This is going to sound like a love letter, and it is in a way. I have formed a deep connection with an amazing person and there is a slight emptiness where she used to be.
Last Friday was Justine’s last day.
You may remember her as being on my Best of April 2010 list, affectionately known as the Empress of the Unusual. I always knew she was leaving and had about six weeks to prepare. So Friday was easy and Monday was hard. I didn’t cry, until I got to the office to start my week without her. She had cleared out her desk over the weekend and I no longer had someone to make coffee for. My heart broke.
The silence in the office hurts me. Before there would always be the sound of her typing (at about 163 wpm), and in her last week, a remarkable amount of coughing. Now all I hear is the traffic and I miss her desperately. For the first time in my life I am pining for another human being.
When I started working at Alphabet Soup, I wasn’t sure we would get along. The first few days were tentative explorations of each other. I was to spend a lot of time with her –shadowing, they call it. Then one day one important fact was revealed: she’s an X-Phile. The next few days were spent quoting X-Files at each other. It turns out we share a sense of humour and soon our working days were filled with laughter. We moved on from talking about sci-fi to life and many other things.
We bonded quickly and tightly. She is the older sister I never had. We overlap in many ways while being completely different from one another. Justine is a remarkable woman. She’s sharp as a needle point, an ab workout, a kind, patient mentor and a solid, valued friend. I learnt so much from her in our time as collegues and I’m going to use this knowledge for a long time to come. I will continue to learn from her, yet in a different capacity. She might not know this, but she has an inner strength and fortitude that inspires me. I am glad she is in my life and we will move from a relationship of work friends to social friend. If she’s not up for it, I will convince her otherwise.
She is not a crutch and I can do my job without her. This does not take away the longing. She is my friend and I love her. She has my back and is a phone call away. I have her back and when I am less exhausted I will prove that I am an excellent wing-woman. And I know she is going to do great things, because she is thoroughly awesome. She has touched my life in a way I would never have expected and I am grateful. And I am pleased that it doesn’t have to end in the office.
I hope her new company hooks her up with some technology soon, because I feel there is a gap in my life without being able to communicate with her every three minutes between 08:00 and 17:00.