Helping, Helped with Love…

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As the old-man of the condo, I was expert on the in’s and out’s of what was going on around town and within the buildings.

I had been there for years and years, after my wife passed, what was that 18 or 20+ years now… My kids were spread to the four winds, most of my family was gone. I just sort of continued, one day after the next, no plan, no objectives, except for some TV show or special on Cable, mostly educational material, NO SITCOM’s – hated them with canned laugh tracks, but I really liked learning.

The condo slowly changed over as old owners passed on, then kids became owners, so sub-renters became the norm, just to make money for the estates and children. It was good money renting space on the Florida Gold Coast, vacation capital of the USA. Some units only rented for part of the year, being reserved for the original owner’s families for vacations or summer breaks from school.

Some of the “kid’s” I knew, others were introduced to me by their parents, I had by default became the “House Father”, for troubles, tears and quick honest answers to world crushing youngster’s problems. It was not too bad, never too many “kid’s” at one time, spread across the year, so it was fun seeing people, even if they knew nothing or really cared about me.

I never knew I was very lonely till one woman moved in down the hall on my same floor. We started seeing each other, by accident only, in the hall, on the elevator, in the lobby, getting our mail, was never planned, at least by me.

I was not looking, at least I did not think so, but she was nice looking, much younger than me, but everybody was… Light brown-reddish hair, she kept it pulled back or under a hat or scarf – People don’t wear hats anymore, shame really provides a lot of personality and spunk to be shown without questions.

She was in fine form, not really heavy but heathy, not skin and bones like some models – why anyone finds that sexy or enjoyable to look at I don’t understand, really don’t.

A bit shorter than me, but at 6’4″ everybody is shorter than me. I also noticed that she did not wear the silly and stupid super high heals, but flats, sandals and short, what was once called mules, all very nice and set off her feet and legs very well.

I did not get a good read on the rest of her body, as none of her outfits were tight, low cut or in any way super-sexy, just great looking and smart outfits.

I assume that my “House Father” and trouble-shooter claim to fame was common knowledge so that one day this beautiful woman was knocking on my door, actually banging. I rushed to the door, as rushed as I get at my age, pulled the door open to see this woman in a panic, talking a millions miles an hour, such that I understood nothing. Slowly I determined that it was “Spang-Lish” or a thick mix of English and Spanish that many native speaking people develop and revert to in times of trouble.

Living in Florida as long as I had picked up enough Spanish to get around, put smiles on non-English faces and get what I wanted. Did I speak Spanish NO, can I understand it YES, to a degree. I finally kept hearing one word over and over again, AUGA, AUGA, AUGA – that is water…

I grabbed this woman’s hand and took off running to her unit, as we got closer the hall carpet was getting wet, wetter and finally finding standing water.

As I grabbed her door knob and banged her door open with my hip and body, unless I had hold of the door, would have been knocked over as the water flooded out of her unit. After a second I saw what happened, a sprinkler head was missing in the ceiling over her kitchen/dinning room. I swung around and pulled open the closet, just inside the front door, reached inside and ripped open the control panel door, breaking the hinges, reached inside, found and started twisting the valve handle closed. After what seemed like hours the water draining from the busted sprinkler head… slowed.

Quickly I was on my phone to the complex office, trying to cancel the building’s alarms and the Fire Department’s/911 response. They were contacted, but still showed up, but without all the noise and flashing lights. Was a good thing as I found out they also carried very powerful vacuums to suck up all the water and left behind several huge powerful fans to try and dry the carpets and this poor woman’s belongings.

Several hours later as people, firemen, complex maintenance crews, fire and safety inspectors finally left, I found this poor woman looking like her world had ended… What could I do, the same as I always did whenever anybody needed something. I HELPED as much as I could.

I walked over to her, slowly spoke to her, introduced myself, Joseph, asked her name; something Spanish, but she Americanized it to just “Angel”. Next I asked her did she have family, friends or someplace to stay while her place dried out?????

The shocked look on her face, froze my heart for a second, so I quickly assumed she was a recent emigrant to our country, OK no problem. casino siteleri I think she was in shock, so as with a child, I asked her simple yes/no questions and went about getting some of her stuff, clothes, shoes, wallet, keys and collected her, with her belongings and walked down to my unit.

I took her to my second bedroom and bath, started to put her clothes into the dresser and closet, then got her to lay down on the bed. She looked terrible, with the wide eyed scared deer-in-the-headlights look. Worst of all, she said nothing, did nothing, just laid there not moving. I turned on the TV to a music channel, and closed the door leaving her alone to try and recover.

I had her keys and went back to her apartment, once inside I tried to pickup, clean up what little I could. The fire department fans were still running, I closed down the windows halfway in case it rained, shut off all her lights and as I was walking out seen a few old pictures of people around her TV. I did not think they were taken in the USA, but some foreign country, maybe at a Spanish Hacienda, I collected all the photos up, closed and locked her door and went back to my unit.

I knocked on the bedroom door, but got no response, slowly opening the door while loudly announcing my actions, I saw inside that Angel was asleep, so I quietly put her picture across top of the dresser, turned the cable TV music down and left her room.

I too zoned out in the living room, watching something on the TV, and after several hours was again aware of the world, my thirst and hunger becoming very important. I went into the kitchen, not a chief by any definition, but I could cook and follow directions on a bag or box well enough not to starve to death.

Looking through the freezer and frig I tried to decide what to cook, a few pork chops did not look too frozen, I found some frozen veggies and a bag of rice. OK, dinner as it was would be fried chops with fried rice, not too bad and I just had to clean one pan – a win, win, win. Tossed the chops in the microwave, took off to my room, took care of the necessities, cleaned up and went back to start cooking. With a beer in hand, some good rock-n-roll music playing, dinner was started.

Maybe I was a bit loud, or Angel was as hungry as I was, but she came wandering out just about when I was finished cooking. I greeted her, reintroduced myself, and asked her if she wanted to eat? She said nothing, but just stood there. I invited her to sit at the kitchen island and started setting her a place to eat. I asked her what she wanted to drink, but again no response, so I gave her a beer and iced tea. The rice was starting to blacken, so I grabbed the pan, served up two plates and set one in front of Angel. Then leaning on the kitchen sink I started to eat my dinner. After a few moments she also started to eat, but she was still out of it… I tried some chit-chat, but still got no response, I gave up and just ate my food in silence.

She finished her plate, I offered her more but she just pushed her plate away. I washed the dishes and pan, turned off the kitchen lights and went into the living room, turned on the TV and started watching something. After a bit she joined me in the living room, but sitting alone in a chair. I smiled at her a few times, but still got little or no response…

After a few hours she seemed to wake up, and asked a few general questions, I stopped her and gave her a full SitRep (sorry many years in the military = Situation Report, given every morning of all the previous day’s actions, activities, sick call/wounded/killed, locations, active orders and current status) of what had happen, the current condition of her home, my offer of letting her stay here in her own room and bath, NO STRINGS AT ALL, until such a time she could make other arrangement OR until her home was cleaned up, repaired and ready to live in again.

She again got that Deer-in-the-Headlights look, I quickly responded telling her everything would be alright and not to worry, it would all work out. Finally she seemed to find herself, slowly smiled (great smile) and thanked me, then told me she was going to bed and walked down the hall. I heard the door close, as well as the lock click.

So be it, I was just helping out as I would do for any or everybody else… I too took off to bed as it had been a long… very long day.

Next morning I was wakened by something unknown, something wrong… what was that, where was that noise – never knew how much living alone had affected me – then I smelled coffee, coffee from where???

I struggled out of bed, started to walk out into the house, BAMB everything from yesterday came flooding back into my brain. I stopped, walking out in just my boxers was NOT a good morning entrance; to a shy, reserved and maybe still in shock woman, that I wanted to make. Neither did I want to get too dressed up, to make her feel more uncomfortable. So I dug through my closet, searching for one of my kid’s past Xmas gifts a bathrobe/smoking slot oyna jacket, finally found one and put it on.

Now I was smelling bacon and toast, WOW was this lady going all out this morning – a big, no huge, change from last night and yesterday, but a good start on Angel’s recovery and the rebuilding of her life.

I walked out, and seen a vision in the kitchen, a beautiful woman in a very pretty brightly colored Mu-Mu or big billowing house coat, her hair was damp, with no makeup but she was “boiling my oil”; even after I thought my old engine was out of commission.

In the past when dealing with the many youngsters, sexy girls, many in skimpy, not much left to imagination “swimsuits” my oil never even got warm.

This really surprised me. As I was thinking all this I must have looked like a crazy, as I saw in Angel’s face a puzzled and concerned look…

I gave her a sheepish smile, cleared my throat and said GOOD MORING, then apologized to Angel: Sorry it has been too many years of NOT waking up and seeing a beautiful woman in my kitchen! I am sorry but I enjoyed it and has brought back many wonderful and fond memories, please forgive me?

Angel, smiled then jumped around as she smelled the eggs or hash-browns start to burn, quickly flipping whatever was needed. After that she turned halfway and told me: No problem, I was a bit forward cooking in your kitchen, without your permission, so lets just re-set, say Good Morning and enjoy breakfast together?

I said; for sure, as I smelled the wonderful food she had cooked, my stomach grumbled, we both smiled and sat down on the island and ate family style right from the pans, with lots of good coffee. As I relished all the food, very surprised that everything seemed to taste better than what I cooked, but using the same food??? I asked her about that, she smiled and told me that she spiced it differently, then asked if it was too hot, explaining that being Spanish, heat was normal for her. I quickly agreed that it was not too hot, but fantastic and that I loved it. Soon we had finished eating, I consumed too much as it was so good.

I got up and started cleaning up, Angel spoke up, but I stopped her saying you cooked, I clean.

She started thanking me for all I had done for her, apologized that she had not taken too much action on her own, but it was just too much, and she really did not know what to do.

Almost immediately she got sad, almost crying, bemoaning her condition and situation, confessing that she did not know what she was going to do. Her story continued; a new US immigrant, but with the proper papers to remain in the country, had employment with a company with offices in her native country, but she had little savings, with what she spent on moving, a used car and the first/last/security for her apartment. She did not know what to do… her tears really started to flow.

I handed her a napkin, told her to calm down and listen!

You are where you can stay, you will be safe, I am a true Gentleman, besides being too old to chase young women any more, so nothing will happen. I will give you a key, you can come and go as you please, food will be available, if you wish to eat with me. Until your unit is cleaned up and repaired, you can stay here with NO COSTS!! If you wish you can help with the food, buying anything special you desire or just adding to what I already have here at the house. Your room is yours, I will not enter unless asked, you have your own private shower/toilet.

I stopped, smiled and asked Angel if she had any questions? She said: Only one, your name so very kind gentleman?

Joseph, my dear Angel, Joseph.

Thus started my wonderful life with Angel…

She called into work, explaining her trouble with the fire sprinkler, so she was granted 3-4 days emergency time off. We returned to her unit, collected more of her clothes, shoes, some special kitchen items, spices, a bit of food and returned to my unit.

She was very quiet afterwards, she was very upset at how bad her furniture, rugs, floor and walls were damaged.

Later that day, her insurance agent showed up, they went to review her damage, not gone for long, she returned very happy.

She explained that she qualified for much more than what her ruined stuff cost her, besides she was collecting on the Condo’s maintenance insurance, which was worth even more coverage and would reimburse her insurance, so would not even affect her premiums.

She was further surprised in being able to select colors, flooring, replacement furniture, even got new appliances and electronics assumed to have possible damage due to the wet conditions.

She seemed very happy, best I had seen her in the last 24-hours, but then she started to get real sleepy, not surprising as she had little sleep last night, only eaten a little dinner, breakfast but had skipped lunch to be with the insurance agents.

I got up pushed her down the hall, opened her bedroom, told to canlı casino siteleri take a nap, then I would take her out to dinner to celebrate her good fortune! She tired to argue but I stopped her, again strongly suggested that she take a nap and later we could do whatever or go wherever she wanted. Finally she nodded, turned around and laid down on the bed. I closed her door and quietly walked away.

A few hours later, I knocked on her door, telling her that too much of a nap and she would not sleep that night, she agreed through her door and said she was getting up.

Soon she joined me in the living room, but dressed to the nine’s, looking beautiful, wonderful and fantastic. I got up, excused myself saying that I needed to get as well dressed as her, before we go out. She started to complain, but I left the room and walked away to get dressed better.

Soon I returned in a dress shirt, pants and jacket, then asked Angel where she wished to celebrate. She suggested a little Cuban style restaurant in the Spanish section of town, telling me that they had real home-like cooking, with many dishes much like those from her country. It was delicious, simple but very good, besides being very inexpensive.

As it was early, walking around we found ourselves in a Spanish street fair, we were soon dancing, drinking and enjoying special dishes, sweets and foods prepared by real Grandma’s and Mother’s directly from the old countries – very delicious, maybe fattening, but still wonderful.

All together Angel and I had a wonderful time and really celebrated her good, but from bad, luck. We were later than expected, but were very happy…

Once back at my unit, we were holding hands, but I did not want to rush her, or force a good time and feelings into something that was not true or confuse the issue, so I just opened her bedroom door for her, wished her a good night, sweet dreams and closed the door, then quickly walked to and closed my bedroom door.

It was a long time before I fell asleep, wishing and maybe dreaming of what could be, but then dismissing everything as impossible…

Angel was busy with rebuilding her unit over most of the next several days, selecting colors, picking flooring and new furniture, then arranging for credit at a local store to replace all the small items that could have been damaged.

We sat together for meals, mostly breakfast, which quickly turned into just quick coffee, toast or bakery goodies. Dinners were a bit more involved, but still rather simple… We were becoming good friends, buddies sharing a wonderful life, but I assumed that nothing more would come from our situation.

For many reasons I knew that we could/should not advance our relationship. She was much younger, by at least 20+ years, she had a long life, full of joys and excitements that I could or would NOT live long enough to be part of. She had spoken of having children, even if she was getting a little too old to safely consider pregnancies.

What did I really know about Angel, her dreams, desires, hopes and objectives???

What about her past was there anything buried, troubles I did not know about, emotional land mines that were waiting to destroy us both? Why had she gotten away from her home country, which one was her home, was she running away from some-one/thing to the USA???

Maybe I was just dreaming, an old man’s wishing, hoping, just desiring something that could, and most likely should NOT occur at this time in my life. I am just not available and should not burden this wonderful, beautiful, and fantastic woman, limit her options, her future, her life???

Days turned into weeks, weeks into a months, with promises to quickly finish her unit, but materials took time to order, delivery times added delays. Time must be taken to schedule the necessary experts and craftsmen to properly install those materials correctly so that money is not wasted, it takes a long time to look good. Besides the condo owners were also sneaking in upgrades and improvements as well, it was a 50+ year old building.

Angel seemed to enjoy our time together, we mostly ate at home, sharing the cooking as time or desire dictated. A few times we went out, she seemed to be in “the know” of when street fairs, Spanish festivals or other public parties or concerts were scheduled. Each one was fun, I think we both had fun and enjoyed our time together at these events, but was I just dreaming????

The day Angel was so looking forward to, maybe I was dreading, finally came, about three or four months after the water damage, her unit was cleaned up, repaired and remodeled better than it had been before.

She also got a new type of sprinkler and upgraded system, this removed all the old, melting type heads, installing new electronic sensors that then triggered the flow of water only to specified sprinklers. This kept the water from sitting in dead-end runs, rusting pipes/fittings and just turning into really gross water, that stinks and stains everything black.

Rust may have been the cause of Angel’s accident, so she, everybody in the whole Condo would slowly, be getting upgraded electronic sensors and new sprinklers, to minimize any possible future accidents.

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