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It’s funny – tragedies only become real when they involve someone you know. And so it went yesterday afternoon, when I was forming an email to colleagues about a particularly burning upcoming issue. “Dear Michael and Gerd,” I’d managed to write before Lorraine sauntered into the room and announced, “So, heard about Gerd Mrodzek?”. I hadn’t. “He was in the Madrid plane crash. With his wife and two children. All missing.”
It was one of those moments when shivers go down your neck and words fail to appear. I’d been with Gerd a month earlier when he’d flown over for a project, and had spoken to him just 2 weeks ago. He was a happy man – always smiling, and amusing despite the language gap. He was always talking about his family, and was very proud of the things he did. And now he is missing, and everyone at the office knows what that means.
It’s strange when people you expect to be there just… aren’t. I gazed into the distance, remembering our meetings and his someones misplaced colloquialisms and amusing phrases on email.
My gaze lowered to the computer screen. I deleted “and Gerd.”