My Friend Molly

Last week I met up with Molly and she gifted me her beautiful painting titled “The Migration of Eels.” I was honored to accept the invaluable gift my kids helped pick out. They love eels, especially eel sushi; therefore, they immediately gravitated to it. What I love about this particular painting is that her vision of eels are much more colorful than the slimy creatures. If the real eels look like the eels in the painting, people would keep them as pets rather than making sushi with them. I love her imagination and I am glad to see that she is doing what she had always dreamed of. She is much happier than before.

In retrospect, Molly played a key role in my life. When I was working at Vassar College, I went through some tough times until I met someone special. Just as we started dating, she found a new job in Virginia. My heart almost crushed when she told me. I had two choices to make. I either kept working at Vassar College or I needed to find a new job in the DMV area. If I stayed I might lose what we had just started. I applied for web design positions at George Mason University and George Washington University, but I was not too optimistic because higher education always took forever to get the hiring process rolling. To my surprise though, I received a call from someone at The George Washington University School of Business just a couple of hours after I submitted my application. She asked me if I would like to schedule an interview. I came to D.C. to meet with her and some key administrative and faculty members at the business school. The interview process took the entire day. I thought I did well, but I didn’t expect a call the next day offering me a job. She wanted me to give in my two weeks notice at my current job and to come to D.C. as soon as possible. She was aggressive and I had a feeling what I was about to get into.

As I had predicted, our working relationship turned out to be testy at times. She was a challenging boss, but caring and encouraging on the personal level. After three years, the school of business had gone through some major changes. Most of us, especially Molly, were miserable. She was no longer my supervisor and we all answered to a young kid who had no clue about communications and technology. At that point, I knew I needed to move on. I ended up at George Mason School of Law and I have been happy here till this day. Molly went on to other universities including Mason, but she was still struggling to get by. She finally decided to end all of this political nonsense in the working environment and to just paint. She had a degree in painting after all. It is not easy to make a living off painting, but she seems to be doing good. I truly am happy for her.

When we met up last week, she brought a friend with her. We sat in an Irish Pub, drank gin and tonic, and reminisced on the good old days. Her friend was quite a drinker. He washed down two Martinis and countless glasses of wine. I had two gin and tonic and I was buzzing. She made my blush when she told her friend my two sentences of how my wife and I met. She recounted, “She lifted out her hand. He held her hand and she didn’t take her hand back.” Our story reminded her of her grandparents’ love story, which was also told in two sentences. Her grandpa said to her grandma, “I decided to be a priest. Then I met you.”

As we hugged goodbye, she said to me, “I love you, my friend.” I was touched. I realized that I have a friend. Even though we see each other once in a blue moon, I truly treasure our friendship. I suppose we don’t need to see each other often to be friends. Even once in a while is still good—as long as we think of each other. Until we meet again, take good care of yourself, my friend.