Just another day in paradise
THE closed fences open like the sea of whatsit — it’s easy when you know how — and you, your hunting dog Vento, and her friend Ermie, you dance on the gravel road to Madame’s sea rock in the sky.
Skippity hop bee bop a loola.
It echoes, that rock. You shout Ela Vento, Ela Ermie. It talks back to you.
Yooohooo reverberates too, in a voice as old as the centuries.
The echoes spill from the mouths of millennia.
The dogs’ floppy ears flatten and fly behind their heads as they chase each other and jump for joy.
They brake and skid, and arch their backs in sudden turns that raise the dust, their robust bodies melt into the mists of eternity.
The sheep stop their side-ways munching, and stare. But they have very short attention spans.
The bells around their necks go klonk klonk as they drop their heads to feed again.
Yes, it’s a blue blue sky a loud cicada day. The wind breaths gently on your skin.
Is that a kiss, dear air?
You meet Lista from Sappho Estates.
You’ve fallen in love with a village wreck with no roof, ok a roof, but it leaks.
A grande dame this, once, in need of some urgent TLC — tender loving care. You can see she’s good-looking, even in her dishevelled dress.
And the garden! It’s a jungle of door-high grass and rose bushes stretch into forever.
Shrivelled fruit hangs from hungry trees.
Yet, dreams whisper there. They beckon shyly. They dare you, the winikng blighters, to embrace them.
Time will tell, of course — she always does — whether this audacious flirtation will grow into a happy marriage.
I do I do I do. Adieu?
For now, you cling lick a tantalising perhaps …
At home, you tie your red and white umbrella to your bicycle, with a plastic bag.
You freewheel, mostly, to DaLuz, through Skala to buy some water, and then you bounce over the turtle bridge, to the sand around the corner.
Your umbrella blows into the sea while you’re floating wallowing on your back in the embracing Aegean.
It glides along the water, a striped boat sailing bobbing to better days.
You chase to retrieve it, to return it to you spot on the beach.
It’s marked by a kikoi, a rucksack, a tuna salad from the DaLuz beach bar, and your book — the The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt, perfect for the beach.
You try to insert the flighty thing into the sand but oh no, you’re an Eressos amateur, a rookie in the ways of this wonderland.
Let me learn you, says a dark-haired French woman.
She takes a rock and bashes the stem of the umbrella into the sand.
She has beautiful eyes and dark black hair. It curls around her smile.
Plastic water bottles filled with sand, they’re tied to the umbrellas; they anchor them and the lilos the women use to soften their sleepy sojourns on the sand.
They leave them there, day after day, night after night.
Just about every one is naked, of course, on this stretch of beach: the lesbians, the straight couples, some children.
Everyone’s comfortable in their birthday suits. Cocks, tits, scars, folds and fat. Cellulite, mastectomies, anything!
People bend over and happily show their where the sun don’t shine. But hell! Why not?
In Skala there’s tolerance and acceptance, and nobody stares.
Besides, many people have their noses buried in a book.
Yours is too, until you meet some friends, and chat and laugh. Fulsome frailties bared in mirth.
You try to follow the German …
It’s nearly 7pm when you ride your bike to the centre of Skala, where the taxis are.
But the drivers laugh when you indicate that they must load your bicycle in the boot for the trip up the hill to the village.
The prefects don’t co-operate, so you phone the headboy, Babis.
That gets them going.
Gregoris and another driver put the bike on some roofracks.
And so does Gregoris.