Yesterday, I was coerced to say a few words at a memorial service.
Perhaps “coerced” is too kind a word. I was late for a memorial which I wasn’t scheduled to attend. I attended because the Big Boss called in sick.
I arrived at the funeral parlour towards the tail-end of the memorial service; the part where friends and colleagues were expected to deliver a eulogy. All eyes were on me when the Pastor asked if anyone else would like to say a few words; someone from the office, perhaps.
Totally unprepared, I started with the same old tired line: “I have known … have known…hmm…”
The Pastor sitting near me piped, “Irene”
“…Irene..for quite some time.”
“Irene and I worked together on M & A projects. We spent many good nights arguing over valuations, complained endlessly over unreasonable timelines and cry when deals fall through?”
I knitted my eyebrows and tried my best to talk about a generic occasion or setting where Irene and I would have worked together; because frankly, I can’t for the life of me even recall working with an Irene previously.
Someone sobbed loudly.
I looked up and saw a lady in the front pew, carefully drying tears off a shiny new gold-coloured smartphone with a balled-up tissue.
Not knowing what else to say, I decided to end my eulogy by offering my condolence to the family.
When I got back to my seat, my colleague leaned towards me and whispered, “I think you have got the wrong Irene. This is Irene, the office tea lady.”