For a departed friend


A few months ago, a friend, someone I’d known for almost twenty-five years, suddenly passed away. 



Friend?  No, it was a far more complex relationship than that.  We were co-workers first; we shared an office back in the late 1980s; there was a big partition between our desks, but we both smoked, so we could each see the smoke rising from the other side of the office, and we could listen to one another’s completely fascinating telephone conversations.



Then, for about two years, I actually worked for her.  She was irritable and finicky, but we actually got along pretty well; once, however, she refused to speak to me for three days because she thought I’d neglected to say “good morning” to her. 



It was one of those relationships.



After that, we were just friends.  We always talked in the hallway.  I used to run into her in the market frequently; her stories were endless, but I enjoyed them anyway.  She was smart, and extremely opinionated, and completely fearless about telling you what she thought.  (My new boss told me several times that he’d like to be rid of her.  I never had the nerve to say it out loud, but I always thought: Good luck.  You will never be rid of her. And good for her.)



Partner knew her too, because we ran into her in the local grocery store with some regularity.  Sometimes she’d stop and give me a ride, especially in the wintertime. 



She was intelligent, and very sure of herself, and very stubborn.



And now she’s gone.



As always, when someone I care about passes away, I keep wanting it to be a mistake or a joke.  I think: It’s not real.  She’s still around somewhere.  She’ll walk through the door in a moment, and we’ll have a good laugh about all of this.



(Now, a few months later, I keep seeing her in the street, or going in the door ahead of me.  Naturally it’s just my failing eyesight.  But I think my brain wants it to be her.)



Hey, you, upstairs, whoever’s in charge of this stuff: this has got to stop.  This has gone a little bit beyond a joke.



Stop killing off my friends and family.



I rely on them for so much.


About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

4 Responses to For a departed friend

  1. She sounds like the kind of woman who says what the rest of us are thinking. I’m glad you had her in your life, but I am very sorry for your loss.

  2. Too few of her are ever around. I miss her based just on your description.

    • She could be a pain, but she was very funny, and very smart. I keep seeing her coming in and out of the office, and it’s always someone else; I guess I keep hoping it’s not true. and she’s not dead after all.

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