We sometimes battle, and she lets me and my UNIX team know it. I like that, you know where you stand. Fair and honest are all one can ask for in the workplace. That’s why I took the time to walk down and talk to her about our latest issue. She deserved it.
We talked for a bit, and I explained our point of view and she told me hers. Once she saw that I acknowledged her issues, we quickly began to work through and come up with a plan, or the beginning of a plan. It was a successful trip, the kind that saves you from an email war or management escalation when a misplaced comma turns a sincere question into sarcasm.
I knew she once had it. Somehow I heard. These things come like echos from a distant canyon, no source, no destination, but all about you. We chat, she lived real adventures out West. Almost of its own volition I realize I want to tell her. When we pause and talk about the future it is the time.
“I don’t know if you heard, but I have cancer”.
I see the pain in her eyes, and she gasps and draws back covering her mouth with the fingers of her right hand. “I can’t even say that word”, she whispers to me, and I realize how terrible is the foe that we both share.
This small grey cubical we sit in might be in the middle of the desert and my white board diagrams no longer matter or make sense.
She leans in and touches my left hand with hers, and we talk strategy, radiation, chemo, strength and will and hope. She has my hand clasped between both her hands. Softly but strongly, ” I am here for you, babe”.
I can’t speak and so just nod my head. I feel the moisture gathering around my eyes and hope my glasses hide the glistening traces. Must be the damn meds.
We are back in the cube with the noise of business enveloping us. One more little confab then I walk away to the next battle.