Handsome Asian man sitting with his computer, outside

Ukrainian Interruption

by John S. Lloyd


For the past several days I have watched this guy as he sat on the stone bench in the middle of the plaza. From my desk on the first floor of the bank’s consumer loan department he wasn’t more than a hundred feet away. Our department is on the first floor because our bank manager feels that people wanting a loan will be less intimidated to come in and talk to us. For me that means being on display all day without a chance to straighten my underwear unless I go to the toilet.

About 11:30 in the morning the guy walked up and opened his computer. He intensely looked at it. He smiled occasionally. When I am on the phone or otherwise distracted he got up and left. After four days he didn’t appear. I assumed he had come to Nashville for a business conference and left when it was over.

Young man sitting, relaxing at his computer

Matthew Frost

I would have gone out and introduced myself but I was too shy to approach the guy. To my surprise a week later he reappeared. As he sat he was approached by a handsome, tall, burly fellow. I couldn’t tell if they knew each other. My guy, who was three or four inches shorter than the other guy, rose to his feet as he talked to the fellow. They walked off together. My guy didn’t return.

Again, I regretted not going out to talk to him. I fantasized that he and I would make a good couple but I had no idea if he was into men. He was my type in that he was Asian or mixed. I couldn’t tell which from a distance. He was well-dressed and neat. His black glasses accentuated his dark eyes. I missed my chance which was the usual way my interest in attractive men went.

About two weeks later I got a call from our receptionist that I had a potential client. She said he was inquiring about a loan for a motor bike. I usually didn’t handle such small loan requests but she said everyone else in the department was busy with other clients. I got up from my desk and walked toward reception. There was only one person waiting and the man was facing away from me as I walked up. I said “Hello,” and waited for the man to stand up. The fellow got up and turned around. It was the guy who had been in the plaza. He extended his hand which I took. I said, “My name is Matthew Frost. How can I help you?” I was used to fist handshakes that I used all during the Covid-19 time.

He smiled, “Hello, I’m Peter. I’m interested in getting a loan for a motor bike.” I motioned for him to follow me to my desk enclosure. When we were seated I said, “Peter, I’m sorry I would call you ‘Mr.’ but I don’t know your last name.”

“No, problem. Just call me Peter because my Thai last name is too hard for Westerners to pronounce.”

“Alright, first, Peter do you have an account here at the bank.”

“I don’t. Is that a condition for getting a loan?”

“Customarily, we only make car and motor cycle loans to bank customers.”

“I am in the USA on a student visa. I’m going to be studying at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Can I set up a bank account?” With that information I knew the bank would be happy to have him as a customer.

“You will have to go to the new accounts department. I will call a friend to see if she is available. After that is done and the money you deposit is registered then we can talk about a loan.” I called Angela who said she was busy. I said, “I have a potential new customer who wants a loan but needs to set up a bank account first.” There was a long pause as I listened to her tell me we don’t give loans immediately to new customers. With confidence, almost demanding, I said, “Angela, I am sure the bank will want this person as a customer.” I listened again and hung up. “Peter, she will be available in about twenty minutes. Can I offer you water or coffee?”

“Water would be great. It is so hot and dry here in Nashville. I come from a more humid place.” His accent was more than Asian. He must have studied someplace other than Thailand.

I went to our convenient apartment-size refrigerator in the department, I handed him the water and said, “Peter, where are you from?”

“I’m from Bangkok, Thailand originally but have been studying in England for the past three years. I completed my medical training but want to practice in the United States. That requires passing ECFMG and doing a residency in the states.”

I said, “I hear your English accent. What residency are you taking at Vanderbilt?”

“First year residency is general medicine but I want to be a surgeon. I don’t know if I want vascular or orthopedic surgery. I’m too small to do the real physical ortho but maybe hands and feet.” I smiled knowing I had done the right thing calling Angela. When she called I walked with Peter upstairs to her desk.

When we got upstairs to the new accounts department I introduced Peter by telling Angela about his residency at Vanderbilt. I could see she got the message. I left the two of them and suggested that Peter come to see me in a week. About an hour later Angela called to tell me that she had started the process of getting Peter an account. She shocked me by telling me that he deposited 10,000€. I wondered why he wanted a motor bike loan.

I could not do much except guess for two weeks. Finally, Peter texted me that he would be coming to discuss the loan that afternoon. He told me he couldn’t be there until late afternoon because his residency rotation had started. I waited impatiently all day until his scheduled appointment at 4:30 a half an hour before closing. Finally, he arrived at 4:45. I had decided that his loan application was much more important than my volleyball practice.

When he sat down he said, “Sorry I’m so late Mr. Frost. Do we have enough time?”

I asked him to sign into the system even though I knew he had more than $10,000 in his account. I said, “When you came in a couple of weeks ago you said you wanted a motor bike loan. Is that still what you want to discuss?”

“No, I have decided that a car is a better option. Few people ride motorbikes here like they do in London.”

“I don’t want to dissuade you from borrowing for a car but usually the automobile dealers can give you a better interest rate and incentives than the bank can.”

“No, I want to borrow from the bank to start developing a credit history which seems to be important in the states. I want to buy a condo as soon as I find one I like.”

“If you don’t mind me asking when do you plan to buy the condo?”

“Soon, I paid rent in London which was totally ridiculous. I’m tired of paying rent.”

“Well, let’s first get the car loan application going.” I turned to my computer wondering what collateral he would put forward to justify the loan officer’s approval. I knew he had no credit history in the USA. I dutifully filled out the forms and printed them out for him to sign. I was sure the loan approval team would not approve but I didn’t tell Peter that. It was almost 5:30 when we finished. I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to keep Peter returning.

“Peter, if you’re interested I would invite you over to my condo. You can see what $500,000 will buy in Nashville. My building is new and not too far from the medical center. There are some units for sale in my building.” He looked puzzled and I continued, “If you don’t want to I understand.”

“I want to. But my schedule is so tight. When can I come?”

“Depends on the night. I have volleyball practice and games on Tuesday and Thursday. When were you thinking?”

“Can we go right now? This is the only evening I have off this week.”

“Don’t know how neat my place is. I was in a rush when I left this morning.”

“Not to worry.” He got up as I turned my computer off knowing I would submit the application in the morning. I would request a personal meeting with our loan manager to explain the situation. I was skeptical that Peter’s loan would be approved.

I gave Peter my address before remembering he didn’t have a vehicle. I said, “Peter, I assume you don’t have a vehicle so you can ride with me. After you see the condo I can either drive you to the place you are staying or you can take an Uber.”

Without responding he got up and followed me to the parking garage where we got into my red Mustang. He said, “I want a car like yours”

When we got into my condo I was embarrassed that multiple pieces of clothing were on the sofa and dishes were on the breakfast bar. He didn’t comment and proceeded to look in every room. I’m sure he saw the nude male photo that I had hanging in my bathroom. He didn’t say anything except, “Nice place.” I invited him to have a drink and he opted for a glass of water. There was uncomfortable silence as if he was thinking. Finally, he said, “Who can show me the other units available in this building?” I got up to get my realtor’s card which I had in my desk drawer.

When I returned with the card he was standing at the window looking toward downtown Nashville. “You can almost see Vanderbilt Medical Center from here.”

“It’s about a mile and half. Easily walkable.” He got up as if he was ready to leave. I said, “Want me to call Uber?”

“No, I’ll walk. It’s been a stressful week.” He moved toward the door, turned and thanked me. He was gone but not before I told him I would let him know when I heard anything about the loan. He smiled.

I sat down and refilled my wine glass wondering if I would see Peter again. About a week later I had to inform him his loan application was denied. He hadn’t listed the money in his account as collateral so I wasn’t surprised when the loan was denied. When I didn’t reach him personally I had to text him the news. I assumed that was the end of my interaction with a guy I would really like to know better.

Later in the month I received a call from my realtor thanking me for the referral. I didn’t know Peter had called her. I graciously acknowledged her thanks. I asked, “Did he buy in the building?”

She hesitated, “Yes, a unit like yours on the ninth floor.”

Since that was the top floor I assumed the unit was more expensive than mine. I asked, “Did he have trouble getting a mortgage?” I didn’t know how he could get a mortgage. I knew he had no credit history. My realtor paused for too long. Embarrassed I said, “It’s none of my business but how did he finance it?”

She said, “I will tell you but it is confidential information. Do not tell anyone. He wanted to pay cash but I persuaded him to apply for a 50% mortgage so he could establish a credit history which he really wanted to do.” I was surprised but was silent trying to comprehend what she said.

Lamely I said, “He’s a nice guy. I will be happy to have him as a neighbor.”

She said, “Them, as neighbors.”

“Does he have a roommate?”

She smiled, “The fellow seems to be more than a roommate. I met Borysko or Barry, as he told me to call him, when Peter came to look at the condo the first time. I think Barry is a medical student, too.” My heart sank feeling that I had lost my chance to have Peter as a boyfriend prospect. We continued our conversation for another minute but I wasn’t really concentrating on what she said.

Since I had missed my chance I didn’t think anymore about Peter. My schedule at work and volleyball plus a planning a hiking/camping trip took up my time. One beautiful fall afternoon when I was leaving to go camping I pulled into the fifteen minute parking place in front of my condo building. I had forgotten my trainers. As I walked toward the front door I looked up and in the front window of Peter’s new condo was a bare-chested guy wearing a towel or a sarong. I couldn’t tell who the guy was but it wasn’t Peter. When I drove off the guy wasn’t there. Seeing the man got me thinking I should be neighborly and invite Peter and his roommate down for wine and snacks.

When I returned after my camping trip I pulled out Peter’s loan application to get his phone number and email address. I texted him a brief note and invited him and his roommate to stop by when they had an evening free. I got an immediate reply that he and Barry would be over that evening. His response wasn’t what I expected and knew my condo wasn’t ready for guests. I ask my supervisor if I could leave at four. She was surprised since I rarely asked for anything personal. She approved.

I stopped at the grocery for red and white wine. In addition, I got brie cheese, crackers and a big, bag of flavored, spicy Chex snacks. When I got to the condo I called our volleyball team captain to tell her I wouldn’t be at practice. I then picked up miscellaneous pieces of clothing and put them in the laundry basket. I got out my Swiffer to dust before I vacuumed the floor. I was ready by five thirty but Peter had not said exactly when he and Barry would arrive. By seven I began to wonder if they were coming. Finally, I got a text from Peter informing me they would be there around eight.

At 8:30 my door buzzer sounded. I opened the door and there was not only Peter but two other handsome, tall men wearing their white hospital coats. Peter said, “Mr. Frost, sorry we’re so late. Barry had a late emergency to attend to.” The three walked in and stepped to my breakfast bar where I had the snacks and cheese and crackers laid out. Without invitation both the guys with Peter began to eat. I offered wine but both men opted for beer which fortunately I had. As before Peter asked for a glass of water.

Peter started, “Mr. Frost…” I stopped him and asked him to call me Matthew. He continued, “So Matthew, sorry I haven’t invited you to see my new condo but the residency has kept us completely busy.” He turned toward his colleagues and said, “Barry is the fellow on the right and the other guy is Serg. They’re Ukrainians. I met Barry in London. Serg, his friend, attended medical school in the Ukraine and studied in Liverpool. Like Barry and I he applied for his residency at Vanderbilt and got accepted. He and Barry graduated from the same university in the Ukraine.”

Up until this point neither fellow had spoken and were more interested in eating and drinking. In a heavy accent Barry said, “I was starving. Nice to meet you Matthew. Serg and I haven’t eaten since breakfast.” I smiled as they finished the cheese and crackers and each asked for another beer.

Peter said, “Barry, this is the kind of furniture I want for our condo. Where did you buy it?” He said as he looked at me. I told him that some came from IKEA and the sofa and chairs came from a furniture store in the mall.”

Two young men sitting at a table

Barry and Serg

He asked nothing more so I said, “I saw either Barry or Serg standing at your front window recently when I stopped in front to pick up something. I assume you don’t have curtains, yet? I have a decorator friend if you need a referral.”

Serg said in English with a heavy Eastern European accent, “Did I have any clothes on? I like to look out the window because I love the view.”

“I think you had a towel or bathrobe on. You weren’t naked.”

Barry laughed, “That’s surprising because he is usually naked when he’s at home.”

I was surprised when Serg yelled, “You don’t bitch when my cock is in your butt, asshole, you Zelensky fan.” He continued his tirade in Russian as Barry remained stoically listening. Peter stood nervously watching and seemed to be waiting for Barry to do something.

Finally, Barry quietly said, “Заткнись, идиот. Serg immediately quieted down and looked at the floor.

Looking at Peter and me, Barry said, “I told the asshole to ‘shut up’.

Seeming relieved Peter said, “It’s time to go since we have to be back at the hospital at seven in the morning.” He pushed Barry toward the door as Serg grabbed a last handful of Chex mix. Peter smiled, “Matthew thanks for inviting us over. We get a three day break at the beginning of next month so hopefully we can have you over. Text me the name of your decorator. I want to get curtains so Serg doesn’t get us thrown off.” I smiled as the three of them left.

From that brief encounter I couldn’t tell who was partnered with whom. I began to hope that maybe Peter was a roommate of Barry and Serg and not a partner. I didn’t expect to see them soon so continued my regular routine. The only change I saw was a new Mustang parked in Peter’s assigned parking spot in our garage.

Peter followed up with my decorator because she called to thank me for the referral. Pleased I said, “I’m happy Peter called. Do they have curtains now?”

She hesitated, “They have curtains and a lot more. Peter gave me a blank check to decorate. He wanted a sofa and chairs like you have. I was able to find a small dining table that could accommodate four chairs. I decorated two bedrooms with king-sized beds and side tables, a chest of drawers and a full closet unit in the master bedroom.”

“Jeannette, I know it’s none of my business but did they have to get a loan?”

“Paid cash in full when I delivered.” I couldn’t help but wonder why Peter had asked for a motor bike loan in the first place. Perhaps, foolishly I thought, Peter had seen me at my desk and came into the bank to ask for a loan so he could meet me. I wondered.

On a blustery November evening there was a knock on my door. I wasn’t expecting a delivery so proceeded to walk toward the door. There was a second knock as I reached the door. Uncharacteristically, I opened the door without looking through the privacy hole. Peter stood with his white doctor’s coat hanging below his outer down jacket. He spoke first, “Peter, sorry to disturb you.” I motioned for him to come in.

“How are you? Haven’t seen you for some time.”

“The requirements for this residency are ridiculous. Finally, going to get a weekend off. That’s why I stopped by. I was wondering if you could drive me to the airport on Wednesday. I don’t want to leave my car at the airport.”

I was happy he was asking but knew that he could easily afford an Uber. I said, “Sure, when do you guys need to go?”

“Oh, it’s only me. I’m flying to New York for the weekend to be with a friend who moved from London. Serg and Barry are driving to Chicago to visit Serg’s aunt and uncle.”

“They’re taking your car?”

“Absolutely, not. They’re renting a car. I wouldn’t trust either of those maniacs to drive my car,” he said in a blunt manner.

“What time should we leave?”

“My flight is at 2:30 on Wednesday so I need to be at the airport by 12:30.” That meant I would take a late lunch which was no problem. We agreed that he would come down after I arrived from work. Without sitting down he turned, “Oh, when I get back you have to come up and see what a fantastic job your friend, Jeannette, did decorating our place. I’ll try to make sure Serg has his clothes on.”

I laughed at his reference to our last meeting in my condo. “Don’t worry I’m sure he looks good with his clothes off.” He turned smiling and left.

Two days later Peter was standing outside our condo when I arrived to drive him. We had some meaningless small talk driving to the airport. Mainly, l listened to the drudgery of Peter’s residency but he was excited that he would be beginning his surgical rotation when he returned from the trip. I offered and he accepted my invitation to pick him up. He said he would return Sunday evening but would text me the arrival time which he didn’t know as we drove to the airport.

On Sunday I waited for a text message from Peter. By six-thirty I was becoming concerned that he thought he told me his arrival time but didn’t. I checked the available flights and knew he could be arriving as late as 11:35pm. I nervously waited and a text message never arrived. I assumed something had happened and Peter stayed in New York. I hesitated to call Barry.

On Tuesday I got a brief email from Peter asking me to pick him up at 10:30am Wednesday morning without any further explanation. I saw my supervisor walking across the room and asked her permission to pick up a friend. She didn’t seem pleased but didn’t refuse my request. I was certainly curious and was waiting in baggage claim when Peter came toward me in a wheelchair. I rushed to see what had happened. He stepped out of the chair and I could see a bruise down the left side of his face. He said, “I’ll explain but could you bring the car to the door. I’ll wait for my luggage and be out as soon as I can.”

I had the car waiting as he slowly walked pulling his bag. He lowered himself gently into the passenger seat before he said anything. He said, “My friend and I got mugged on Saturday night. We were leaving a night club and decided to walk back to his apartment. Out of an alley two big black guys jumped us and beat us up. They didn’t even take our money. They called us all terrible names. It was crazy.”

“That is crazy.”

“They probably didn’t like the fact we were being chummy.”

“Gay bashing!”

“Could have been. Luckily neither of us had permanent damage. I spent two days laid up in his apartment after being treated in the emergency ward. My friend wasn’t hurt as badly but stayed with me the whole time.” I drove to my condo ready to help Peter up to his. Before he got out of the car he said, “Matthew, can I stay at your place this afternoon and maybe tonight. If Serg sees me like this he’ll go ballistic and scream that I was stupid walking in crime filled New York. I wonder what kind of doctor he’ll be with such temper.”

“I want to be stronger before I have to explain so he doesn’t do something destructive and damage my newly decorated condo.” That was fine with me but I had to get back to work. I told him I would buy dinner on the way home.

I walked in at 6:30 with our five piece Kentucky Fried Chicken dinner. I found Peter sitting in my bed in his underwear with his tab on his lap. He was talking on his cell phone, I assumed, to Barry or Serg. I couldn’t hear what was he was saying. His final words were, “See you tomorrow.” I assumed he was staying the night. He was not in any shape to do anything except sleep. He looked my way, “Do you mind if I stay the night? It will be easier if I have to see Serg and Barry at the hospital. Serg can’t get out of control there.”

“Sure, I’ll make up the guest room.”

“No, I would rather sleep with you.” I smiled to myself because I have been waiting for this to happen for six months. I got undressed and got in bed with him hoping that this was the start of something new and exciting for me and Peter. He didn’t resist as I pulled him close to me.

Author Bio

I am a mature gay man who lives with his husband in Pompano Beach, Florida. The story is fictional and any resemblance to actual persons is purely accidental. The pictures are from the internet. I have not credited any photographer but would be happy to do so if requested. I reserve all rights to the story. I have many other stories on awesomedude.org under the name of John Lloyd aka Seth Newman.