A (Belated) Birthday Note

I met her few months ago at my former office and instantly knew we’d become friends. For the next month she came to the office twice a week and we ALWAYS knew when she arrived. Her laugh filled the air in such a way that you would instantly smile when you hear it—unless you just killed a baby panda the previous night or something.

She reminded me of Kathryn Kuhlman, a female preacher I used to worship years back. She was very popular as she was anointed in such a way (hardcore Christian fellows, you know what anointed means, do you? If not, let’s grab a beer!) that every time she walked into a place, she changed the entire atmosphere and people would look at each other and say, “She’s here.”

That’s Michelle. Or Maya. Many times she introduces herself as Michelle. Sometimes as Maya, which reminds me to …Maya, the adorable daughter of Dr. Doolittle who can speak to animals. (Yes, that’s a Hollywood movie, and a good one—IMDb it for Christ’s sake). She already speaks 3 freaking languages before she decided to learn Indonesian. And she’s probably the only person around me whose French I can really understand, because she speaks with American accent.

I remember that afternoon. My head was filled with details of what happened the other day with a horrible guest that stayed at my place for 3 nights. He was not evil, he just had annoying habits, weird attitude and strange behavior, not to mention a very annoying smell. And I just didn’t have the heart to kick him out because d’uh, he’s in a strange country. Whatever. The rain was pouring when I met Michelle who was making a cup of hot tea. I made a cup of coffee and 5 minutes later found myself spilling every detail of what happened during those 3 days to her.

I’ll never forget her reaction. “Honey, you’re too kind!” in a thick American accent. I laughed out loud and suddenly felt better. A LOT better. It was my first laugh that day. We chatted some more, and more, and I forgot that I had a pile of work waiting for me. She left an hour later. I stared at my abandoned papers and that’s how I knew I got a new friend.

Many weeks later, we had lunch, exchanged Facebook messages nearly every day talking about random stuff, went for a vacation, shared a coconut, abused high-speed internet at a café to download TV series and basked in a comfortable silence together. She cooked me lunch and I slept on her couch. Looking back, it’s truly amazing what a simple conversation can bring. I guess I should thank my horrible guest.

Here’s to my dear Michelle, or Maya, who just celebrated her birthday 2 weeks ago (what? 2 weeks is not too late unless it’s your period!): I am grateful that you are here in this world. I can’t be happier seeing how beautiful our friendship has grown, as much as I enjoy your presence, every talk, every silly thing, and every laugh we share together. Here’s to abundant happiness and blessing coming your way. Here’s to endless joy waiting to multiply in your life. And thank you for being in my life. I’m glad we met. I just am.


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