Empty ChairPosted: February 27, 2011
It is 3am. In three hours I will walk into roll call and see his chair and he won’t be in it.
We came up in this job together. There have been moments of complete terror. Moments of exceptional pride in helping people for whom all hope had been lost. Moments where we said “they’re paying us to do this? I’d do this for free.”
I was prepared for his chair to be empty. The first one in the door is the first one to retire. That’s how it works. I knew I’d see the chair empty in a few months. I was prepared for that. He’d leave, I’d leave 18 months later.
I’m not prepared for this.
The day after the last funeral we attended, we talked about how we hated hearing Amazing Grace played on the bagpipes. We were never going to hear that song again. It was a settled issue. He finished his cup of coffee and cursed me for not having any at my desk for him. I cursed him back for not knowing after all these years I don’t drink coffee. He left to go on out on the street. As usual, I’d finish my paperwork and then follow.
Today I will face his empty chair. I’ll finish my paperwork and go out on the street.
Tuesday I will face the bagpipes.