Sometimes good people break my heart.
I have a coworker. Had. Today was her last day; she is moving to a better opportunity. She’s from Bangladesh. I stayed at work late one day, and she was there as well, and we had a conversation, and she was a journalist, before. She moved to the states because her husband was here. Her first language isn’t English, so she couldn’t do journalism any longer. She got a new degree. She started over. I asked her some questions, and she shared how hard it was to live here, far away from her family, doing things she’s not as passionate about, being surrounded by people who are on different pages, and I felt the world get a little bit heavier as I was processing her words. We became friends of sorts, after that. I’d say hi to her when I passed her desk, and we’d have micro conversations. occasionally.
She invited a few of us to a goodbye dinner. She expected to pay for everyone. I wonder if it is a cultural thing. Here, when someone is leaving, they don’t pay for everyone else’s food. Usually the person leaving is the one that gets free things. She also doesn’t make a lot of money. We paid for her. She ended up being very embarrassed and sad. She said she wouldn’t have asked us out to dinner to make us pay.
Before the meal started, she told us to choose everything we wanted. She said she wanted it to be very special — a very memorable experience. And it was. For different reasons. She talked about how grateful she was for all of us. I wondered whether or not I deserved that kind of gratitude. I felt like a fraud. I thought of all the different ways I could have been a better friend. How happy she was that I had given her what I gave her, and I didn’t give her a lot.
I wish I deserved that affection, but mostly my heart hurts in a hopeful sort of way knowing there are people like her in the world to care.