I had tried to do an A-Z blogging challenge a few years ago. I started with listing out what I’d write about with each alphabet, but never progressed beyond D. While going through old documents, I came across that list of A-Z, where the next one due, E, was for Emma. Emma was my first friend in this city. She extended the first hand of friendship when I joined my last workplace. Being the office administrator at the time, she got to decide who sat at which desk and because she liked me, she made space for me right next to her. That immediately landed me in a privileged place not just in knowing things about the company other than my immediate job, but also in having a window into Emma’s mind, life, quirks, habits and the amazing company she was!
Emma passed away suddenly last November. I have unsuccessfully tried writing past this sentence several times now. But thoughts of her continue to emerge at the most unexpected moments. Like when I see jammie dodgers in the supermarket I remember how she used to help stock up the office’s secret snack stash with all my favourites. Or every time I see any of my non-basic shoes I think about her approval messages which were mandatory for me before making the purchase. Sometimes when I ration my almond intake for a day, I think about how she’d take some almonds from me every day and then manage to have only one every couple of hours. But she was nuts because she used to starve herself too often – not just because she was calorie-conscious but also because she was poor at managing her expenses for the month. She’d spend £300 on a dress, call it a bargain, feel elated, and then next day tell me she didn’t have money for food. She represented the white-people-don’t-save stereotype I had. But she also busted all my myths about cultural differences between the east and the west. Humans and our behaviours at the basic level are identical irrespective of our country of origin. She felt the same pain and joy that I did. She patiently listened to my mundane stories like I’d known to expect from a good friend. We sneaked out for Friday breakfast catch-ups in Soho, she helped me pick my first red lipstick, she lent me confidence when I couldn’t find any in myself, she educated me about British culture, slangs and swear words, she laughed at my half-ass prudishness and encouraged my sassiness, she had-my-back-at-all-times.
She’d made me pick her name for the E blog post. So I’m hoping this works for her. And I’m also hoping she’s in peace. I miss her.