Wednesday, December 28, 2022

December 28: Started to Work, Best Friends, "Charlotte's Web"

But remember to sleep, he thought. Make yourself do it and devise some simple and sure way about the lines. Now go back and prepare the dolphin. It is too dangerous to rig the oars as a drag if you must sleep.

I could go without sleeping, he told himself. But it would be too dangerous.

He started to work his way back to the stern on his hands and knees, being careful not to jerk against the fish. He may be half asleep himself, he thought. But I do not want him to rest. He must pull until he dies.

Santiago knows how to fish.  In fact, it's all he really knows.  That and baseball.  His whole life has been salt water and currents and waves and weather.  The sea is his best friend.

It was the last day of work at the library for one of my best friends.  She's accepted a new job and is really excited about it.  However, she's been at the library for 15 years.  You can't be at a job that long without it becoming a part of who you are, like the sea and Santiago.  So, she's excited and sad at the same time.

I'm happy for her, but I know that I'm going to be a little lost in the office without her.  In the last few weeks, we spoke about big life changes.  Letting go of things that are important to you and, somehow, being at peace with that letting go.  It's not easy.  

When she told me that she'd accepted a new job, she said that she felt guilty leaving me.  We've seen each other through a lot of difficult things in the past few years.  A global pandemic.  Family deaths and illnesses.  The normal day-to-day headaches of work and family and life.  What we have learned in the years we've shared an office is this:  we are very similar people.

One of the biggest things we bonded over is that we both had siblings with special needs.  She lost her brother a while ago.  I lost my sister this year.  In a lot of ways, my sister with Down syndrome was the center of my family.  The same was true of my coworker's life with her brother.  We both knew the joys and heartaches of a childhood with someone who faced immense challenges every day.

I've haven't met a lot of people who understand that side of my life so much.  When my sister passed in January, my coworker understood that feeling of being unmoored.  Adrift.  So, tomorrow, when I step into my office, it will feel pretty empty.

I've been thinking a lot about the last words E. B. White wrote in Charlotte's Web:  "Wilbur never forgot Charlotte.  Although he loved her children and grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart.  She was in a class by herself.  It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.  Charlotte was both."

Words are powerful things.  My friend and I talked every day about words in our office.  The job she did revolved around words.  So does mine.  We both know that words can help and hurt, build up and tear down.  I'm sure that I will get along with whoever is hired to replace my friend, but that person will never quite take her place in my heart.  She truly is in a class by herself.  

Saint Marty will never forget her.

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