Relationships: Last a Lifetime

Stepping into a new position brought along a few surprises. People I grew up with wandered into my office, smiling a bit in surprise, and content to greet an old friend. I struggled with a few meetings, laughed through others, and cried after still more. My life was dancing before my very eyes, and I struggled with the reality of facing all those years. I knew when I focused on the mass of files stacked on every bare inch of my desk that I was in for a few surprises. The surprises came with familiar faces and well-known names.

An electrician who set our barn on fire in childhood grumbled at the thought of my doing his accounting, but left smiling, trusting me with his prized numbers. Another business owner parked in front of my desk to ask me questions and later left me his accounting. A chef, ripped through my office with purpose and poise, if not grace, leaving a wake of tumbled pencil holders, only to return and ask me a favor. The peer of my parents grumbled about my presence while begging me to explain depreciation to him, and reluctantly accepted my explanation, insisting later that I take care of his taxes.

Each understood the dynamic presented, suffered the excruciating principles, and accepted the concept of meeting progress at the expense of a bit of privacy. But, there was one more.

A treasure left for a Monday afternoon, when my day had gone awry, and my life wrapped tightly around a momentary crisis, he strolled into the office slowly, appearing lost. I greeted him with a smile. An old friend, one who lived just down the street. It had been his fault I fell off the horse, nearly breaking my arm when I was 7. His curls had been a source of mass frustration when my own hair tumbled in straight lengths down my back. I can't remember when I didn't know him.

"Where's my accountant?" He asked in confusion.

"He left. He relocated up north somewhere." I smiled understanding. "Can I help you?" I offered gently.

"I need some help with my payroll?" He answered slowly.

I handed him a folder and indicated it was done. He looked at the folder and said, "My wife always did it." "She had it well organized." I answered, smiling back at him. "It made it very easy to figure the numbers and organize everything."

He stared at the floor. I gathered the rest of his accounting, placed the important papers in a folder for him to take with him, and opened a page of numbered directions. "This will help you get things together so I can do the Fiscal Year books." I explained, pointing to the list.

"I don't know if I can do it." He spoke softly. I understood. "She always did that for me."

"If you need help, my number is at the top of the page, I'll come out and help you get it together." I smiled, encouraging him.

"I miss her," He breathed. His voice soft and weakened.

"It's tough, but I know you'll get through this." I smiled, my own eyes filling up with tears, for his loss. "You're not alone, my friend. You have many shoulders to lean on, and as much help as you need to get through this time. I'm there for you." I want to reach over and tussle the curls I was once so jealous of. But I sit poised behind my desk.

As he left, I walked him to the door, patted his shoulder, and gave him a caring hug, the kind only old friends are allowed. Tears dripped down my cheeks as I watched him walk to the truck, and disappear down the street. Youth ebbed that moment, and an understanding that requires years of experience erupted through the calm, breaking the silence in a heart felt sob as I turned back to my desk.

His life partner was gone, he was alone, the lone wolf walking through the forest that is life, without the one he cared more about than himself, for many years. Suddenly, the job didn't matter. My career made no difference at all. I only wanted to share a moment of living with my family, a bit of hope with someone around me, and the day. Just one more day. I prayed for a day without loss, or pain, or crisis, for my friend. I prayed for a moment of loving memory that would bring a smile to his lonely face.

I long to see the freckles crinkle into a grin, one more time.

Copyright © 2005 ? Jan Verhoeff

Jan Verhoeff brings heart to the center of business. A staple of relationships, the heart and soul are required for building a successful business. Visit her at eBiz Brand Performance.

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