|In happier times|
I used to live in England for about two and a half years. Great country, lovely people, fantastic food. I lived and worked at a four star hotel in the middle of nowhere (well, Castle Combe, but it might as well have been the middle of nowhere). My room was situated at the back of the kitchens together with a few more rooms. One was occupied by an alcoholic Frenchman working as a washer-upper, one by a slightly less alcoholic Frenchman working as a porter, one by a couple of Italians sharing a single bed and one by an Italian working as a waiter.
The Frenchmen were both a bit older than I was (at least in their forties, while I had just turned 21), but the Italians were my age. Roberto had a car and on occasion the four of us (Elisa and Alessandro making up the four) would set out and visit something like Avebury or Bath. Now, you have to imagine me at this time to be quite naive and even a bit dumb to anything relating to the opposite sex. So, I never noticed Roberto liking me a lot.
Then, a few weeks before Christmas, Roberto came to ask my underwear size (which I hasten to add, was still quite okay at that time). Since I had a massive hangover and was extremely bleary-eyed, I told him and tried to not vomit and go back to sleep. When I was properly sober again, I had forgotten all about it.
Fast forward to New Year's Eve and Roberto shows up with a little gift. In it was a bright red set of underwear: bra and knickers. What?? Why would he give me something like that? I thanked him and went back to the partying.
In the weeks after, I noticed Roberto wasn't talking to me anymore. In fact, he completely ignored me. He would say goodmorning when I said it first, but he wouldn't start a conversation anymore and would go out of his way if he saw me coming. In the end I asked Elisa (the Italian girl) what had happened, since Roberto obviously didn't want anything to do with me. It turned out that when an Italian man gives a woman red underwear for New Year's, ít's basically to stake a claim because he loves her. Rrrrrrrriiiiiight.
Well, it never happened between Roberto and me. Not enough love my side, too much hurt love on his side. He didn't speak to me until he left and I realised something very important: I am not one for roundabout ways: tell me straight or not at all. And the underwear? I wore it until it shrank...