It’s been years, maybe even a decade, since we first met and started working together. Although we haven’t worked together for the majority of that time, I still think about you. My mind wanders down memory lane and I’ll long for you and that time in our life. I’ll reminisce about how we bonded over torturous projects with unrealistic deadlines. The way we’d somehow manage to accomplish the unthinkable and laugh at the absurdities we experienced along the way.
I think about how easy it was to be friends. I could just stop by your desk and see if you needed a break and you’d sigh and nearly yell “Yes! I can’t stand to do this for one more second!” We’d forage for cookies or caffeine during the slump of the afternoon and talk the rest of the day away, not even noticing it was well past quitting time. I miss the way we could spontaneously send an email deep into the afternoon titled “Happy Hour?” and within minutes we’d be heading out the door for wine, caloric appetizers and commiseration.
That time in our lives felt simpler and lighter. We had less commitments, less responsibility and less complexity. While we didn’t know it then, those were the days, my friend. As a result of working together we saw each other every day and shared with each other the ins and outs of our lives. Sometimes my stories were so mundane and monotonous I was bored telling them to you. But you genuinely took an interest in them. And in me. You cared. And then, then, you were there for me when I really needed you. You became my deep and true confidant, one of the few people in my life I could share openly with.
I think about how lucky we are to have met each other and share that time in our lives together. I didn’t know it then, but I can see now how valuable it is to have true and real friends at work. We had each other during that formative time in our lives when so much happened. Babies were born and parents passed away. There were weddings and divorces, boyfriends and break-ups. And we sorted it all out. You would come in my office, we’d close the door and it would likely be a while before you reemerged.
I think about today. How life has gotten so full of work deadlines, writing gigs, gymnastics practice, packing school lunches, I feel as though I barely have time to squeeze in the occasional text to you. How it’s been months, even years since we last got to see each other and share a face to face conversation. When, finally, after all those text exchanges and insane coordination the miraculous occurs and we can meet for a happy hour or a way too short lunch. I feel so happy to see you my heart nearly explodes. And I get to hear about you. It fills me up to listen to your stories. I share with you everything, which amounts to practically nothing, that’s happened in my life recently. The very best part of it all is that I can just be me around you.
Somewhere behind all those shared experiences, those work days spent together, those crazy, weekend events, is a deeply rooted history and an authentic friendship. Fortunately for us we are able to comfortably slide into that friendship after so much life has been lived since then and act as if it was yesterday when we last saw each other. For that I am forever grateful. Before I met you, I would have never imagined I could have a work friend become a true and dear, real friend.