The Traveller by Afrodykie

T is for … Thank you
THANK you for the music, the songs I’m singing … nah, way too cheesy, even for an Abba fan.
Thank you, Milou, for the washing machine, that’s what you want to say.
Milou? It’s Snowy in French. You know Snowy, from the Tintin comics?
The name is on the wall of their building, just metres from the sand and sea, in Skala Eressos.
Milou Bed And Breakfast http://www.roomsmilou.com.
The kindness almost made you cry.
How sweet was that, to respond to a request on Eressos Connected, and to offer the use of their washing machine – and drying space?
It’s the warmest Eressian gesture you’ve had the privilege of appreciating — the second time in three months that anyone has invited you anywhere, and been nice to you!
You like soft landings…
And it was very soft at Milou.
Yonca added stuff to make your washing come out more delicate and someone, you don’t know who, pegged your laundry to the line.
You went for a swim and bought some vegetables and fruit while the sun lapped up its wet.
On Sunday, it was the day of the Big Full Moon.
You finished your online work and called Babis – you’re always calling Babis — to drive you to the beach.
You told him you’re getting a car on Thursday.
Ne, he said, and dropped you at the cantina.
You hitched your rucksack onto your shoulder and kicked off your slip slops.
The paddle ski cost E5 to hire for an hour.
And off you went, out into the Aegean, and around The Rock.
We call it the island, said the bloke who told you the do’s and don’ts of ocean rules.
The sea was choppy and the wind pushed you this way and that.
Around The Rock you paddled and then, boy o boy, you had to stop and plan.
The current pushed you back; the wind too.
You dug the oars deeper into the heaving sea, and still you didn’t move.
The beach looked very far away.
OK, don’t go straight into the wind, cut across it.
Phew. You could see the buoys again, and hear Parasol’s music pump.
Your plan had worked, and you paddled, sure and strong.
You went in and out of the shiny slipway in to the setting sun.
The church bells banged across the sea and the water splashed across the bow.
The ski slapped bumpity-bump, it clouted little waves, surly restless swells came at you.
You passed Da Luz then paddled back again.
The ocean was turning into silky oil, colour changing in the receding light.
You were ready for your swim, a lovely swim, and you found a sand bank.
Teens were playing Marco Polo there, and it made you smile, their carefree friendly joy.
Families, friends, they laughed and sprawled their happiness on the sand.
For once there were empty tables at the Blue Sardine.
You faced the sea waiting for your mountain tea.
It was soothing and warm. Like Milou.
And the moon smiled, and spilled its big bright light on you.
(ends)

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The Traveller by Afrodykie

T is for … Thank you
THANK you for the music, the songs I’m singing … nah, way too cheesy, even for an Abba fan.
Thank you, Milou, for the washing machine, that’s what you want to say.
Milou? It’s Snowy in French. You know Snowy, from the Tintin comics?
The name is on the wall of their building, just metres from the sand and sea, in Skala Eressos.
Milou Bed And Breakfast http://www.roomsmilou.com.
The kindness almost made you cry.
How sweet was that, to respond to a request on Eressos Connected, and to offer the use of their washing machine – and drying space?
It’s the warmest Eressian gesture you’ve had the privilege of appreciating — the second time in three months that anyone has invited you anywhere, and been nice to you!
You like soft landings…
And it was very soft at Milou.
Yonca added stuff to make your washing come out more delicate and someone, you don’t know who, pegged your laundry to the line.
You went for a swim and bought some vegetables and fruit while the sun lapped up its wet.
On Sunday, it was the day of the Big Full Moon.
You finished your online work and called Babis – you’re always calling Babis — to drive you to the beach.
You told him you’re getting a car on Thursday.
Ne, he said, and dropped you at the cantina.
You hitched your rucksack onto your shoulder and kicked off your slip slops.
The paddle ski cost E5 to hire for an hour.
And off you went, out into the Aegean, and around The Rock.
We call it the island, said the bloke who told you the do’s and don’ts of ocean rules.
The sea was choppy and the wind pushed you this way and that.
Around The Rock you paddled and then, boy o boy, you had to stop and plan.
The current pushed you back; the wind too.
You dug the oars deeper into the heaving sea, and still you didn’t move.
The beach looked very far away.
OK, don’t go straight into the wind, cut across it.
Phew. You could see the buoys again, and hear Parasol’s music pump.
Your plan had worked, and you paddled, sure and strong.
You went in and out of the shiny slipway in to the setting sun.
The church bells banged across the sea and the water splashed across the bow.
The ski slapped bumpity-bump, it clouted little waves, surly restless swells came at you.
You passed Da Luz then paddled back again.
The ocean was turning into silky oil, colour changing in the receding light.
You were ready for your swim, a lovely swim, and you found a sand bank.
Teens were playing Marco Polo there, and it made you smile, their carefree friendly joy.
Families, friends, they laughed and sprawled their happiness on the sand.
For once there were empty tables at the Blue Sardine.
You faced the sea waiting for your mountain tea.
It was soothing and warm. Like Milou.
And the moon smiled, and spilled its big bright light on you.
(ends)

The Traveller by Afrodykie

S is for … Scribble

NESTLE into the neck of a nice quiet page, with no words on it, no thoughts, no humour, no pain.

Listen to what it says, its whisper calls you.

You.

It beckons.

It’ll shout if you don’t respond, that page, it’ll pull your face in, close.

Love me, it says.

Clothe me in prose.

You too can write and tell a story. It doesn’t have to be a funny one.

Just do it, please.

Blank pages were made for you to fill, black on white, the drug, the addict.

You get your fix.

They lure you, these pages. The pimps, they pump your fingers up and down.

Fingers melt into the keyboard, dance fast intensity; they move relentless, unguarded words on their route, the road rambunctious to god knows where.

They spring uncalled, the bastards, they burst and gasp grasp the letters, settle them from a swirling well.

They swell, and barge into the light, and then they cringe.

Disclosure, the glare, it dazzles them.

Daunting scrutiny startles, scares them, these words on a page.

It’s a sentence, to write.

Every word elicits a verdict, the reader’s on the bench.

Percipience, they plead. Sagacity.

Off with their heads, shouts the judge. The gallery roars: let them live.

Live!

We’re just words, they say, cowering on the page.

They’re stripped of mirth.

They recoil. They beg to flower, these words.

It’s all in the gaze.

Their meaning draws emotion from a subjective haze, yes.

And they hope, yes they do, these silly little words, they want a more soulful day, a day when they can play, and laugh, and throw a joy onto the page.

They bask in carefree innocence, an innocence dressed in buxom banter.

(ends)

The Traveller by Afrodykie

R is for … Rock
SKALA Eressos, besos – calientes!
Hot kisses, yes, if you know where to find them.
No, silly, not under a rock … that’s not what this R is about.
Ok, this R is for … did you say, um … Rock?
More specifically, the Skala Women’s Rock Group at Little Buddha, as it’s named on Facebook.
It’s fun swimming with the wimmin at the harbour end of the beach, a Blue Flag beach, mind you.
Miss F and Miss T are there every single morning of the glorious summer, and part of spring and autumn too.
They get their little ducks ready steady go all in a row, and it’s splish splash to The Rock, a tiny island 314 metres off shore.
If it’s 10am, it must be swim time.
The daily dip is as much part of Skala’s lesbian culture as the appropriation of Sappho’s sexuality, and the tourism industry that has grown around it.
Yes, Sappho, the lyric poet — Plato named her the Tenth Muse, bless him —she was born in Eressos.
She died here too, but of course nobody knows if she swam to the rock.
Could she swim, with that stylus poised in front of her lip, and a writing tablet glued to her left hand?
She’d have been hamstrung, that’s for sure.
You can’t imagine her emulating the strapping lass who sliced through the sea in 4mins 10 and, on reaching The Rock, turned round to see hapless heads and arms bobbing in her wake.
Generally though, The Swim to The Rock is a social swim.
Miss F told you last year, as she paddled along next to a gasping and unfit you, that she and Miss T started The Swim to add to the spectrum of activities for the women in Skala.
Her swimming cap was turned up at the ears.
It is a chance to exercise, she said, have fun and to do something that doesn’t result in a hangover, a babalas as we say in RSA.
When you’re a first timer, and you’ve finished your swim, Miss T will line you up with the other swim virgins, and someone – everyone, goddamit, it’s the digital age – everyone will take a photograph.
You’re standing there dripping and Miss T lowers a medal over your wet head.
You bow to accept the Sappho Siren Award for Excellent Swimming, a laminated square of paper hanging on a piece of cotton.
There’s that picture of Sappho on it.
You got yours during the Sappho International Women’s Festival in September last year, and you don’t know if every new Rock Star gets one.
But you do recall the words of Miss F during your first swim.
When’s it going to end, you panted, treading water and catching your breath.
She smiled, and uttered words as sweet as a kiss: “As we say, this swim isn’t a race … it’s all about the journey we take, together.”
(ends)

The Traveller by Afrodykie

Q is for … Quiz … and other delightful things
SKALA Eressos is not only about bodies, booze and bonhomie.
Oh, no. It’s also about brains!
Take the Monday night quiz at the Flamingo Beach Bar, for instance.
Miss Whiplash is in charge. Very strict, you’re told, and domineering.
Achtung!
She has tats on her scalp, and a raised eyebrow that sends shivers down your spine.
Nobody messes with her. They don’t dare.
By day though, she’s the Crazy Cat Lady.
She feeds rescue kittens and loves it when their little ears flap as they suck on a tiny bottle teat.
They sleep in her neck, and she holds them there.
Quizzes are close to her too. She’s been compiling questions for a long time.
Last week there were about 50 people in teams at Flamingo, she says.
They gather at half past nine and start promptly at ten to vie for the grand prize, a bottle of tequila.
No brain, no gain?
That’s island style for you.
Libation, a lubricant.
It was yours too, not any more.
You’ve been sorting your life’s work and only yesterday 1. made Facebook contact with one of the friends you shared a flat with in the 1980s, and 2. on the same day found a note you had sent to her, with words on it beginning with … yes, you guessed it, Q.
Quenelle … seasoned ball of pounded fish or meat
Quern … hand mill for pounding corn (quern stones too)
Quetzal … (not to be confused with pretzel) birds of a striking colour, and tralala, the currency of Guatemala
You wrote in the note that you were sucking a paper clip in between editing stories at a newspaper in Port Elizabeth.
You also mentioned that you’d smoked three cigarettes and eaten an apple, banana, rice and two peaches. Oh, and a tomato too.
You added quidnunc to the list; someone who wants to know the latest gossip, a skinderbek we call them in Afrikaans.
And won’t you be my Quiche (open tart)?
Your request was Quashed.
Oh, the Quixotic nature of unreQuited love.
Sigh.
This Quest for Quim, it is a Quandary indeed.
You wonder … Miss Whiplash, do you know the answer?
(ends)

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)

The Traveller by Afrodykie

The Traveller by Afrodykie
N is for … Nice
IT’S for nipples too, those twin towers of titillation, the edifices of the erotic.
They give a point to a breast and remind you of a story from the 80s.
There you were having an affair with a married woman who’d recently given birth.
She had a nice bed, one of those four poster things, and lived in a house with big sash windows and creaking wooden floors.
The passage was a long one, thank God.
And the front door at the one end of it was a monster, huge.
In its swathes of wood there was a lock.
It needed a six-inch key to be jiggled around in it, before it would open.
For this you are eternally grateful.
She made sure it was securely shut, and unbuttoned her blouse.
She winked at you, and giggled.
Her husband was at work. The baby was gurgling dreams in his cot.
We looked at each other, but not for too long.
Clothes flew, like popcorn jumping from a pot.
It was a great opportunity for some rumpy-pumpy, yes it was, on the ample marital mattress.
The baby didn’t budge but boy, did we sweat the fuck fandango.
Her breasts were sensitive, all that feeding.
No chance to tweak them, or to roll them between your fingers.
Nipping and nibbling? NO!
Suck them, she gasped, and stroked you hair.
Her hands anchored your head and your lips, your murmuring mouth, it clasped her teats, again and again.
It was sublime, that mother’s milk. Tasty, sweet.
You nearly said mama but a key rattled in the door.
Hubby!
You jumped out of bed and grabbed your clothes. The milk ran down your chin.
Your underwear hung from your hand.
You reached for the window and it went whoosh — just as the door banged open onto the wall.
You tiptoed, a love thief, down the side of the house, outside.
Your heart raced as you clambered over the garden fence and scoured the pavements for a witness.
Drat.
You hadn’t said goodbye.
So what?
Hubby liked to work a lot!
(ends)