I have been living in Ghent for a while. Have been working there to. Underneath where I lived I was a dishwasher washing dishes in the back of the kitchen of an Italian restaurant. "The Medici steps"
My chef Claudio, who lived the building next to mine, was not just a chef to boss his staff around, he was a beautiful loving Roman guy someone who understood you and could see when you had stuff going on in your heart. Then he would take you aside, sit with you and with his heavenly smile he would do his magic: make the sun shine through the clouds again. We became best friends from day one, almost like lovers a true connection between two people, a high and rare thing.
One night, august the 28th 2004 to be exactly, I noticed how the square, which my room was fazing, got coloured blue by the flickering of blue lights. So I ran over to the big window and saw how the ambulance had parked where my friend lived. Just like that my dearest Claudio was gone.
The restaurant got closed for a week during which there was the funeral in the presence of his parents and brothers who came over to Belgium. Also they had to think of the future because life goes on as you know, and a person had to be found to step into this so loved man's place.
A day before we would take a new start we had to clean everything up. So they asked me to go upstairs to the second floor where the toilets were and do some cleaning over there. As I was wondering around with the vacuum cleaner and about to enter the toilet room, a strong and firm power forced me to turn my head. Something so powerful that it made my heart beat faster and had me have goosbumps all over my body. I looked but there was nothing. I continued to vacuum and entered the toilet area. When the vacuuming was done, I thought to myself "is it really necessary to clean the toilets? No one has used them for a week, so how can they be dirty?"
To make sure I opened the door to the ladies toilet and received the surprise of a lifetime! Claudio sat on it and scared the socks off of me. It all happened in the blink of an eye, I saw him in his chef's outfit, his white shoes, his blue shirt and apron. I saw him and slammed the door jumping backwards. So scared I was.
After I had calmed down I told him that I loved him but that he please would not give me anymore surprises. So I carefully opened the door a second time to see he had vanished.
It turned out that of all the five toilets, the one he was sitting on was the one to be cleaned. And in my head I could hear him say to me: "When you clean the toilets you are sure they are clean." Which was such a typical thing for him to do; he always took good care of the restaurant so he was sure that he could give the customers a clean welcome.