Last night I found out that my friend, Armando, has passed away. I was in complete shock, but after going through an entire box of tissues and crying on CB’s shoulder, I decided that I was going to remember Armando for all that he was and try to quit my crying already (I’ve been somewhat successful).
You see, Armando was the first friend I ever made in my chosen profession. We started within the same week and instantly clicked over being from the Midwest, laughing at all of the same jokes, and, of course, our love for Beyonce.
We also bonded over our love for making CB feel uncomfortable with our many conversations about boys and pop music and pretty much anything else CB could not care less about.
I sat in between Armando and CB at work and it was the perfect set-up: Armando on one side, who’d pop up and make me stop stressing over whatever project I was doing and go for a walk to check out the cute boys on other floors. We’d scope out who looked good on the internal company webpage, take a casual walk through departments we had no business being in, and would then walk by and gawk like middle-schoolers.
And there was CB on the other side, who hated it every time we told him that we were doing any of this and begged us not to be his friend.
But Armando was more to me than just the guy who had the same taste as me in pretty much everything. He was the person I cried to when a past relationship fell apart; he was the one who distracted me when crying became exhausting; he was the one who got me into running, convincing me that we could “Totally run that Corporate Challenge, Becks. Plus, I bet we could buy cute new running clothes and look good if we suck at it!”; and he was the only person I could dance in an elevator with to “Lip Gloss.”
That’s right. And it was epic.
One day at work, in between obviously working really hard and checking out men, we were in the elevator alone heading down to the cafeteria. We’d just been talking about how we couldn’t get that Lil Mama song, “Lip Gloss” out of our heads – and we were not ashamed. Obviously.
But then, all of a sudden and without any words, Armando stomped his feet twice and I jumped in with the synchronized clapping. And for 5 floors we stomped and clapped and sang, laughing and jumping and somehow not getting walked out by security who most definitely saw us on the elevator cameras.
From that day forward, we’d randomly sing and dance and laugh, always circling back to that song and, years after we’d both moved on to other work places (probably much to the delight of every single person we worked with), would text each other and simply write “Hi! It’s poppin’!” to make the other person laugh in the middle of whatever kind of day they were having.
Armando brought light and laughter and friendship and love to pretty much everyone he met. And only in his death has it become clear to me that he had been fighting demons darker and stronger than most of us could have ever guessed. But true to form, he never let on – instead, choosing to live every single day to its fullest and making sure that whoever he was with was having the time of their lives.
So, to honor Armando in a way I know he’d find funny and fitting, let’s get it poppin’.