When I was fifteen I spent most of the summer working my first job at Dairy Queen. I would arrive home from my shift standing in a boiling hot grill, covered in sticky goo, picking fish flies out of my hair, for $4.00/hour. My next door neighbors, the Jaxes, were over at our house one evening when I rolled into the house looking particularly disheveled, and the next week Mrs. Jax’s sister Eileen got me a job interview at the law firm she worked for. It was the greatest job a teenager could ask for. I mainly I just did my homework and listened to the crazy lawyers spew profanities and jokes and their sassy secretaries dish right back. It was something out of a TV sitcom.
Eileen was the sassiest of them all. She had long, dark hair and teal blue eyes that curved up at the edges, like a wood sprite. Here eyes literally sparkled, like there was always a laugh or a joke ready to come forth. She would sit at her desk, typing away and smoking cigarettes, taunting the attorneys and chatting with the other secretaries. She was fiercely protective of those she cared about. I always felt secure when she was around, knowing she wouldn’t take crap from anyone. Once a client got snippy with me, and Eileen charged over and gave him a talking to until he hung his head in shame and apologized like a penitent child.
I want to rage at whatever universal force has taken her from us so early. I want to shout that it’s not fair or right. It wasn’t her time. Her little boy needs a mom. I want to know why.
But there is no good explanation. There’s no reason. It just is.
So I choose to imagine Eileen in heaven, smoking a cigarette and rolling her giant blue eyes in mock disgust, and with a laugh in her voice saying, “Let’s get the party started here already!”
You will be missed, Eileen.