she lives in caps lock

Andi Teran was the new kid.

I’d been the new kid time and time again, and hadn’t been on the other side before. She was the one who didn’t know anybody, who wasn’t sure of how to get around, what to think of all of us. And look, this girl, she was really cool. Cool in a way I hadn’t exactly been exposed to before. It had been a long time since I’d come across someone who made me shy because she was just that much cooler than I could ever be. I mean, she had her own apartment! She had an Emily the Strange sticker on her car. In 1994.

This girl with the cool hair and the cool clothes, who always knew what we’d all be listening to in about a month, who taught me the words “Cibo Matto” and “Urban Outfitters,” who wore platform tennis shoes so good we all had to have a pair — this girl became my friend. She was the Sporty Spice of our group — bold and cheeky and playful. And when you hung out with her, the only thing you could count on was that your night would be unpredictable. She still plays like you’re little kids, where the world could morph into whatever landscape you want. One night we gave each other gang girl names (She’s the Snipa to my Tiga), and ran through the wet, hot streets of Austin, stapling paper plates on telephone poles and community bulletin boards. The plates were hyping a play we were in and for three months that play was the most important event of our lives. It was the most important thing we’d EVER DO. Andi Teran talks in all caps. She has a way of doing that, of fusing all the energy of the world into the tiny moment you’re having right then, even if it’s over a tiny table in a bar. It’s not just a beer you’re sharing: it’s THE beer of RIGHT NOW. Her ability to heighten right now into RIGHT NOW is inspiring. She can put her entire body into your name. “We are going to have another beer now PAMELA RIBON because I MISSED YOU.”

When she gets passionate in the middle of a conversation, her hands clench into fists. She throws her head back and looks like she wants to fistfight the world because ANDI TERAN IS SAYING SOMETHING IMPORTANT. And then she laughs this loud, wonderful laugh that makes you feel like there is no other now than right now and there will never be anything more fun than the moment you’re having right then.

Then there’s the Andi Teran who is invincible onstage. She is the focus of all things. She makes you sit up straighter, feeling like a proud parent. “That’s my friend up there,” you want to tell everyone. “I KNOW her!”

She has a small lump on the top of her foot that was caused from hitting my body in stage combat class. As inappropriate as it may be, I’m proud of that tiny bump on her foot, because it means I left a mark on her like she’s left on me. When she looks at her foot, perhaps she thinks of me. When she’s on the other side of the country, about to put on a sock, I like that there’s a 30% chance she briefly thinks of me.

In less than three hours, Andi Teran is getting married. She has found someone who understands the wild tangle that is Andi Teran. And I find it very comforting to know that when Andi is in hysterics over something as seemingly mundane as Bjork at the Olympics, that there’s someone who will take her hand, look her in the teary eyes and say, “I know. It’s awful. Let’s eat some cookies and hug the cats until someone fixes the massive global problem that is Katie Couric.”

In less than three hours, Andi becomes an official team. A force.

I am nervous, sitting here waiting to put on a dress to go to a church to watch Andi become a wife. She has been a part of me for so long, a part of our little group of college actor friends, that this feels like a very big emotional undertaking on our part. I feel a little like we’re all giving her away, handing her over to this man, and putting our faith (hands clenched tight) on the promise that he will be there for her. He will be the one she turns to when she’s laughing so hard she can’t breathe, or when an Elizabeth Hurley quote in Us Weekly sends her into an inconsolable rage. He has a huge responsibility to love her as much as we do, to recognize the wonderful gift he has in his life, and man, he has to know how to be cool.

So right now I have to go because ANDI TERAN IS GETTING MARRIED.