Somewhere close by, someone’s phone is buzzing.
“I think that’s yours,” I say.
Nevertheless, Tamra and I both turn, open our respective desk drawers. And as we do a dozen times a day – and usually erroneously – we check our phones for messages.
Tamra stares at her screen, disappointed. “I think we’ve been trained,” Tamra says, putting her cell away.
I nod. My screen is blank. I put my phone back in my purse.
“I’m going to miss these times,” I say.
Tamra nods, and we are silent. Tamra, a woman who once told me “I have five pounds to lose” and then – get this! – ate smaller portions until she had lost those five pounds; a person who sometimes hums what may or may not be hymns when she is stressed; a coworker with whom I share an unspoken agreement that we will always “dress” for work – that we will always accessorize, when possible – is leaving our shared Double-Wide Cubicle of Infinite Corporate Happiness.
She told me, bright and early on a Monday morning.
“Well that can’t be true,” I had said. “Why do you lie to me?”
She had shrugged. “For sport, mostly.”
But she hadn’t been lying. And now, just a short two weeks after letting me, her work life-partner, know of her intention to move to greener, more lucrative pastures, the end has come.
“Do you want my highlighters? My staples? Here – I know you collect those little salt and pepper packets.”
Tamra, digging through her desk drawers and knowing my plan to hunker down in skyscrapers when The End comes, hands me the small pile of seasonings she has collected over the years.
“When I’m salting my meals during the Apocalypse,” I say, “I shall think of you.”
She smiles at me. “Oh, you’ll think of me more often than that,” she says.
And it’s true.
I’m not at all happy about this. And I shall think of her often.
Good-bye, Tamra. Your new company is lucky to have you.