No, I didn’t come here to strip!
– A Romanian’s True Story –
– Chapter IV –
-The Russian Element-
After making what seemed super human efforts to push my tiny 30kg luggage out the elevator, I turned towards the small entrance of my door, only to find it blocked by my tall-not-so-sane-Russian-friend, whose face I had not expected to see tonight.
Let me describe my friend: 6ft4″, impeccably dressed, light green eyes, amazing smile. Self-involved, self-absorbed and pretty much thinks that the world revolves around him & his needs. Thus, if he could find time in his schedule to come and see me, he expected the universe to conspire to make his wish come true. In this instance, in case you didn’t get it, I was the universe.
I was exhausted, mad at the world, and not the first time, furious at him. Which for some reason, only seemed to amuse him, which of course, made me even madder. After accusing him of lack of respect, using emotional blackmail to persuade him he is a terrible human being and just being plain cranky with him, all while opening the door, I finally gave up and invited him to at least make himself useful by carrying my luggage inside my studio apartment.
However much I may appreciate our friendship, it’s not always amusing when he shows up. Back in my days as manager of lounge opened in Malta, P. shows up out of the blue while I was having a meeting with my employer on the terrace of the place, situates himself at a table right behind us, then proceeds to throw filthy glares at my employer for the next two hours.. I’m quite sure he found it very amusing. Unlike me, having to explain to my employer who he was and reassuring him he did not have to take the evil looks seriously.
As unpredictable as my friend may be, he has been there for me at the drop of a hat on occasion, thus, my whining is purely for amusement purposes. I could mention the time he flew in just to calm me down after an episode of Maltese reality.
Setting: pharmacy, Malta. My plan: get the day after pill, should anything ever happen.
I walk in, go straight to the counter, ask the male pharmacist about it. Suddenly, pharmacist pales, I notice his colleagues looking at me. I assume he must not have heard me, thus I repeat myself, making sure all my words are carefully pronounced, in a slightly louder tone, slower, in order to be more understandable.
I notice everyone is now looking at me. In a hushed tone, the pharmacist replies: “That is illegal in Malta. “
Without thinking: ” So what do people do here in case the condom breaks, hold their fingers crossed and hope for the best?”. I notice a slight irritated look on his face as a result of my question, thus I thank him and go panic in my own apartment.
See, I believe in Murphy’s laws. Should you have something readily available, you won’t need it. Should you need something, it will be illegal. Thus, P. flies in to save the day, take me out, listen to my concerns for half an hour then spend the rest of the night complaining about why women only want him for money. This coming for a guy whose first topic of conversation is what kind of sports car he has recently acquired.
Anyhow, back in my apartment, expressionless, he remarks: “You do know the guy you hired for marketing has a drug problem, right?”
We had hired someone who seemed brilliant, and terribly well-connected. P. made fun of me for about half an hour, as the guy claimed to be a direct descendant of the few families that founded Malta, as well as being a cousin of the famous Joseph Calleja, Malta’s amazing tenor, whom apparently had begun his career singing in his back yard at a birthday party. I should have known better, reason for which P. still pulls my leg with every chance he gets on the subject.
Obviously, the person we had hired was not delivering what we had paid him for, and was asking for more money. P. obviously seemed to be informed about it, like everything else in my life that I never told him about. The more things I would hide, the more efforts he would make to get more details on the subject. My marketing guy had a severe cocaine habit, which apparently was quite expensive to sustain.
That was one of the many moments in Malta I silently thanked for the people in my life, because somehow, no matter how naive I may have been, someone has always been there to help me in one way or another. Just another one of the many reasons I love people.
And somehow, in between my family, my Maltese best friend and childhood friends scattered around the world, P. is one of those people I’m most grateful for. Even though matching his socks to the nuance of the stripe of his Hermes tie seems to be more important than how he chooses a CEO to run his company. Gotta love that about him.
Malta’s taught me a lot. A lot about grace, letting go, diplomacy. A lot about trust, freedom and choices. Malta’s taught me a lot about me. And I am so grateful for it. It will always remain part of my heart. What happened with the Marketing guy…to be disclosed in another chapter.
* To be continued*