Only a small handful of people at work have been let in on the nature of my relationship with Pete. I’ve wondered if some thought we had other things going on, but I try my best to just stick to the story of us being good friends. It’s still amazing to me that he chose me to show his other side to. Dude had been here for 3 years on and off and only a handful of people were fortunate enough to know him outside of his title, Mr. Pete. I talked to a woman recently who spoke like everyone, of seeing him that Friday before he died, and him not being at work the next week. She said how sad it was that he died of a heart attack so young. I smiled weakly and said “yeah, its rough.”
I have a work email address (check ME out!) and I’d gotten locked out a while back, which is why my colleague had to be the one to show me his email about Pete’s passing. I finally made it over to IT to get my password reset. Truthfully, I just wanted a copy of the email that changed my life forever. I saw that so many coworkers shared their surprise that such a good guy had gone. Quite a few times since his passing, I’ve talked to people here and they’ll admit not knowing him well. I know they haven’t done anything wrong, but that makes me so freaking angry. Peter was so much more than a goddamned co-worker. I love his influence on the kids, and I respect their grief over him. Just today I had to encourage one of the youth leaders to try to get the kids to give the new staff a shot. Pete would want that. He wouldn’t want the kids shooing of anyone else. Pete and I often discussed the kids and he was passionate about what he did. I feel like the least I can do is to keep everyone lifted and remind them that it’s okay to move on. No doubt that’s what he’d want.
But on the days when I show for my internship, I immediately start mapping out landmarks. That’s where Pete and I first met. That’s the office where we had the long conversation about drugs. That’s where he stood when my coworker pointed him out to me and I silently watched him chat with my supervisor. That’s the spot where he read my Facebook post about jokingly looking for a sugar daddy. That’s the facility’s room where I’d often see him coming out of when I was I walking on the path that connected buildings. That’s the spot in my supervisor’s office on the couch where he told me he was attracted to me too. Being here is a walking reminder. Work being slow on the intern front doesn’t help either. I sit here and I blog. I think about him. I chat with his old coworker. I cry.
For those that I trust, I share who he was to me. But for others, I share the story of him being that cool ass guy. He and I promised one another that we’d keep some of our more intimate conversations between us. And for the sake of keeping things together on my professional end, I stick to that. But some days are so hard. I almost resent how much these other people don’t know how much more incredible he was. Shit, you thought he was cool as hell at work? Man, get that fool off the clock and listen to his wild stories. This internship used to be magical. Don’t get me wrong, it still is. I told HR yesterday how much I love how functionally dysfunctional the team is here. The staff is so quirky, but they work incredibly together to make things happen. I swear, I fit in so well. I love the kids I see in passing on a regular. I love getting to inspire them. But other days, I’m here with spirit Pete and I just want to curl up in a ball and jump in a hole. Days like today.