A Tribute to My Very First Roommate [To Adessa, with Love]


Today is the 30th birthday of my very first roommate and the only thing this silly writer has to offer on a rainy February afternoon are words …

Adessa, I owe you big time.

I owe you for teaching me how to back down and how to suck it up and how to love people even when you don’t want to.

Dess and I have now known each other for 11 years. Longer than most of my current list of friends on Facebook. Come to think of it, we met the same year Facebook was created. We were official before we were Facebook official.

Also, we hated each other.

Hated? Maybe that’s too harsh.

We exasperated each other.

That year we were emotional, lost, nitpicky freshmen in college. It was the best and worst year of all time. We came from wildly different backgrounds (and cleaning habits). I was a bossy older sister, she was a sloppy little sister. I have no doubt our beautiful neighbor Jessica heard both sides and thought we were both batshit crazy.

Adessa taught me how to make enchiladas and I let her use my computer. She rolled her eyes when I talked about my church friends and I rolled my eyes when she talked about her boyfriend. Even when we loathed each other I think we loved each other. We somehow became family. And for that I owe her everything.

I left school at the end of that year, but Dess and I managed to keep in touch here and there. When I moved back to our college town five years later, she was still there working hard and kicking ass. We started a weekly breakfast ritual. I think we ate breakfast at every possible spot in Bellingham.

We found out that all the years we didn’t live together had somehow made us so similar. We could dig into breakfast platters on rainy mornings and talk about politics and find we both like the chicken sausages and the socialist ideas of Europe.

We let taboo topics roll off our tongues and we vented about our current roommates. It all felt so perfectly normal.

Last year my beautiful forever roomie married the only man who ever deserved her. (I’m still mad that my stupid car broke down and I missed it.)

This year those beautiful people are going to have a beautiful baby and I can hardly stand all the adorableness of it.

It seems crazy to me. Crazy that this girl I didn’t always like when I was a snotty 18-year-old is exactly the kind of person I aspire to be when I grow up. She is loyal and kind. She is bold and opinionated. She is strong, but she admits when she is weak. She picks wonderful people to allow in her world and she kind of also ended up with me.

A mountain range separates us, but, Dess, you’ll be my roomie forever.

Adessa, I love you. Happy 30th, babe.

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