I haven’t had a work wife yet. But I’ve had a work husband. Who was this husband? A man who I never thought in a million years would have turned out to be my office friend and spouse. We met abroad while we were both working in the Netherlands. When I found out where he was from, I started to say good morning to him in his language. He said that he found me curious. He came up with an exchange. I would teach him English, and he would teach me his language. I agreed. As a way to say thank you, he started cooking lunch for me, and boy was it good.
We started having lunch together on most days. During work he would come to my office for coffee breaks, even on demand! If I wanted to do so much as walk down the hall to the coffee vending machine (which I wish to God we’d get here in the States somewhere), he would leave his office, come to mine, and walk me down the hallway. On one of our trips to the coffee machine, I was making fun of him for some reason. Out of nowhere he blurted rather calmly, “I hate you, Sabrina.” I busted out laughing so hard I nearly peed in my pants. I went straight to the bathroom in a fit of laughter, did my deed and came out. He was still standing where I left him, wondering how what he said could have been so funny. He was laughing with me (or at me).
One night I stayed at work while I was working late on a paper that I needed to finish. It was due by midnight Eastern standard time, and thank goodness I had the six-hour time difference, because I took it to mean that I had until 6 a.m. Netherlands time. Needless to say, I knew it was going to be a long night. I think it was a Friday. Naturally, all the other interns had plans to go out and spend the night on the town. I asked my work husband if he could come back after he was done to “pick me up” (on his bike that is) around midnight or 2 a.m. when I thought I’d be done with my paper. I knew it was a stretch of a request, and in the end he said that he couldn’t come back to get me. But to my surprise and non-surprise he had actually considered it and had wanted to make it work.
I was so lucky to have him. Before meeting him, I had never laughed so much or so hard. We went out to dinner and bars on the weekends. We caught a live concert before Obama’s first election and he reveled with me in my joy when the singer started free-styling after I shouted Obama’s name from the audience. We cooked together for dinner parties at a co-worker’s house (ok, he cooked; I cut the cheese). At work I could call him whenever I needed him or wanted to hang, and the only words he’d say when he answered the phone were: “I’m coming.”
I left three months later. My internship was over and he stayed on at work. On my last day of running errands before I left, he came by my place to help me finish doing the things that I didn’t have time to do before leaving.
That was six years ago. Today, he lives across the ocean in his homeland. Although we probably will not see each other as often as we used to during that 3-month period that we were both working together, I will never forget the uniqueness of our friendship and the immediate closeness that we shared. He was my work husband. And the best part of our friendship is that he can still make me laugh.