The following contributed via email by Steven Rogers:
I’ll never forget the day that I first met Emily. She walked, practically skipping, into OfficeMax. She had that bright infectious smile and asked for a job. We talked for a bit and after she left I told my store manager that we needed to hire her. She had so much pride and passion in her work, which can be hard to find in the youth of today. Emily really loved learning new things and I really liked teaching, so we got along really well.
After a few months we started to build a friendship on top of our working relationship. We would talk about what was going on outside of work and offer some advice or encouragement if needed. We learned that our Birthdays were only one day apart and we both thought that was really neat. In 2013 we decided to go and see Oz the Great and Powerful in theaters for our birthday. It was the first time that we hungout outside of work.
It wasn’t until after she left OfficeMax that our true friendship began to develop. At first glance people might wonder how we could be such compatible friends. I often playfully teased her about being to young to remember any of my 90’s kid references. I think it really just comes down that the simple fact that we both enjoyed the simple things in life. We didn’t need to be doing anything to have fun. We enjoyed playing card and board games, cooking, just talking on the phone for hours about nothing, or sometimes just sitting on a hill enjoying the peaceful bliss of good weather on a beautiful day.
I never told her, though she probably wouldn’t believe me anyway, but I never let her win at anything. If it seemed like she won too easily she would just smile and accuse me of letting her win so she didn’t feel bad about losing. When we weren’t at home playing games and cooking, we would usually be out shopping or going out to eat. Emily loved to go shopping. We would often go to Knightdale just to walk around and shop and talk for hours.
The whole time we were friends Emily always made it seem as if I was teaching her. She seemed to think that I was some life guru that always had the answers, but the truth is that Emily was teaching me more about life that I could ever hope to teach her. Emily never let anything stop her. If she wanted to accomplish something she did. One time while trying to convince me that I could do the same, she said very proudly “I wanted to move out and I did!”. I will always be grateful for the time that we spent together and the memories we created. I only knew Emily for a couple of years, but it felt like we had been friends forever.
And now I’ll share a couple of stories. I’m sorry that they are probably not the funniest in the world, but the truth is we didn’t need to do anything to be laughing or having a good time. Just hanging out together, literally doing absolutely nothing, would often create random and intense laughter. I don’t know. I can’t explain it.
1. After hours gas pump:
One night we were going to hangout at my house after work. She didn’t really know how to get there yet so she had to follow me there, but she needed to stop for gas. I pulled into a gas station and parked so that she could put gas in her car. She gets out of her car and yells “What are you doing? They are closed!”. I said “yes of course they are, but you can still get gas”. She persisted and said “NO! they turn the pumps off when they close”. To which I replied “No they leave them on so that you can use your debit card if they are closed” I told her to try it. She was so amazed. She had no idea that you could go to a gas station after hours. Again not terribly funny, but if you’ve ever seen Emily’s reaction as she learns something new about something that seems so simple…well…its quite amusing.
2.The Starbucks Queen
Emily loved Starbucks, but there were a couple times that showed that she wasn’t quite at the Starbucks Barista level. One of our favorite drinks was the Very Berry Hibiscus. They have a few different fruit flavored drinks, but only one Hibiscus. On one trip to Starbucks I simply said “I’ll have a venti Hibiscus”. To which Emily very confidently responded “You have to say ‘Very Berry’ so they know what kind it is”. We went back and for a little bit as I tried to explain that there was only one Hibiscus even though there were a few similar drinks. When the barista finally corrected her she was a little embarrassed.
Another time we were at Starbucks and I ordered a peppermint mocha. It is mostly promoted during the holidays, similar to pumpkin spice, but is actually available year round. Of course I ordered my coffee and she had to correct my “mistake”. She never waited for the barista to say anything, she wanted to flex her Starbucks knowledge. And without a seconds hesitation after Emily said “you can only get that during the holidays”, the barista corrected her and explained that you could get a peppermint mocha all year.
3.The shrinking jacket
On one of our shopping trips, we were in Ross in Knightdale. Emily was looking at a nice leather jacket. She tried it on and it fit nice and she really liked it. We left that day without buying it. We came back a few days later on another shopping trip. I decided that I wanted to surprise her and buy the jacket for her. We went over to the rack and she picked the jacket up and was telling Hanna about how much she liked it, but she made the mistake of not trying it on again. So we walk around some more and I am able to get away from them, purchase the jacket, and take it out to the car all without them knowing. Once we get down the road and are on the way home I give it to her. She was so happy. This was not the same jacket from before though. I made sure to ask her if it was before I purchased it, but I guess she wasn’t really able to tell it wasn’t the same. She tried it on and it fit, but I was a little bit tighter because it was a smaller size. She was so upset. She started crying and acting like she was fat because a smaller size was a tighter fit. We returned the jacket, but it was too late her night was ruined. It was very frustrating at the time, but as I think back on it, I think it was kind of funny. She was so upset over something irrelevant as a jacket that was too small.