Every once in a while you get to work with someone who just gets you. Someone whose camaraderie makes the work easier and more enjoyable. Someone who brightens the day with her smile. Someone who makes you laugh so hard you snort, or worse yet spew coffee all over yourself. Someone without whom you simply can’t imagine doing this work that you do.
My someone is Brandy.
Brandy and I worked concurrently in different departments of a previous employer for about nine years. We knew of each other, but never really got to know each other. We would smile our greetings in the hallways, but it was always distantly cordial. I held back because I assumed she was too fancy to be my friend. She held back because she assumed I didn’t cuss.
Fast forward to 2019. Brandy was working as a church secretary where the pastor had asked me to be his business manager. I kept calling the church office to finalize my start date, certain that I was annoying Brandy with my persistence. Even though she later confided that she wasn’t at first entirely sure what to expect from the prospect of working so closely with me, we formed a solid friendship rather quickly, reinforced in a matter of months by funeral cookie shenanigans, some furniture rearranging, and an after-work bottle of wine.
One day in that first year we were discussing our closets. Brandy mentioned finding her clothes hangers on sale and registered a look of mild confusion on my face. “Wait a minute, what kind of hangers do you use?” she asked, visibly bracing herself.
I replied honestly. “The plastic ones that the store uses. I like it when they let you take them home.” I looked to our friend Claire for support. Claire nodded and shrugged to indicate that she and I were on the same page.
Brandy threw her hands up and sat back in her chair. “Omigod, we cannot be friends.”
That Christmas Brandy gifted me and Claire with our own sets of pretty velvet hangers for our closets. Claire and I promptly bought more velvet hangers to outfit our entire wardrobes.
Because of Brandy’s influence I am permanently hooked on bougie skincare, Fr. Mike Schmitz podcasts and BruMate beverage containers. I am fascinated by balloon arches and charcuterie boards which she makes look effortless and luxurious.
Brandy was the first one to see and care for me after I faceplanted into a glass wall at work. She was at my side and filling icepacks the night Claire’s dog tried to bite my lip off. She’s a quoter of movie lines and a lover of songs. She wears the most cha-cha shoes and her signature color is pink. Brandy is never afraid to laugh at herself. She is witty and quick with the one-liners. She’s French Toast Mafia through and through.
I could not have possibly imagined all the joy I would get from working with Brandy. Hearing her talk sweetly to church members, help people on the phone and offer consolation to those who were hurting made me realize how perfectly suited she was for the position she held. In situations I knew I would surely botch had everything been relying on me, I watched Brandy put people at ease with her genuine kindness and thoughtfulness. She is treasured by parishioners almost as much as she is treasured by me.
Today is our last day of working together at the church. Brandy is moving on to a new and exciting job and she is going to rock its socks off. All her talents will shine where she is going, but there will be an emptiness in the place she leaves. I am terribly sad to lose my work bestie, even though I am so happy for her success. I feel like I’m losing half of my work-self and it’s going to be hard not to cry all day long. I dread the moment she leaves today. And next week? Please. I can’t even think about it.
I am so grateful to God for blessing me with this wonderful, beautiful friend whom I adore. Our shenanigans are not over. We’ll just have to move our morning meetings to after hours when our Brus can hold something other than coffee. Until then…
I love you, B, and I miss you already.