I have a buddy. She and I have known each other for twenty-seven years. We were co-workers. I was a new hire and she was one of the veterans assigned to show me around. We didn't work in the same department until I got promoted a few times, over a few years.
She was accounts payable and I was (eventually) accounts receivable/credit & collections. We both reported to the controller (and what a piece of work he was--another time.) Prior to my assignment to accounting office services we were just elevator and break room buddies. 'Hey, howya doin' kind of buddies.
During the years that we worked virtually, side-by-side, we shared confidences. She knew of my crumbling marriage, mom, brother(s) and kid(s) issues. I knew of her cheating boyfriend who had at least two outside children (one of whom she ultimately adopted,) her mom and brother issues.
The company was sold and the new owner re-organized. She was one of about 60 to be laid off. She and her mother sold their house, bought a new house in a small town very much south of Chicago. She went to work in a doctor's office and she, her mother, daughter and (I guess) no longer cheating boyfriend, settled in to enjoy the slower pace of the smaller town.
In the beginning we kept in touch with letters (me,) emails and cards. Time passed and it became e-cards and a few emails. The emails were fewer and farther between and the e-cards stopped. Then the forwards began. Chain letters, electronic blessings, *funny* stories, pictures, inspirational and patriotic messages; any and all matter of junky noise.
Out of some sense of camaraderie and in honor of what we once meant to each other; I opened, read and forwarded as instructed. At some point I stopped the forwarding. Then, I stopped opening. Now, I'm deleting on sight. I'm a few beats away from coding her address as spam.
We haven't *spoken* since her mom died two years ago, just days before my buddy's birthday. In the interim, I sent cards, letters and 'hey, howya doin emails.' What I get back is the chain; forward this to ten people and receive a blessing, or open this for funny pics, or some other junky noise missive.
I have a buddy that I thought was a friend.
On the other hand, I got an actual letter, written on paper, in ink, from another former co-worker who told a funny story about her thirteen year old, almost six foot tall, son, Moses. She seems to always get a letter to me around my birthday. Whenever it arrives, it never fails to amuse and uplift.
See ya, I've got a letter to write.