My department is pretty large. Add to that the fact that some of us work strange hours, some work off-site, and others are a bit….hermit-like…it’s unsurprising that in the year and a half I’ve been here, there are coworkers I have never met in person and couldn’t even pick out of a lineup. (I myself have had people come to my office door and ask me to see me.)

There’s this one woman, I’ll call her Fiona, with whom I’ve worked on several projects but never met in person. She has a sweet, high (but pleasant) voice, she’s smart, and she’s always been good with deadlines. Her office is on the floor above mine. I’ve even been inside her office, in fact, talking to her office mates, but every time, her desk is always empty. “Where’s Fiona?” I’d ask.

“Oh, she’s at a meeting.”

This led me to assume that I must have, at one point, attended a meeting with her and just not realized it. But everyone I’ve ever asked about her would describe someone who not only sounded completely unfamiliar but also seemed to be some sort of shape-shifter. Depending on who you asked, she had red, blond, or brown hair. She was petite; she was average size. She had a mole on her cheek; she looked kinda part Asian; she had pale skin.

My office mate was confident that he knew who she was, although he’d never been introduced to her. “I’ll point her out next time she walks by,” he promised.

Then one day he pointed to our coworker M and said, “That’s Fiona.”

“No, it’s not. That’s M.”

“Well then I don’t know who the hell Fiona is.”

So at this point, the office mate and I had become obsessed with finding out what this woman looks like. (Not in a weird, stalkery way or anything…more like idle speculation to fill in the gaps between our conversations about Turkish Superman movies and 80s hardcore.)

Finally, last week, I attended a going-away party for a member of her group and I was really, really hoping that I’d get to meet her. My plan was to just shout out “FIONA” when I walked in and wait for someone to turn around.

I didn’t see anyone I didn’t recognize, so I asked another coworker whether Fiona was coming to the party.

“Actually, no…she quit last week.”

“She quit?”

“Yeah, she’s gone.”

And that’s it.


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