Today, at work, Siti and I watched dolphins swim alongside our tugboat as we traveled 4 hours from the offshore platform to mainland.
In all the years we’ve worked together, this is my favourite memory with her.
Siti joined the company several weeks before I did and though she was several years younger than I am, we clicked and started becoming friends. We’d more often than not got paired for projects and we worked mostly well with one another as we knew, more or less, one another’s strengths and weaknesses. She was more gregarious than I was and tended to get on with the clients better. I was more reserved. Though she seemed tough on the outside, she was actually sensitive to critiques while I tended to gloss over criticisms (mostly).
I remember a project we were on where the client was extremely difficult. We had simultaneous presentations in different rooms and when we were done, I checked in on her and saw that she was red-faced and her eyes were glistening with unshed tears. The client hadn’t allowed her to finish her presentation but mocked her throughout. She’d tried to soldier on but the comments stung and in the end, the client didn’t want to listen to her presentation. I think that incident was the straw that broke the camel’s back for her because several months after that, she left the company.
We kept in touch when she left, meeting up for lunches or dinners. We had to raincheck our last dinner plans, both of us citing increased workload and promised to set a new dinner date. We never got around to it.
Christmas Eve 2015, I received a text from an ex-colleague who worked with both Siti and me. Siti had passed away. It was sudden, she wasn’t ill. Complications from a major surgery she had early-2015 was suspected but to this day, I never found out. It didn’t matter.
Every time I think of her, I remember that trip with the dolphins and how I am the only one in the world who’ll remember that moment.
This post is dedicated to Siti.