It seems that some of the best women I know have entered my life by trying to pick me up. In early 2010 I took a creative writing class just to do something different and expand my horizons. There was a very smart and effusive woman who was easily recognizable because of her constant smile and enthusiasm. One night during class we started talking about beer, and before I knew it, she passed me a note asking if I wanted to grab a pint with her. I agreed, but was strangely nervous, though I had no reason to be.
In that moment, I met Teresa, who was my first friend that I met on my own in Portland after my move. I would see her once a week for class, and we began to meet outside of class for beers, activities, and general fun and silliness. She’s a completely affable person that is unlike anyone I know.
In 2011 she and I embarked on separate adventures, both of which took us to Alaska, but at different times. When she came back from up North, she took a job out at the Oregon coast, but would come back to Portland and stay with me. She has effortlessly blended in with my group of friends because she is always a shining example of thoughtfulness, humor, love, and optimism. She also has a tendency to giggle so much she excuses herself to another room.
Teresa and I have had many very deep, difficult conversations. I’ve shared things with Teresa that I’ve shared with almost no one else. I trust her completely and love her deeply. There have been times where I go months without speaking to her, but after just talking to her, I’m reminded of how deeply she affects me, and how that time without conversations with her feels like a void. She brightens my day and makes me smile, even if we talk about sad and angry things. She makes me feel peace, even when I’m agitated and impatient. Somehow, she’s able to bring me down and see reality, while also making me laugh and take in the immediate world around me.
She has said that she wasn’t always this way. When she was younger, she said she was so unhappy she was like a steel beam; unmovable, solid, but cold to the touch. I don’t know what moment occurred that transformed her so completely, but I’m impressed with who she is now, what she’s accomplished, and what she brings to my life. In a few days I will get to see her on my birthday, and when she asked what she could bring to my party, I knew I needed her shining light, and told her to bring herself and a great big smile. I know she won’t disappoint.