An ode to Tricia Cooke

I had been settled into my freshman year of college for an entire semester, so I was obviously the World’s Smartest and Most Well-Adjusted Human. I was probably a pretty typical freshman girl at a liberal arts college–not super focused on academics, really into partying and making friends, growing increasingly aware that this whole college experience was not going to last forever. In an attempt to grow stronger within the campus community, I auditioned and accepted a part to be in Appalachian State University’s 2007 production of “The Vagina Monologues”. It was a tiny part–I was a member of a “chorus” that would interject periodically throughout the show with quips of humor and insight. The chorus was composed of a pretty big number of girls, including one in particular. But I’ll get to her in a minute.

We had a couple of rehearsals, maybe even just one. I was walking somewhere within our palace of a dorm, when I ran into a girl no taller than me. Big brown eyes and freckles that could rival mine, she smiled her legendary megawatt smile and said “Hi! I’m Tricia! You’re Michelle, right?”.

Ya know, I don’t really believe in love at first sight. Except for this instance.

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When Tricia explained that we were in the chorus together, I pieced it together and remembered her face. She also excitedly explained that she had just moved into my dorm, and joined my learning community (Watauga College, for those of you who are unaware of the magical cult I was apart of through my college experience). I returned her smile with my own, and we promised that we would hang out outside of rehearsal sometime soon.

Well, the play ended. But my friendship with Tricia was only beginning.

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Now, I could recount the infinite memories I have created with my Treesh. I could tell you about the time we got drunk in 30 minutes before an Old Crow Medicine Show concert we never made it to. I could tell you about the time we were craving hot dogs and walked to Phil’s in the summer sun and spoke only in English accents. I would be remorse if I didn’t talk about the time we almost stole the family silver at a birthday party we crashed in DC. I could tell you about the time we went to the VFW and took shots with veterans, and I threw up all over their bathroom.

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But…there’s so much more to my friendship with Patricia Lorraine Cooke than the incredible shenanigans we have gotten ourselves into. There are so many moments tucked in-between the highlights of debauchery. There are so many nuanced happenings that have made me turn to her and say “I love you”, even when we are doing as simple as driving to our hangover brunch. There are so many details and ins and outs of her personality that I admire, and–strangely enough–she admires things about me, too.

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This isn’t to say it’s always been easy. Like with any relationship that’s worth its weight in anything, we have had our quarrels. Our bickering. Our awkward silences. But the true sign of a friendship is how it is resolved–in our case, usually a screaming match with tears and long, sob-filled hugs. Promises of never-doing-that-again. And then holding that promise.

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Tricia has seen me at my lowest of lows. She’s delivered me good news, bad news, and everything in between. She has seen my snot-filled tears and celebrated my biggest accomplishments. We have laughed until we cried and cried until we laughed. There aren’t many people I can say any of that about. I can say it all about my Treesh.

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And now, it is with great pride, that I celebrate her. I celebrate this incredible woman who has shown me that resilience, perseverance, and genuine talent does pay off. My Treesh–my inspirational, hilarious, perfect best friend–is moving to Miami, Florida to pursue her artistic dreams. She is moving somewhere super far away because the world needs to see more of this woman–she should not be contained to our wonderful home state, no matter how convenient it may be for me. She is going to evolve and grow and soar in ways we don’t fully know or understand yet. After she moves, sometimes when we talk we’ll have everything to say and sometimes when we talk we’ll have nothing to say because of exhaustion. And it’s all okay. It’s all wonderful. Because it’s all apart of this woman’s life story–this woman who I love so deeply and cannot say enough wonderful things about. And even if I can’t be right beside her, cheering her on and asking her endless questions about her artistic process (sorry I do that all the time, by the way, Treesh), I’ll be there in spirit. It’s a cheesy saying, but I mean it.

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I’m so excited for my Tricia, and I’m so excited to see where her new life experience takes our friendship. I can’t wait to see her life in Miami with her wonderful boyfriend Wade, and my two kitty nephews that I love so much. I can’t wait to see the home they build together and the light in their eyes from embarking on a new adventure. I can’t wait to hear the joy in her voice when she finishes her first semester and I can’t wait to be crying like a baby when she receives her Masters. I can’t wait to see what adventure this leads her to next. It’s all so infinite and beautiful and amazing.

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Maybe you know Tricia, maybe you don’t. Maybe you have your own Tricia (you lucky dog, you). Maybe you’re confused how I can celebrate someone else’s success and be more excited than some of my own. The simplest thing I can say, is that Tricia has shown me more knowledge, love, and joy than I’ll ever know what to do with. It is my honor to share the outpouring of happiness I have for her with the world. I am so damn PROUD of this woman. And there’s so much more than just being excited about her new success–it’s about being excited that I have such a connection with a fellow human. That through drunken disasters and hilarious hiccups we still call each other every week and find something new to say. That through the goofiness and heartbreak and relentless restlessness we find gratitude in our friendship–that finding one another is a love story in and out of itself.

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So Treesh, here’s to you. The Ann to my Leslie, the Love Bug to my Dragon. My BK Lounge lover and fellow couch-sitting champion. My “Little Bit” duet partner and reality tv show gossiper. My fellow creepy friend that will binge research body anomalies and sideshow freaks. My freckle face sister and redhead twin. I love you and am so happy for you. You enjoy all the happiness in the world. And when in doubt, remember: yougottashoeyouneedashoeyouwannashoe.

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