I met Brenda a few years ago when I got a job at a clothing boutique in my neighborhood. I loved the store, I loved my coworkers, I loved the owner, I loved our retail neighbors. I loved that place. That place employed many women and each of us would arrive for work in our fashionable attire, accessorized with a trendy tote of the baggage we all carry that comes with living. Brenda's bag contained a painful divorce after 30+ years of marriage, and many a time when business was slow, we'd talk over the jewelry counter about her troubles. She was trying to adjust to a very different life than the one she'd known for so long and it ebbed and flowed daily. She ended up leaving the store for full-time employment elsewhere, and when this recession started forming, the store that was so beloved by so many became one of its earliest casualties.
The friendships I made working with all of those people remains one of the loveliest surprises of my life. Like the good mom of three kids, Brenda made sure we all stayed in contact and we'd get together occasionally to catch up. Now, Brenda is leaving her life here to take a job managing a store in San Francisco. After all those years of carrying that tote and all its baggage, she gets to start anew, rewrite her story and be in charge of the narration.
I can't even think about her not being around to meet for a cup of coffee, a bottle of wine or sampling some of her cooking without it making me cry. She has been a dear friend to me and my family as well as many others, but her time to shine has arrived. Like watching a bird who's broken wing has been mended, our Brenda is about to fly.