I have this roommate.

She has a mane of golden curls, a laugh that fills a room, the voice of a soul singer several times her girth, and the imagination of a hyperactive 10-year-old. Man, do I love her.

When we first moved into our apartment, we decided that it was haunted. Our building used to be a neurological hospital, so we figured that some crazy ghosts had to be hanging around. We ended up naming 3 or 4 different ghosts who manifested in different ways–one whose voice was the wind whipping around the building and hot water in the pipes, one that appeared as various spiders and creatures, one that moved our things.

We created an elaborate mythology for our neighborhood, with the Bench Shielf Wolf, literally a foam shield with a wolf on it, as the scourge of the block, several houses of witches (some good and some bad), and all of good and evil in the balance. This led to the best text message of the year: I HAVE SEEN THE EVIL WITCHES AND THEY ARE ATTRACTIVE MEN!

We found the creepiest clown doll you have ever seen in a suitcase of things labeled “free,” created a name, past, and Facebook page for it, stalked our friend electronically and took pictures of the doll around downtown before hiding him in the stalkee’s apartment. Then out of nowhere she was given a spooky daguerrotype child portrait page ripped out of a book on surrealism by a man in a cowboy hat on the bus with whom she had never conversed and who would not answer her questions of why. So we smuggled that picture into said friend’s new apartment and posed the clown doll with his arms around it.

We kidnapped her for her birthday, walked her all around the north side of the city with a Frankenstein pillowcase on her head, and surprised her with a trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo, where she later got an internship.

She and I got up to dance on the pianos and with the pole at Duelling Pianos to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”…before we had had a single drink.

We’ve made delicious meals and have eaten ice cream for dinner. We’ve watched girly movies and documentaries about the evolution of man. I saw her in her professional theatre debut, and she’s helping us make a video for the first full-length show produced by my theatre company.

And on Friday she’s moving back to Colorado for a year, before she returns to Chicago to get her master’s in biomedical visualization.

So for now, Cari, all I have to say is this: I have loved every minute of being your roommate. Even when I was throwing up red wine all over my bedspread. Go climb some mountains, play with your dog, and start planning our first Skype date.

But I’m totally going to beat you in the Great Boyfriend Challenge.


1 Comment

Filed under Story Time

One response to “Cariffic

  1. Cari

    Laura Stratford: you are without a doubt one of the kindest and most eloquent souls I know. It has been an honor and a priveledge to live with you this year, and frankly I don’t think all the mountains and dogs in the world (or mountains of dogs) will quite make up for not having you in my daily life.

    Looking forward to crazy skype dates, artsy-related updates, and to rejoining you in a year for what I am sure will be the most epic reunion Chicago has ever witnessed.

    As to the Great Boyfriend Challenge, I have but three words:

    Love ya, girl.

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