I am sitting in the coffee shop in the northeast corner feeling a tadders morose. A week ago this very chair would have been splendidly occupied by one of my dearest friends, my soulest of souly sisters, my lovely, real Tara.
I can’t remember exactly when we met but I DO remember the establishment. It was a warm evening without being hot. We sat on black, metal patio furniture. Our mutual friend Lindsey introduced us while we sat all together surrounded by tall brick walls, a ceiling of lapis lazuli sky, and listening to the happy chirp of running water coming from the patio fountain.
Lindsey, the personification of a social butterfly, was friends with so many people in town that it was dizzying to go anywhere in public with her. She dashed from group to group fluttering about and dipping her amiable face into each pool of social interaction like a monarch sipping nectar. It was a beautiful thing to watch.
Until this evening, my delightful Lindsey Lou had never introduced me to any of her high school friends. It was in the intimate back garden of Tiffany’s Lounge that Lindsey brought Tara to me, a dark moth of a woman with black coffee eyes, beautifully delicate hands and a maelstrom of gorgeous emotion in her soul.
Oh the conversation we all had! We talked for hours over drinks until darkness bled into the sky dragging its sequined skirt of stars behind it.
We traded ideas and perspectives, stories and feelings and none of it was small talk. Tara often said shockingly honest things that made me laugh out loud with glee. I love that quality in a companion! Her accompanying facial expressions and articulate hand gestures added depth and and drama to her words. Mood and emotion utterly transformed her language and movement. Every part of her exudes self-expression. As a connoisseur of authentic human spirit, I had hit a mother fucking gold mine. Uncommonly sympathetic, poignant vulnerability, clever and quick-minded, articulate and breathtakingly creative. I could not have curated a more compatible personality had I cooked it from scratch.
Tara lives in Minneapolis and I abide in Hoosier state so except when she visits family here, we have to stay connected through text, Facebook, and occasional phone calls. After we met we interacted intermittently in true introvert style. In creativity or crisis we might reach out to one another a few times a month. We were satellites in each other’s lives.
For the handful of visits we had, we would drink wine, play dress up, take exotic and artistic photos of one another and delve into one another’s inner worlds. Finding Tara I found someone with whom I could swim in the deep end and dance in the shallows. We could laugh, philosophize, create and dream, or peer into the murky depths of our own existence and attempt to understand the architecture beneath. It’s a grand thing to have a friendship of this nature.
In late December of 2015, Tara came to visit – and she stayed. For three glorious months, she was in Madison.
Suddenly, Tara and I had regular coffee shop and cottage rendezvous. I had a standing lunch date with her and her mom at 1:30pm at The Attic every week day if I wanted it… getting together became a part of my routine. Her presence here softened a loneliness I have as a slightly estranged daughter far from family. She feels like family to me in that I can be thoroughly as I am and she accepts it without hesitation or question. Having Tara in town also fed my need for companionship with another thirty-year-old artist who lives a nontraditional life. She’s a good sounding board that Tara gal. And her artistic input is usually spot on.
Eventually her northern tribe and her adopted city called to her and she hearkened. Her fur babies were packed in her little white Subaru and she was gone. Now I text her like everyday :). It’s only been a week and I miss her like a mother fucker!
So, Tara, my darling butter duck of a friend, my raven haired soul sister who my husband calls “mouse” because she is petite and often quiet – thank you for the gift of those late winter months. You were an inspiration and a comfort. I continue to keep your seat warm in your favorite corner at the Roaster with fondness in my heart. I promise Joe and I will wander in your direction when the cold has finally lost it’s sway.