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  • Writer's pictureAmanda

Tessa Rose

I hurry out of my front door back in Des Moines.

Tessa has a way of arriving 15 minutes early. I have a way of leaving 5 minutes late.

Regardless, her car is parked beside the curb.

I go to grab the car door handle- usually trying at it and waiting a couple of seconds for her to say, "ope- hold on," and unlock it for me.

You never know what color Tessa's hair is going to be. It's a little surprise every time.

If it's a good day, Mistadobalina by Del The Funky Homosapien is playing. Sometimes Good Vibrations. We always admire the work of DJ Donnie D.

I sit shotgun and Tessa drives. It's the rules.

The rules also involve speeding down I-35 like it's Mario Kart. The white dotted lines seem to bend at will for Tessa. It's skillful and it's a little scary.

She pulls into the Kum & Go parking lot and we grab a bag of hi-chews. I pick through for the green apple and grape ones, and we agree that strawberry is lame.

Des Moines exists with one foot in the suburbs and the other in dirt roads and cornfields. Tessa and I like to jump that line and end up in the kind of dark starry sky that you can only really find in the boonies.

There's a soccer field out there. Tessa scoped it out. Sometimes we stargaze in the middle of it while she explains the plot to the most recent movie release for me. She knows I won't watch it, but I like them narrated through her. She's a great storyteller.

Sometimes we go to a coffee shop. We write or we draw (Tessa is one of the best artists I know) and she tells me about yet another real world character she met. She has a way of attracting the wildest people I've heard of. It's truly a superpower.

The local coffee shop regular might arrive. He'll shout "Dicks! Dicks! Dicks!" A downtown staple.

Wellman's is the only bar in West Des Moines worth going to. If you ever have a chance to go with Tessa, you do.

It's an adventure that inevitably ends with trekking across one of the many random wild grassland plots that scatter throughout the middle of the city.

It usually involves a random man trying to kiss her on the cheek somehow or someone who's spat so much chew in a cup that you could mistake it for beer. You don't go to Wellman's for drinks. You go for the story that always follows Tessa.

We met in the second grade.

A boy went up to her, saying "Oh, that's Amanda. She's weird."

A great fresh start.

But she chooses people and that's how it goes. I'm glad she stuck around.

Sixteen years of friendship with Tessa, give or take.

We ping pong stories from high school like it's a sport.

We have tattoos that we got at eighteen together.

She has the most loving and open heart I have ever met of anyone in the world.

She is the most loyal best friend anyone could ever ask for.

She'll yell at you if you play Ed Sheeran in her car- but you should do it anyway because her reaction is priceless.

Don't wake her up at 6 AM begging to get Starbucks. And don't order a tomato mozzerella panini that early either. She'll never let you live down the national crime of "eating something savory early in the morning."

You're likely going to befriend the neighborhood stray next to her. She'll say "chee chee chee," and somehow, that thing is going to understand. She's an animal whisperer.

If you get her tipsy or tired enough, she starts to freestyle. It is the stuff of legends.

This post is for the friend who makes a coffee shop spinner to help you choose which location is worth your brunch.

It's for the friend who sends five minute voice memos for you that leave you cry-laughing every time.

For the friend who introduced you to hours-long screen printing sessions, starburst shots, and "divorced dad" music.

I could go on and on and on.

I love this friend with my whole heart.

And she's 23 today.

Happy birthday, Tessa. One short week until we celebrate.


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