Let’s recap: It’s about 10 years ago. I had just come to Poland. Misiu’s girlfriend was back in town. And the short-lived thing with Maciek was definitely over.
Not that I didn’t have other suitors to choose from, ha ha ha.
First was Karolek. Karolek I met one of my first weeks in Poland. He followed me home like a stray dog, mumbling something under his breath all the way behind me. As we reached my door, I explained to him (in English) that he should go home and leave me alone. I later learned that he was a patient in the nearby mental hospital and following women home was his M.O. About 2 years ago, I saw him again in the City in the Market Square up to his old games trying to catch the attention of as many women as he could .
There was another gentleman, but I wasn’t sure if he was an admirer or not. He invited me a lot of places to talk which was great for me. It broke up the monotony of the school days, and I think it was good for him as he could practice his English. He never overtly expressed any interest but enjoyed inviting me to his home and asking his girlfriend to wait on us. With every tray of food and drink she served, he reminded me that she was just temporary, that he would never marry her, that she wasn’t good enough for him. I think he was trying to advertise himself, but in this case it was a kind of anti-reklama.
As you know Misiu and I are together now so somewhere in my first year in Poland we managed to get together. That didn’t stop some of my suitors. Well, I’m not sure if the next two count as suitors either as they were alcohol inspired and underage.
One boy from one of my classes decided to declare his love for me one cold January night. As I mentioned before, I lived at PZU. I did have an intercom to my room except on very cold nights when it didn’t work. I didn’t have a phone either, so if you wanted to talk to me on a cold January night, you had to be pretty resourceful. The resource this boy chose was a tangerine as a tool to get my attention by throwing it at my window... on the top floor. How romantic. Not really. Tangerines hit your window with a big thud and he missed quite a few times and hit my neighbors window (the maintenance man lived under me). Did I mention he was 17? I opened the window to see the smiling-faced boy as he asked “Did I wake you?” and then demanded “Let me in. Please, let me in. Let me in. It’s so cold.”
I responded very responsibly that he should go home, but he claimed to be locked out. I considered my possibilities. I could tell this poor drunk boy to go home. He could wander away to the park, pass out and freeze to death or I could let him, give him a pillow and blanket for the floor and send him home the next morning. No freezing to death involved but maybe a little burning in hell involved because I lived directly next to the church and the last thing I needed was church-goers seeing a 17 year-old boy sheepishly exiting my apartment early Sunday morning.
As I was running the possibilities through my head again, he asked, “What’s the problem? Is Misiu there?” Misiu was his teacher too. Someone else was very observant or maybe I just wasn’t very discreet. “Go home,” I implored, absolutely sure my downstairs neighbors were also listening at their window sorry that they didn’t know English. He finally gave up, went home and we never mentioned it again.
Another boy from the same class with the unfortunate nickname Mały (because he was small) decided to declare his love for me on his class trip. I had been chosen as chaperone of the class trip to Gdańsk along with 2 other teachers. It was at the start of June and we were expecting wonderful weather, except we didn’t get what we expected. It was cold, cold, cold at the seaside and the bungalows we were staying in did not have heat. Until it was time to sleep we all, students and teachers, decided to congregate in one room. The kids prepared sandwiches and I suspected drank some alcohol. It was a dilemma for me as most of them by this time were 18 years old, the legal drinking age in Poland, but I was their adult chaperone. I told them that I did not want to see them drinking, that they were forbidden from leaving the premises and that no children were to be born 9 months from this trip.
The kids continued to talk some of them saying more to me in the previous 10 minutes than they had they whole school year in class. Especially Mały, who informed me that he had something important to tell me. I leaned in and he declared loudly to the whole room of classmates and teachers, shouting in my ear, “Miss Chris, I am in love in you!” I guess I hadn’t taught them their prepositions very well. I laughed as he offered me a bite of his pâté sandwich to seal the deal. I declined the sandwich to which he ordered, “Miss Chris, kiss me! Kiss my face!” It was so funny watching this shy boy declare his drunken love for me that I obliged. Taking his face in my hands, I brought his forehead to my lips and gave him a kiss. This inspired oohs and aahs from the rest of the room to which Misiu, another chaperone on the trip said, “Mały, hands off my girlfriend, man.” To which inspired a quieter level of oohs and aahs. Misiu had admitted to the kids that we were together. They didn’t know what to say. They all decided to play it cool. And so did we.