I used to work at a call center and it was about as bad as you can think it would be. Repetitive. Florescent. Uninspiring. You say the same thing to every caller. You take their order. You bid them goodbye. Then you do it again. But it’s a good job for students and moms who want something to do while their kids are at school. It’s a terrible job for someone who has no idea what to do with her life. The company sold software back in the pre-Internet days, back when it was a big deal when MS-DOS came out with version 6.0 and Windows made it to 3.0. So the call center would vacillate from being so busy with hundreds of callers all lined up and waiting impatiently to order software to being so library-quiet that I read Jurassic Park in one shift.
One of the women there had a shoulder and her chest covered in tattoos – unicorns and horses. A law school student, she was always in search of extra money to save up so she could get those tattoos removed. She was certain that no real office job would hire her with them. Fiercely intelligent, she also laughed with abandon, suffered no fools, and was the only one amongst us who was actively making plans to do something beyond answer phones all day. She was small, compact, and brown-skinned, which marked her as an immigrant to Seattle’s gray sunless skies. She drove a Jeep with puffy, bad-ass tires and seemed almost cavalier about the job despite the fact she needed it.
During the software industry’s slowdown in latest releases and not a caller on the line, she railed about her girlfriend. A break up. A get back together. A pattern established, a cycle seeming without end. They moved in together. Then the girlfriend moved out. And then it ended for good. Broken beyond repair.
Finding love in the big city is not for the faint-hearted. And people who love being in love have no easier time than the rest of us. They search for great heights, make grand proclamations, plant their flags in poorly lit locations. Then droop from the efforts. Rarely do we find the people who match our exuberance, our delight, our energy. Sure, the first six months are always amazing, but the proof is really after that.
Out of law school, tattoos removed, she joined a law firm. She foreswore love and focused solely on her career. That’s happened to a lot of us – some of us longer than others.
In her law firm there was another lawyer who was married – unhappily, mind you. The other lawyer and her husband were not bound for an ever after, sadly. A sad story, just like a happy story, is always in search of a friend to lean on. My tattoo-free friend was there to lean on. A friendship bloomed. The other lawyer got divorced and pow! Together, they were like a Fourth of July sparkler. They lit each other up and were both aglow. Gone was the cycle of ups and downs. Gone was the pattern of high highs and soul-crushing low lows of their last relationships.
They each had a dream for themselves, told to the other in maybe a whisper, maybe in surety. Since she was a little girl growing up in Hawaii, my friend expressed her long desire to have horses. The other lawyer said she’d always wanted children.
Armed with the knowledge of each other’s yearnings, they promised to deliver the dream of the other. Seriously, I know no other greater love than this. Within a few years of having met and moved in together, they had horses in their backyard and twin girls playing in a crib.
All of which is to say, there’s a chance for all of us to complete another’s wish. And like those two, to live happily ever after.