The person who would talk sense to us


Last week, I had a little bit of free time to reconnect with a friend. We used to spend hours talking not only about work but about life in general. She was the kind of person who has seen so much and been through a lot and we see each other eye to eye. We have the same wavelength and once we start, topics usually flow endlessly.
In a usually crowded cafeteria, it’s like the universe conspired to bring us together in the same spot. The universe too, kept everyone out since we had the place to ourselves except for the lady manning the counter.
She just finished her doughnut and coffee while I was just ordering mine. She was seated in a corner trying to ignore the world but my usually observant eye didn’t miss her.
The conversation started with how we ordered the same thing and that was what it took for us to resume the last conversation we had which was over 6 months prior.
In the course of a few months, things had drastically changed for her. She lost a loved one — someone who was her own person and her source of strength and inspiration. With the death, I saw how the pain slowly ate her away and not once did she properly deal with the situation.
Perhaps, she didn’t have anyone to talk to openly and honestly. I apologised that I didn’t go to her loved one’s wake. I explained I’m not good with such a scenario. I told her that I cannot think of anything to say or do to make her feel better.
I’d been in her situation and no matter how people tell you that “You’d be okay,” you know within you that you will not. In the aftermath of a death, you can hear assurances but the trauma usually makes you feel jaded. People tell you things, give you assurances. They feel obligated to comfort you but you know to yourself that such comforting words don’t do any good and instead of telling people to stop talking, you nod and smile and thank them for their generous time. The truth is, you’d want to be alone — in your own shell, inside your own head, inside something that hopefully would comfort you.
I waited for a time that we can have a moment. The moment took so long as life got in the way. But I watched her retreat inside her self. From the usually positive and bubbly kind of person, she grew silent and easy to get angered. She would later admit that she lost interest in everything that used to give her joy. The most saddening part, she stopped caring. In fact, she was ready to hand in the towel and just be over and done with things especially work.
I said many things. She said many things. It was a conversation, an admission, an exchange. We were trying to understand and trying to make sense of things. Deep within me, I’d like for her to come back — to find a reason to move ahead. To stop dwelling and start moving.
But she strongly felt she had enough. She needed time for herself and was considering resigning. So instead of forcing her, I challenged her to give her last hurrah.
I told her that ending things is easy — whether its a job, or a relationship or life itself. I told her that once she makes the decision that she wants to quit her job, and once she acts on it, that’s pretty much the end of it.
But I told her that we owe it to ourselves to try giving our best before throwing in the towel. We strategised. I tried reminding her why she loves what she’s doing. I tried reigniting her passion and we finished the conversation exhausted.
But I noticed a change. There was something easy about her spirit. She started dull and morose and after the conversation, I noticed a tinge of lightness — a little bit of hope.
I feel a little bit of positivity or bravery, and the remaining fight within her. I was hoping it was there to stay.
Words have a way of either putting us down or helping us become better. I like meaningful conversations, ones that help us appreciate who we are and inspire us to change the worst in us. If ever I am in a dark place, all I ever wish is that I will have someone who will indulge me, who can spend the time talking with me so I will understand and make sense of the chaos that is usually just inside my head. In our most trying times, I hope we all find that one person who will talk sense to us… who’d tell us to give our last hurrah instead of just giving up right away.