I saw him once or twice, always at a distance, perhaps he was a customer to another department. He looked interesting I must say. One day we passed in the corridor, he said “Hello, Frau Alpert!” and I replied “Hello, Bob!” That was all. Why did he call me that and where did I get the idea to call him Bob? No idea!
About a week later I received a call from the best company in the business. I mean, my company is one of the best, but everybody wants to work at the best company. The woman said in a very friendly way that I was starting work next day at the best company. No mention of salary or job description or anything else – it was not a request or a command, it was just expected of me – no questions to be asked.
I went, I was curious. “Just sit anywhere you like! Just ask anybody, if you want to know something!” Very odd. Everybody was friendly and helpful. I soon working as hard as I did at my old company, but here everything was easier, everybody friendlier. There was no hierarchy, if you wanted help or wanted to organise something you just asked, everybody wanted to help,
I asked about Bob. “Oh, he's somewhere in the building.” Bob came by and asked me how I was doing, I told him that I had started a couple of projects, he seemed pleased. “Oh, come over to my house this evening, if you want to.” he said and went.
I didn't know where he lived, I went to that part of town where I thought he would live and there he was in front of a large house. He showed me round, it was full of odd things and odd people. He showed me a room that was just my taste. I looked at him and I knew that it was my room. I didn't ask. He spent the night with me; he has no room for himself.
I am very happy working at the best company, I can do my best. I get paid very well, not that I really need any money at all, but always a different amount at no particular time of the month or year. My old team has joined me, I didn't ask them to, they just came and of course all my clients. And best of all, Betty.
I don't know who Bob is. He might be the boss of the best company. I shall never ask him. Bob knows who I am. He must do. Bob is in my mind. I did not know that before. But he had been there for some time. Not that he is always there, but mostly. Bob is at home in my mind, he lives there. It sounds strange, but it is comforting to know that he is there and I do know when he is there.
I have no secrets from him. He can see everything. I do not try to hide anything. Sometimes he stumbles over a long forgotten memory in my mind and it makes us both happy to experience it again. He knows all the embarrassing things in my life, I hide nothing, but he is very careful with me. Bob is in my mind, he lives there.
Bob needs help. Sometimes it is just a matter of minutes, sometimes I must hold him all night, sometimes Betty and I have to hold and comfort him for days. What did Bob do before he knew me?
I remember once that I was in the middle of a very important presentation and I suddenly realised that Bob was in trouble. I said that Bob needed help, nobody found that strange, I dropped everything and ran out of the building.
A taxi took me to the airport, one of the check-in staff took me to a waiting bus, I had no idea where I was going. The bus took me to the end of the runway where a plane was waiting, the passengers stared at me, was I so special? The stewardess welcomed me on board and told me where I was flying to. Now this was embarrassing, I had never heard of the city nor the country before.
After landing a taxi took me to a large hotel in that strange city, The taxi driver wanted no money, I stuffed some dollar notes in her top pocket. A page took me to the lift and to the room where Bob was. It wasn't a room, it was a hall, full of strange people in strange costumes. One of them came towards me and said in broken language that he was so glad that I could come “We all want to help Bob. We are so worried about him.”
I do love Bob, he must know that, but I could never tell him that, and I know that he loves me. I held Bob very tight.