I bumped into an old school friend at work today. I estimate it’s been about twelve years since we last spoke. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t seen her in that time, because the truth is, I have – if only from afar. I spotted her on my works CCTV a few months ago and have managed to avoid her during her visits ever since. Today however, I wasn’t so slick.
It’s not that I don’t like her. I guess you could say I just had anxiety over the inevitable “how’s your family?” question. And you know how the conversation went?
“(Her name). I haven’t seen you in years!” (lies)
“I know how are you?!”
“I’m great! How are you? You’re working here now?”
“Yeah. Do you live around here?”
“Used to live just up the road but we’ve just shifted. I’ll have to tell my parents I ran into you! They’re still at the same place. How’s your Mother?”
*Slow intake of breath while I think of how to phrase it… Do I just blurt it out? ‘She’s dead’. Do I ease into it? ‘well… not really’*
“My Mum passed away, December… well, a year and a half ago”
The appropriate condolences were shared. A part of me was pleased that my previous anxiety over that moment wasn’t for nothing, because the conversation played out exactly as I thought it would. But it really wasn’t so bad in the end.
My Mum was a relief teacher who was well liked by all my peers. I know my school buddies (those who don’t know) would be sad to learn of her passing, and I guess I just don’t want to deal with it. Other peoples sadness over her death triggers my sadness and I’d hate to lose my composure at work, of all places.
One memory in particular that comes to mind with this particular old friend, was the time her Mum took me to get my ears pierced. Now, my memory is a bit fuzzy as to how that came about. I remember driving to the Pharmacy (in the ‘flash’ arcade in Town), but I don’t recall if we were going to get my friends ears done, and mine were done too, simply because I was there? I don’t know if it was pre-arranged with my Mum? I find it hard to believe her mother would have ever let me get mine done without permission from my parents first. Or perhaps I just did a really good job of convincing her they wouldn’t mind? (they wouldn’t, my parents were just cool like that).
Whatever the case, I’m glad I got them done. And as much as I’d like to ask questions about that day, Mum wouldn’t have been able to offer any insight anyway – she had a memory like a sieve!
But I wouldn’t have had her any other way ♥