Euphemisms of an old lady
The old lady had never learned anything else in her life except to drop blessings from her lips, as if the blessings sustained her.
Her eyelash colour faded, her face was a mass of wrinkles. ” Daughter, give me the votive candle so I may light it, and may you reign like a queen one
On Sundays, in the courtyard under the vine, they’d turn on the radio.
“Daughter, bring the radio, and may you pick up soil and have it turned to gold
in your hands”.
At the Metro Station
I clamber down the stairs to Argiroupole metro station, heading to work, in central Athens. She’s sitting in one of the benches there, dark-skinned, dark-haired, probably a Roma, in her twenties. A long, limp pony tail, a shabby, red T-shirt, a flared, flowery skirt, tattered flip-flops. An equally scruffy two or three-year-old boy is wringing out of her grasp.
On the Phone
‘I know you and dad wanted something else for me but- Yeah, a rich, pot-bellied prince. You think mine is a frog, eh? He loves me to bits, mum; he really cares, that’s what matters.’ Sonia punches the pen’s tip fast against the notepad on the coffee table, peppering the white sheet with inky dots. ‘We’ll find something to eat. He’ll get a job.
You Reap what you Sow
Tzoras jots down the date of the primary school students’ last excursion this year. A week before his son’s University entrance exams. He couldn’t possibly be absent from this critical moment in his son’s life.
He unlocks the top desk drawer and takes out a deck of cards with famous actresses on he’d bought on an educational trip to Thessaloniki. He counts them. Fifty one. One’s missing. Fingers move deep into the drawer, through grade books and the register, under the desk pad. Nowhere.
He pushes the heavy iron gate open by the bars, flakes of peeling paint chafing his cold palms. The soles of his shoes scrunch against the grainy soil the pouring rain had carried this afternoon from the garden down the marble stairs, landing in small, grungy pools on the dirt road. He can feel the wet weather in his bones as he climbs up the steep, narrow steps, the night air heavy and cool on his cheeks.
I have always loved pets, particularly cats. I have, really. It is true that when my dear husband died I set my mind on buying a feline to keep me company. A quiet, good-mannered Persian one I had spotted in the shop window of the big pet shop downtown. Until I heard from the shop assistant there that it would need to be groomed daily. That put me off buying it. Too much trouble, I thought and figured I could do without a companion for a while.
She Wouldn’t Budge
Strategoula’s square jaw tightened as I pulled her messy, straw-blonde hair hard at the back, like plucking a dead chicken off its feathers. Her head bounced back and forth as if joined with her shoulders by bed springs. She reiterated by kicking me hard in the stomach and then I felt her pincers-firm grip on my left wrist.
Your Toothless Mouth
You know what struck me the most when I saw you lying flat on the hospital bed? I realized I’d never seen you without your impeccable false teeth. You looked older, defenseless, robbed from authority. A catatonic man with cheeks sunken along the gums that framed a wide dark cave of a mouth, a forehead jutting out of the white pillow, wet wisps of hair drowning underneath.