February 26th, 2014
In Memory of John
I don’t know John. In fact, before that day, I didn’t even know his name. For me, he was just a front desk guy of the office building.
A routine life is like a jigsaw puzzle, every piece has to be at its place to complete the whole picture and sometimes some pieces are replaced by others. On my way to work; I unknowingly expect certain things at a certain places, like the kids waiting for a school bus, the queue at the bagel shop, that specific pothole I avoid or the people standing at a bus stop…John was one of them, expected to be seen on my way to elevators. Sometimes with a greeting and sometimes just a smile.
A middle-aged mustached man observing people through his glasses. He usually wore a black suite & tie with black shiny shoes just like in the movie “men in black”, maybe his uniform or a dress code. Personally, I didn’t know him, but he seemed a typical working-class guy, working hard for his family. A person who loves to spend time with his kids or grandkids.
That day, I didn’t see him in the morning. After lunch, when passing by the front desk, I saw his picture with the title “In loving memory of John” on a sign frame. I stopped, came back and read the sign again. It was shocking. “Has he… “, the thought crossed my mind. On asking the new front desk guy said, “Yes, he passed away last week”. I was like “What! I saw him a few days ago… how?”. He replied, “He had a heart attack”. With this awful news, I started walking towards the elevator. Slow steps, uncertain and pondering…
I felt sad for days, but time makes incidents ultimately irrelevant. Despite of being strangers, I felt a connection. May be a human instinct or just a missing piece of a jigsaw puzzle.