that sound! The heart is beating so loudly, surely someone else must hear it?! Louder, and louder it grows. From the floor?

Elena and Dave, more than anything, I love witnessing how the two of you are around each other. You fit into each other’s lives perfectly and you work hard to keep making the other person a priority. You listen well, and…

HUSH! I hear it well, louder and clearer than even before. Be quiet, and you will hear it, too.

You think that I am mad? No. The sound is not in my ears, it is not just inside my head. Pull up the floorboards and you shall see!

As I talk even louder to cover that terrible sound, still you sit and smile. Is it possible that you can not hear? No! You hear it! I am certain of it. You hear it, and you are playing a game with me. I am suffering more than I can bear, from your smiles, and from that sound. Everyone, go!

Louder, louder, louder! Why does this heart not stop beating?! Why does it not stop!?