Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Years ago, Mary and I worked for the same company and occasionally rode the el to and from work together. She was high-energy, even a little tense -- not unusual for those drawn to the agency world -- with two little kids and a husband who seemed not terribly helpful. She said he worked in an administrative capacity at a university and was home every day well before 5:00. Yet often Mary would say, "I have to stop and pick something for dinner." She would say cryptic things about how her husband was "preparing for another poker party."

Shortly after the agency we worked for folded, we ran into one another at the post office. Perky little Mary told me she and her kids were about to travel to DC to visit friends ... and to be away when her husband moved out. She told me about how he'd always been a lazy drinker, that his money was his money and her money was their money, that she had not been happy for years. It was a strange setting to hear all this -- I was buying stamps at the dispenser under the fluorescent post office lights and she was telling me about years of misery. But it seemed important to her to get it all out.

Fast forward to nearly two weeks ago. It was really cold, so I was wearing my my big, black down coat -- the one that makes me look like Ralphie's kid brother Randy from A Christmas Story. As I moved to the revolving door, I heard a tentative, "Gal?" Yes, it was Mary. After a decade, there we were, working together in the same 83-floor steel behemoth.

We only chatted for a moment, long enough for me to learn that she is a freelance contractor with a client in my building, and for her to take off her glove and flash a diamond at me. "Look!" she said, with a smile as bright as her ring. "I'm remarried and I got it right this time!" I gave her my business card and she promised to call me for lunch.

When I didn't hear from her right away, I assumed she wasn't serious about reconnecting. But today we had lunch.

She is so happy! Her new husband is named Paul and they met on e-Harmony. He gets along well with her kids (now 14 and 11). She was more serene than I ever recall her being. And I am ashamed by how happy I am to report she's gained a ton, too! I know, I know, that's terrible of me. But this morning, when I was getting dressed for work, I was actually worried about how fat she would think I looked. I admit it -- deep inside I'm shallow.

I was also happy that at one point, when I was blathering on the way I do, she touched my arm and said, "See? This is what I missed about you!" Like I'm some funny, audacious thing. I was surprised (after all, we were never that close) but it pleased me a great deal.

She invited me to "friend" her on Facebook and hopefully we'll see one another again.


  1. How fun! Sometimes we don't realize the impact we've had on other peoples' lives. And now it sounds like you can rekindle a friendship with someone who truly appreciates you.