Back when my old office started up 13 years ago there was a core group of original employees, 13 of them in fact. The group soon expanded beyond that original 13 but the experience of the hectic start-up days had stayed with those of us that were still around. In that group there was a camaraderie similar to soldiers who’d went to battle together, and borne from that group + the addition of one other who started with us shortly after, was a group of ladies that became my very dear friends.
Back in those days we would regularly, every pay-day in fact without fail, go to dinner together in our fave local Szechuan restaurant and have our therapy. Many MANY laughs were had, frustrations were vented and stories told. When one person or another couldn’t make it, they were “DADs” (drop a dishes) a dreaded title for which you were mocked, but for the most part everyone showed up. This tradition went on for years. When I first separated prior to my divorce I couldn’t afford the luxury of dinners out, there were a lot of start-up expenses to getting my own place and I was pretty up to my ears in debt that a leaky condo had dumped on me. My girls wouldn’t hear of me not coming to these dinners and insisted that my presence was required and picked up my tab for the first couple of times, which touched me deeply. They didn’t make me feel like I was accepting charity, they simply said it wouldn’t be the same without me and that I would do the same for them in different circumstances (truth).
Over time life circumstances changed so it got harder to make the dinners a regular occurrence anymore but we’d still get together on occasion, especially special occasions like landmark birthdays or people leaving. This time was Mon and my turn for a leaving party. The leaving of course was not by our choice and our dear friends wanted to throw us a proper goodbye gathering in our old stomping grounds. There were as always, lots of stories and tons of laughs. We were put in the back room because boy, we get REALLY loud and though the people who run the restaurant know and love us, their customers probably don’t all appreciate our raucousness though we’ve got many listening into our personal funny stories and laughing along with us. The ladies picked up our dinner, had brought cake and gave us each a card and a present, it was lovely. We never got a chance to say goodbye to anyone, so this was nice. Of course it isn’t really goodbye to these guys as we’ll still be getting together, but it was the acknowledgement of leaving that we never got that meant a lot to both of us.
We’ve met up with many of our former co-workers in various places over the last few weeks, including lunch and coffee near the old office where people came down to see us once they found out we were there. It was fun to see them popping out of the elevators, faces lit up and running over to us giving us hugs and, well some even squealing that they got to see us. It really is nice to know that people miss us personally yanno? More planned in the coming weeks too, it warms me.