"Listen grasshopper", he used to joke, before giving me advice on anything from my phone stats to my relationships.
We pranked my friend Mooney several times, and joked around constantly. It's because of that time in my life that I identify with show The Office so strongly - the friendships and drama that you find whenever a group of people work together. There was a lot of that happening, but he was like the big brother / father figure to me and I got through a lot of hard times because of him.
He always stood behind me, and whenever HP praised us, he was the first one to give his congratulations. I think he got a kick out of how much they liked me - he used to joke that I was really the person running things, while he just made sure we got paid. In some ways that was true, but he really did make us a team. Our little group of 12.
The last time I saw Mike, he was heading down the green hallway at work on his way out of the building for the last time. I cried a little, because I knew work just wouldn't be the same anymore.
I've wondered about him over the past few years - thinking idly that it would be great to meet up for a coffee and an update on our lives. I imagined telling him that Jeremy and I are getting married, and watching his surprise (we'd only been together a little while when he left), talking about England, and how I'm now fighting to find a teaching job here. I'd hear about "his wife" (not actually married, but he always called her that - and after a couple of decades, it kinda made sense) and the things he'd been up to.
And we would have laughed a lot.
I always thought that I'd see him again...
Rest in peace, Mike. I hope you died with no regrets, and left a happy life behind.
We'll miss you.