Some six years ago, I would have been horrified to introduce her as my friend, since I didn’t really feel comfortable with her around. It still feels weird to call her my friend, but I guess we are friends now.
She came to the department a few months after I was hired, and we were teammates for a year or so, until she decided to leave the company. When I first saw her I felt that I had to get to know her better – she looked just like the type I could be great friends with. She grew her hair long and wore glasses like I did, and dressed and carried herself almost like I did (someone at work even mistook me for her). She looked like the type I could talk books and shit with, probably because she reminded me of a point in my life when I cared deeply about how I saw myself in relation to the world and everything in it. By the time I met her my angst had been replaced with apathy, and the introspective me had been pushed aside by a need to blend in and go with the flow. She reminded me of my younger self; but unlike me, she has chosen to stand her ground and be who she is. She was a mystery that invited intrigue. She was smart and hardworking, but she kept mostly to herself. The team did not really understand why, and for my part I knew she was just waiting for a chance to open up, but I was too busy complaining to the others about her to help speed that chance up. Now that I think about it, I probably did not reach out to her because she felt like a threat – she was a younger and better me.
I don’t know how it happened, but somehow she wormed her way into the team and we all saw how cool and fun she was (which just affirmed how good a judge of a character I am). And before I was able to get close, she left. She moved back to her hometown, and Sunshine and I relocated to another place. I opened up a Facebook account, saw Yayet Ann on it, and added her up. Even then we didn’t really exchange messages or post on each other’s walls. I sent her a message to congratulate her on her pregnancy, on the birth of her daughter and similar stuff, and she replied and in turn sent messages on Christmas and Mother’s Day and what-not. We were colleagues at work and Facebook friends.
Lately though, I have been thinking a lot about her and two year old Malaya Aleksandra Irie, her daughter. Malaya was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome, and they have been battling (countless tests, trips to specialists, hospitalization) this disease for six months now. Malaya is currently taking medication, but she has to undergo renal biopsy for the doctors to determine why her kidneys are leaking proteins, and what should be done to help them function well again. It is very sad to know that someone as young as her is suffering from a condition like this. I do not know why I feel so much for Yayet and Malaya – maybe because I’m a mother too, and if I were in Yayet’s place I would not know how to get through this ordeal; or maybe because I feel I can finally be a friend to Yayet by praying for her family and helping her spread the word about Malaya.
I know one thing, though. Malaya needs help, and we are knocking on your kind hearts to help Yayet’s family fund Malaya’s renal biopsy. Alternately, you can visit her blog to view (and maybe purchase) her artwork, which helps her redirect the stress and negative emotions and energies brought about by Malaya’s condition, or visit this page to view her hand painted canvas tote bags for sale, perfect for lugging small necessities around.