I haven’t met S for a long time, even way before the whole Covid-19 lockdown. We have known each other for 15 years. She is someone whom I can talk with, on anything and everything. Likewise. I to her.
I have tried to reach out to her for ages. But she has been busy with her career and Covid-19 turns her into a hermit, which doesn’t help. One fine day, she asked if we could meet up for lunch. With remote working, it is hard to meet people during lunch. Traveling to meet. The endless meetings. I hardly have time to eat in peace these days. How to find time to meet people during lunch?
So I proposed dinner. Since we live near to each other, I suggested Wine Connection at Robertson Quay. She counter-suggested Tiong Bahru Merci Marcel, a French restaurant that she hasn’t visited for a long time.
Sure! Merci Marcel is within walking distance from my home.
We opened a bottle of red wine. S was surprised that I drink (more so because we rarely meet for dinner and look, I don’t drink during lunch hours at work). Uh-huh. The dinner was really good. The wine collection, more to the expensive end, is varied and interesting. I would definitely revisit.
So we chatted. I enjoy chatting. Her dad recently passed away. I felt sad for her. She cried a little. My heart ached a little. I envy how her parents were used to be so loving together, all the way till old age. I wish my parents have such a blessed happy marriage.
I am someone who excels at compartmentalizing my life. There is work. And there is life. There is this vast majority of space I share with my wife. And there is this space of mine. I have different types of friends whom I can talk with, in different compartments of my life.
Unconscious restlessness, she said to me.
The great thing about chatting – at least to me – is that it is liberating. I am a man, yes. But deep inside, I am feminine. We don’t need to solve every jigsaw puzzle in life. We talk. We listen. The entire process may not solve anything. But it is liberating. We feel better afterward.
After dinner, S called a cab. And I saw her off. I have this weird feeling whereby, what if this was the last time we meet? After all, people drift away from each other. Just when she stepped into the cab – an image forever burned into my mind, there was lightning and thunder. Rain would soon come and I still needed to walk home.
Fortunately, I reached home right before the sky poured. This time, I am not drenched.
On a separate note, one good friend of mine at work – J – is retrenched. I feel for her. I know her boss well too. I said to her, I reckon it wasn’t easy for her boss too, to make that decision (I have made those decisions in the past and decisions in the past had also been made onto me). In the end, it is business. Work is work. J is the least experienced in her team. I can understand why her boss has to make that decision, despite how close they are at work.
It is business.
Compartmentalize things in life makes life easier.
We talked. And she confessed that she is not really good at her job, as yet. I said to her, find your strengths at work and work on that. Don’t waste time doing things you are not good at.
Good thing though, because J is a Singaporean. She enters a program whereby our company will place her into another part of the organization for reskilling for one year. If J is unable to find another role during that period, she will be retrenched for good.
Today, her boss called and wanted to extend her for another month.
W. T. H.?!
She felt obliged to be extended. I was like, look J, the team doesn’t want you. There is no future in what you do. Quickly find a new role and build your network. Use the time and find yourself another job!
I never look back on those who abandon me. Or those who don’t want me no more.