My Good Samaritan was not the person he appeared to be.
It was 2014, and I was doing what any responsible 23-year-old would do before a tonsillectomy surgery.
I was taking shots of tequila at a bar with friends, in anticipation of my upcoming surgery recovery period.
Three shots in, the cute guy that had been eyeing my friends and I came up to the bar and ordered a drink. His name was Peter, and he was really sweet, funny, and charming.
Peter and I made some small talk, took a shot of tequila together in memory of my tonsils, exchanged numbers, and said goodbye.
I never thought I’d see him again.
But the next day while I was running errands and stocking my fridge with surgery recovery food, he texted me.
He asked if he could visit me while I was recovering from surgery and I said yes, even though I knew I would be a drugged-up mess and I couldn’t see anyone. But I thought it was sweet of him to ask.
On the day of surgery, I walked in brave and walked out in a daze.
My sister picked me up, brought me home, and the rest of my day was a painkiller-induced blur. I tried to sleep but woke up every 15 minutes gasping for air.
The doctor warned me I would have trouble sleeping with the swelling, but I didn’t know the recovery could be this bad. I had imagined my recovery would be relaxing; I'd sleep for hours peacefully, then wake up to watch Sex and the City while I ate a pint of mint chip ice cream.
This was not the case.
On day 2 of recovery, I was still in pain and still absolutely drugged up when Peter texted me, asking if he could bring over some get well soon ice cream.
Unfazed and high, I said yes and gave the hot guy I barely knew my home address.
A few hours later, he rang the doorbell, and I opened the door to see all six feet of this tall, handsome, tattooed stranger standing at my door with flowers and a pint of chocolate swirl ice cream.
I let him into my apartment, and we crawled right into bed. I don’t really remember much of what happened after that, but I know he spent the rest of the day with me, taking care of me.
I couldn’t believe how kind he was.
He barely knew me, and he had no obligation to help me.
Still, he set an alarm on his phone to schedule my next painkiller and with it, my nausea pill. He spoonfed me yogurt every time I needed to eat. That night, he even offered to sleep over to make sure I got my medication on time.
It was better than any Sex and the City marathon I had pictured.
The next morning, he kissed me goodbye as he left for work, and then asked if he could come back after work to take care of me. “But of course,” I said.
Sure enough, he came back and stayed with me for the next few days.
“I had some vacation time scheduled for this week, but my trip got canceled. So I can stay here with you,” he said. It sounded perfect.
On day 5 of recovery, the pain subsided and I didn’t need as many pain pills throughout the day. I came down from my high dose of meds and became more aware of this unofficial roommate situation I had gotten myself into.
Yes, the hot guy from the bar unofficially moved in with me.
No, he didn’t bring clothes or furniture or anything like that. But we were spending all day together. He spent the night with me, woke up to go to work, and then came back to stay with me in the afternoon.
He took care of me as if it were his job.
As for me, I still couldn’t swallow food or drink liquids without pain and I had no one else to help me, so I wasn’t in a rush to fire my personal nurse. If it weren’t for Peter, I would’ve been on my own.
As we spent more time together throughout the next few days, we got to know each other a bit better. We started asking questions about each other’s upbringing, where our families lived, etc.
I mean, we had to. We knew nothing about each other but here we were, spending our days in bed while he spoon-fed me yogurt so I could take my nausea pills.
And in typical getting-to-know each other fashion, I decided to ask him about the two large names inked on his heavily tattooed chest. He explained,
“My sister’s kids died in a car accident, so I had their names put on for her.”
I thought it was beautiful that someone would do that for their sister. And it would’ve been sweet if it were true.
But those tattoos weren’t for his sister’s kids.
The very next day, he came running into my apartment after work and the first words out of his mouth were, “I need you to block this number from your phone.”
Hello, red flag. He said something along the lines of,
“My roommate’s girlfriend has a friend who is in love with me but I just think of her as a friend and my roommate’s girlfriend must have let her friend in the house because she somehow snuck into my room and got a hold of my phone and got your phone number from my phone. So now she’s probably going to text you because she’ll read my texts and get jealous that I’m seeing you.”
Yes. That was his story.
No, I did not believe him. But I wanted my live-in nurse. So, I blocked the number he told me to block, no questions asked. I never asked about it and he probably never planned on talking about it again.
But a few days after the roommate’s girlfriend’s friend story, we were on the couch watching television together when I got a text message from an unknown number.
And suddenly, the text messages came rushing in, one after another.
- “Do you know what you’ve done?”
- “I hope you’re happy ruining their marriage.”
- “They were supposed to be getting married! He ran away because of you.
(And a few other explicit home-wrecker accusing texts that I won’t repeat.)
Along with the harassing texts, I received a collection of pictures of an adorable family posing together in a green grassed park.
There was a mother, a father, and two adorable children holding signs that said, “Mommy and Daddy are getting married.”
The man sitting next to me was the man in those pictures.
I looked over at him and bluntly asked, “Do you want to see something?”
I showed him my phone, and the look on his face was something that I can only describe as sheer desperation. He tried to talk his way out of it, but the pictures on my phone told me everything I needed to know.
According to him, they were no longer together because she had kicked him out of the house when he tried to call off the wedding. He was only marrying her for the kids and he decided last minute he shouldn’t marry her for them.
I asked him why he wasn’t honest with me about having kids.
Or honest about leaving his fiancée. Or honest about anything at all. But his answers didn’t matter now. I could no longer have a live-in nurse who was having a dramatic cold feet situation with his fiancee.
I was upset that he had lied, but I also felt relief. Even with a swollen throat, I laughed at the entire situation.
I felt such relief that I had let a complete stranger into my home and out of the many ways that this could have gone terribly wrong, this is all that happened.
As I watched him walk out of my apartment, everything made sense.
I thought he was so kind and generous in staying with me, but it was because his fiancèe had kicked him out of the house! He didn’t have a place to sleep while he figured out his relationship status.
And the whole time, I thought he was helping me!
Those names on his chest that he said were his deceased niece and nephew, well, they were the names of his own children. The vacation he spoke of that was canceled – that was his wedding and honeymoon.
He tried to reach out to me after that day but I blocked every number he used until he gave up. I never saw him at that bar or anywhere else again.
I did reach out to him a few days later so he could ask his fiancee and her friends to stop harassing me. These women called me 15 times in a row, sometimes in the middle of the night, and left voicemails telling me I was a horrible person, a slut, a homewrecker. It was a nightmare.
For the record, if there is another surgery in my future, I will not be bringing home any strangers.
But from this wild experience, I learned sometimes people enter your life at the right moment, even in the most bizarre ways, even only temporary. The funny thing is you might enter their life at their moment of need too.
Peter was using me because he needed a place to stay and I really needed someone to take care of me post-surgery. We both benefitted until his lies caught up with him. Life is funny sometimes.
Wherever Peter is now, I hope he has grown up. I hope he is making memories with his beautiful family and not lying about his wife and kids to other tonsillectomy patients. I hope.
Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.