The Traveller by Afrodykie

O is for … Oops … and P is for … Plateia
YES, you don’t post Wednesday’s blog, oh oh oh oh dear.
Oops.
You do try though, to write it, sitting on a step in Mytiline, your feet on the pavement, your back against a glass door.
The motorbikes race by, and the words stick somewhere you don’t know where.
The trip to the harbour city, Lesvos island’s capital, is cacophonous and cruel.
It’s a jolting journey into mayhem.
Chaos. Bustle bustle. The tarmac bites your feet. It swallows your soul.
Up and down. Shopping. Waiting. You sweat in silence.
The pollution, the gypsies ragged and menacing, they trawl the car park, their long fingers itch — itch to crawl into crime any crime they can grab and devour.
Their eyes burn bright in dark faces, eyes that flit from side to side, even the children’s eyes slide quick non-stop into a perpetual seeking seeking.
Unkempt hair, matted rods of dry neglect, they poke the heat.
Horrible.
You carry your computer in a rucksack. Scared.
A rent-boy emerges from the morass and slings a bag over his shoulder.
His hair is neat, coiffured into a catwalk style.
The brand on his underpants peeps over the belt of his fashionable shorts.
He strides determined focused to his job.
Shirtless is good in the body business. He doesn’t look back. Not once.
You prefer the village, your village, Eressos.
Where the plateia, the square, it offers generous respite.
You’re sitting there. You get a whiff of the sea.
That’s unusual, 4km from the ocean.
You turn around and see a big bag of round sea urchins, their black spikes protrude, a halo of danger if you’re not careful.
There are about five men at a table, at Kafene.
Maria, they shout, and Maria brings ouzo in little bottles, and bread in a basket.
They slice off a third of the needled shell with a kind of clamp, a silver tool.
It smoothly executes the animal, the sea hedgehog.
Then they wipe out the orange pink strands of the star shaped flesh inside the glistening light-striped shell.
They capture the meat with the bread, or a finger that removes it all in a twirl.
One of them pours the juice of the creatures into his palm, to slurp the aphrodisiac.
You want to try, one man asks.
You eat five, ten of these and two men won’t be enough for you.
You wish!
The plateia.
You go there when your transport to collect your desks falls through.
Two men at Portakali help you.
One, two, three.
They organise a car and helpers and within an hour you have a comprehensive work space at home.
The plateia is like that, the networking nub of the village.
It lights up at night, magic under the huge plane trees. It twinkles.
Vento your hunting dog loves going there too.
She runs around and wags her tail and gets bones and food from the people at the tables.
She likes Sam’s. That’s her favourite place.
You’ve written your telephone number on her collar, just in case.
But nobody phones anymore. She’s part of the plateia now, your Vento, the wind of your heart.
(ends)

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