The Man Who Tried to Save Me Part IV
This is the last part. It’s going to be short. But in real life it lasted over a year. Long story short, Ivan returned to his duty in front of the Russian store, and started striking conversations with me each time I stopped by for groceries.
It was pretty annoying. I usually do my shopping after work, so, it’s getting late, I am tired and hungry, and trying to get it done as fast as possible, so I can get home to my family. Ivan usually attacked when I came out of the store. It is a small store and they don’t give you carts, so I’d come out the door, bags in both hands, and right away, Ivan would pounce.
He usually started with “how are you doing?”, then proceeded to ask after the kids, tell me the latest news about the Russian school, and add, “I hope that one day, you will come back to the school… and to our service, too!” After each sentence, I’d say “fine, thank you”, or “yeah”, or “sure” and start towards my car, but Ivan wouldn’t let me get away, and start talking at me again. On at least one occasion I remember talking to Ivan, standing with one foot inside my car. I was too nice to tell him to get lost; after all, he was doing it with the best of intentions! I kept dropping hints, mentioning hungry kids at home and all, but my hints flew right past him.
On one of my visits to the store, Ivan finally came out. He said something to the effect that he didn’t like the Orthodox faith, and wanted me and my family converted into something more to his liking. He chased me down the parking lot, complaining about the Virgin Mary. Believe it or not, I still tried to be nice with the man.
Our last conversation was brief. It was a nasty November evening, rainy, windy, and cold. On my way to the store, Ivan greeted me with the usual: “Hi, how are you doing?”
I gave him my sweetest smile and replied, “Doing well, how about you?”
Out of nowhere, Ivan got this professionally meek look on his face, and offered, “You would be doing even better if you were in the Lord”.
I had a dozen possible replies in my head. Unfortunately, every one of them involved swear words, so I didn’t say anything. I just rolled my eyes at Ivan and walked into the store.
I’ve got to give the man credit. He actually followed me into the store and apologized. I said, no problem. That was the last I saw of Ivan. The school and the church still exist, judging from the flyers I see in the store, but Ivan is missing from the picture. Maybe he got banned from the store yet again. Or maybe he gave up. I hope that he is doing well.
And so the story ends.