By: Mia L. Hazlett
Yup. That was me. I was so full of ambition, but dumb as a brick. And I’m pretty sure with that last comment I’ve insulted bricks everywhere. I was eighteen and working my first real job. And boy was I in love with my boss, or so I thought it was love. It was a time in my life before heartache, hardening, and relationship cynicism existed. A time when if I felt it, I’d let you know…by email even.
So I honestly thought I was in love with my boss. I had worked up a magical love affair between us in my head and was sure he felt the same way. One night we stayed late at the office and he ordered us Chinese food. We worked on editing his presentation and he took off his tie and undid his top button. We shared about ourselves, families, life, (my age, how many siblings, and what I wanted to be when I grew up…he shared nothing personal about himself), and wrapped up the editing. He walked me to my car, waited until I was buckled in, and shut the door.
Now in my head at the time, or more so what I excitedly told my friend when I got home, we had just had our first date. He was cute. I was attractive. We just had dinner. He practically undressed in front of me. Even though we were working, he wanted to know everything about me. He walked me to my car and was such a gentleman, that instead of a kiss or hug, there was just a gentle touch to my shoulder as I slid into the driver’s seat.
Unfortunately, my friend was younger than I. She agreed and assisted me out of a job by helping me compose that dreadful email.
Tonight was magical. I am such an idiot. I like totally forgot to thank you for dinner. You were nice enough to order my favorite fried rice and I can’t believe I like didn’t say thank you. I wanted you to take off so much more than your tie, but you showed what a mature guy you were. I’m not used to boys being so polite and nice to me. That was sooooo romantic how you walked me to my car and opened and closed the door for me. I’ll see you in my dreams tonight when I’m asleep in my lonely bed.
xoxoxxoxoxo and more if you want it,
Now at thirty-five, I can laugh. Laugh really hard. I’ve saved that email along with my termination letter and at least once a year, my stupid friend, Kay, sends it to me verbatim. Sometimes it’s an email. Sometimes it’s a letter. And every time there is some random picture of a Siamese cat, because I did go to the CAT birthday party. But every time I read it, I laugh myself out of breath. We both laugh, because she too felt like she got fired that day.
I called her from my desk as I was collecting my belongings. I was a complete mess and couldn’t even think straight. Now I wasn’t exactly packing a “box”, because I just had pictures of me and Kay on my cork board and a blue rubber stress ball. The whole time I tried to put my jacket on, the stupid ball kept falling and rolling around. But I was so determined to take it with me because they weren’t going to get my ball. That ball added an extra fifteen minutes to my departure, but to this day I have it.
Kay was already waiting in my bedroom when I got home. I can’t tell you how many times we read that email trying to figure out what was wrong with it, but I will tell you she had to stay over that night. We held back on going to the mall and pondered my dilemma throughout the weekend. My dilemma was not so much that I had gotten fired, but it was my father’s friend who helped me get the job. This was going to be my college job. I could work there full-time during the summer and part-time during the school year.
But because we were so naive about corporate policy back then, we finally brought the email to my father and mother. Yes we did. We thought I had a case against them. We were going to sue them and get like a million dollars. Then we were going to buy houses next door to each other and have matching cars. That’s the thing about best friends, they can make you believe anything when you are both mad about the same thing. So off to my parents we went. I don’t know if my mother stopped my father from jumping over the coffee table to kill me, or if she was just trying to beat me first; but luckily I only received a slap upside my head. And that’s the thing about your best friend being like your sister, she got a slap too. We both decided my parents weren’t going to receive any portion of my settlement.
So seventeen years later and twenty-eight years into our friendship, Kay is still my best friend. The significance of that email, Mr. Andrew Anderson, is Kay’s father-in-law. The rumors were exactly that, rumors. He was happily married with not a daughter older than me, but a son, Sean, two years younger than me and a year older than Kay. They met two months after my termination. We didn’t know the relation until almost a year later, at Sean’s graduation party. I was clever enough in my avoidance, to not see his father again until the wedding. I wasn’t able to laugh at my immaturity yet, so leave it to Kay to read the email at her rehearsal dinner in her best set of cat ears. I was the only one not in hysterics.
But that is just a sliver of our friendship.
(To be continued)