Now that I’m back in writing mode, I have so much to catch up on – I could tell you about my Portland friend staying with me for a weekend in April when we roadtripped from here down to Indiana then all the way up to Wisconsin just so she could say she’s been to 3 midwest states, or I could tell you about how I finally bit the bullet and got botox in my armpits, I could write novels about the FABULOUS <cough> life of online dating, or I could tell you about preschool face painting day when I picked up Summer and realized that her teacher has the artistic abilities of a blind monkey.
But instead, today I will tell you the tale of Patrik.
Patrik is a sweet older Croatian man with a thick accent, soft spoken, probably early 60’s, married with grown children. He has kind eyes that crinkle in the corners when he smiles his warm smile at you, a face that any grandchild would love. To give you a visual, just picture this guy, only 10 years younger:
Patrik is head of maintenance here at the apartment complex and has been working here for the last 30 something years. At one point he and his family actually lived in my exact apartment years ago where he grew a beautiful lush garden, which I’m proud to say I am meticulously maintaining. Yep, tomatoes should be coming up any day now…
Patrik has always been super friendly, chatty with a bit of a nervous stutter, and this one time, at band camp, he went out of his way to replace the rusty bolts off of my car that my rear license plate was dangling from with shiny new ones. Then he did my front plate for good measure. He gives me his “friendly discount” on my carpet cleaning and told me not to worry about the 8 holes I drilled (fine, 13 because tape measurer what?) in the bottom of my cabinet to hang my wine glass racks even though it clearly states in the lease “DO NOT PUT ANY HOLES IN KITCHEN CABINETRY”. Psh. He said he’ll take care of it for me when I move out. What a good person to befriend, right?
So one random morning about 4 months ago, Patrik knocks on my door and hands me a paper bag and says, “these are for you!” Inside was a bottle of his homemade wine, a plate of his homemade prosciutto and pork belly, a few cheese sticks, a jar of hot peppers and a sleeve of bacon flavored ritz crackers. Fuck yes, I would have been happy with just the bacon ritz as a Christmas present. He said in the 30 years he’s worked here he has never brought any of his homemade goodies to someone until now, then he left. It was very sweet.
Seriously, put that red flag down, you’re distracting me from story telling time.
So I stuck everything in the fridge to snack on later and went back to whatever it was I was doing. A few hours later I got a knock on my door. Patrik. Apparently when he brought the food and wine, he was planning on sharing it with me which made me really happy that I didn’t smell like pig meat and bacon ritz while wiping the last remaining crumbs off my face as I opened the door, as I had not gotten this memo. So I let him in and for the next half hour we stood in my kitchen snacking on mouth watering prosciutto and sipping the sweetest red wine I’ve ever had while sharing stories about work and family and hobbies.
He thanked me for letting him share his treats with me, smiled his sweet grandpa smile and then he left.
About 3 weeks later, same thing. He came by in the morning, dropped off a bag full of deliciousness, then came back a few hours later where we stood in my kitchen for a half hour and chatted away about life – I showed him the quilt I’m making and he showed me how he gets the top wrapper onto his wine bottles with boiling water – it was my very own kind of convoluted Tuesdays with Morrie. It wasn’t a bad deal – I kept an old man company and he brought me meat.
Purely innocent, the only difference this time was that as he was leaving he gave me a hug. Mkay, I’m a hugger, so yeah no big deal.
3 weeks after that, same thing. Meat in bag, company in kitchen, talks about life. This time when he left he gave me a hug. And a kiss on the cheek. Derp.
3 weeks later, meat, convo, the usual. But. This time he went for the hug. I hugged back. He went for the cheek kiss. Meh. Then as I was backing up out of the er, ew embrace? He. Leaned. In. For. A. Mouth. Kiss. And I leaned waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back.
“No,” I said.
“No?” Patrik asked.
And as he stepped away embarrassed, I shit you not, his old man hand grazed my side-boob and he left all red-faced with his tail between his legs.
For the rest of the week my first thought in the morning and my last thought at night was, “Stupid, stupid Patrik.” I still shake my head every time I see him which is almost daily since I work from home and, you know, awkwardly he works here, too. But really. It is kinda sad that a thirty something year old woman can’t befriend a little old man without him thinking he’s gonna get some because of a little pork (stop it). Needless to say, Patrik has asked numerous times since then when I might be free again for “the good stuff”. You can keep your good stuff, you dirty dirty meat creeper.
So sad that I will never be able to hear the word prosciutto again without thinking about side-boob. And now you won’t either, muah ah ah.