You had an inner confidence that seeped into the way you moved, talked and presented yourself. Naturally, I was intimidated by you, mistaking your confidence and poise for haughtiness. But I was quickly proved wrong after we ended up at the same desk.
I realised that you were a kind and gentle woman; you had a way of making anyone feel calm when the world seemed to be falling apart. And I sure needed that during those crazy deadline days where it seemed as if my story would never turn out right for print.
Yet, during those years, I didn't take the opportunity to get to know you better. I was still intimidated, I suppose. And yes, more than a little absorbed with the dramas in my life.
And then I moved to Australia.
A friend later told me that you had told her that you would've liked to know me better.
When I returned in May, I made a promise to myself that I will do just that - get to know you better. .
But life caught me by the neck as usual. And it was nearly a month before we bumped into each other.
I still remember the day where you stopped your car just as I was crossing the street to the restaurant opposite the office.
You had flung the door open and said, "Liz Tai! Welcome back!" And threw me a big smile.
I was so moved by that smile. You made me feel so welcomed and appreciated!
"We must catch up with each other soon," you had said.
"We must!" I said.
I thought I had all the time in the world.
But last week, a friend in Hong Kong sent me a message nobody would like to receive.
"I'm so sorry for your loss, Liz. Sorry to hear about Reena."
And I thought, No. this must be some other Reena. Not the Reena I know.
But it was.
On that day, you left us without warning.
I had to fight back tears when I saw you on Friday. Others couldn't.
You left such an impact on the people you were with. Even me, a person who was a little more than an acquaintance. You made me feel special enough to feel like I was more than that.