The earth moves but you’re asleep
PHEW. It’s not even 9am and it’s sweat-hot.
Vento and you walk up to the sheep shed in the mountain.
You have lots of company: any manner of insect, butterfly, ant and bird swarms around you — yes, there are even some persistent little critters that stick to your arms.
And then you stop in your tracks.
A trail of ants carries pieces of beige-white grass husk 10 times bigger than themselves, and they’re not mini ants. They’re big and robust. Shiny black, busy blighters.
They scurry, this way and that.
They make a pretty picture in the sparkling morning light.
The textures and colours of the blonde grasses, and the spruced up look of polished ebonite, they are too beautiful.
Magic moves on a pallet of grey volcanic rock, and speckled bits of coarse earth.
It reminds you of the long line of sheep you saw on the hill, opposite your terrace, on the other side of the village.
You are standing there, staring (it’s infectious around here, this staring).
You’re contemplating the wonder of the olive trees climbing to the top of the hill.
Then you notice movement.
Good grief! It’s a line of sheep snaking its way to supper. No, not your supper, their supper.
It is that time of the day. Dusk. They are in a hurry to feed.
You can see, even from a distance, that they are plump and bent on reaching their destination, so determined and dogged are they.
It’s single-minded, single-file endeavour.
The train of sheep, all dressed up in its light-coloured wool, brings a sigh of relief to the hill, and its dark moody green of Eressos, Greece.
Your Sunday morning today is as you like it. You’re in the zone.
It’s 9.30am and the fisherman is doing his rounds, an hour later today, than other days.
How different it is, compared to last night.
Miss Muscles’ farewell party in Skala made you feel on edge.
You don’t know what to say to strangers
You blurt out all sorts of inappropriate things.
Madame X looks at you and shakes her head. That’s not very clever, she says.
She’s resplendent, of course, in flamboyant attire. You rate her F for fabulous.
Miss Allergies, who makes a lot of money writing pulp, as she calls it, says she can’t talk when you ask her how much?
Her throat is sore, she says, and distractadly claws at the bottom of her throat.
It’s so bad, she says, it feels as if she’s got cats scratching around in her chest.
Miss Moneybags, who took you on quick trip to Mytiline and Thermi, is also the worse for wear. She wraps her throat in some big garment — no doubt a pukkah German thing — and sits inside.
General consensus is that the cause of their afflictions could be the olive tree flowers, or even a bug. Who knows. Something is going around.
But the topic that gets everyone goggle-eyed is the earthquake!
It’s even more compelling than the usual gossip.
Stories change according to who is telling them.
This one is true.
Yes. Early on Saturday, they say. So-and-so said the stock fell off her shelves.
I ran outside, says the Kaftan One. That’s what I’ve been told to do when there’s an earthquake.
Oh, my chair shook, says another woman, and rocks on her stool.
Everyone felt the earth move, but you.
You get advice from The Barehead, the woman with tattoos on her scalp.
She’s rummaging in the fridge just as you and Madame X are about to leave.
Madame X mind you, who’s told you to buck up she’s going, is now going around kissing everyone goodbye.
I give up, you say. All I can do is submit.
The Barehead smiles, a knowing smile.
Yes, in Eressos that is what you have to do, she says. To survive.