It’s daylight and I should be doing something constructive, I know I should, there’s so much that needs doing. And here I am writing to you again, Lynda. It’s addicting.
I have to wonder if Kate and I will ever achieve that intimate camaraderie we had online. We could almost read each other’s thoughts, we finished sentences for each other. Do you suppose it’s because writing gives you time to think? And when you’re face to face, it’s all in the moment, no time to delay for fear she’ll read your expression or lack of it, and misunderstand.
I would never have believed we’d be so awkward with each other.
Except for the pink streaks she looks like she belongs in Greece. Small and dark and compactly built, her skin glowing with health and sun. She fits somehow, even if she’s not quite used to the animal population yet. I wonder if we could keep doves, or pigeons, like they used to. I think I saw one of those dovecots out back, falling down, of course, but I’d love to keep doves, I like the sound of their soft coos and their lack of fear.
I wonder if I ever told Kate I grew up in farming country …
I’m sure it’ll all get better, both our living conditions and our relationship. It’ll just take time, that’s all. I can almost feel the look you’re giving me; yes, I said the same of Pat. But Pat was male and what do they know of the inner workings of a woman?
Kate and I will bond for the second time, we’ll find our niches here and all will be well. It will, won’t it Lynda? Goats in the living room just won’t cut it, and since I do want that dove cote I’ll have to change Kate’s thinking.
It’s a far cry from northern snow scenes and sultry southern days, but it’s beautiful, and it’s an adventure. And I feel hopeful for the first time in years. I’m not constrained anymore, I’m not tied to anyone legally so that their decisions affect mine or just bring them crashing down.
I’m more than Patton ever thought or imagined I could be. But you always knew, didn’t you? Still, keep those prayers coming, darlin’.
God, I miss you!
I’d never seen a house like this. It’s like something out of a fantasy book. I always knew intellectually that Greece was an old country, but this house, and the little town it belongs to, really brought it home. I bet some of these structures – or at least parts of them – were built while Homer was writing his tall tales or when Perseus was following a trail of yarn in a maze built of the very same stone. Of course, that was Crete, but still …
Things are so ancient here, including our house. I’d got the impression Kate didn’t think of it in quite the same way I do; I knew she must see the beauty of it, but … Kate was the quintessential city girl and Kate was very pissed over the inconveniences that come with being a part of history. She’d never spent a winter in a cottage at a frozen lake with only a pot bellied stove for heat and a chamber pot under the bed so you wouldn’t freeze your ass off traipsing up to the outhouse. The best thing my father ever did was move his family south. I like the climate much better!
The house reminded me of a Roman villa. Of course it wasn’t, not nearly. For one thing, it was too small and the layout was probably all wrong. The thing is, it had a courtyard, smack dab in the middle of it. The house was like a big hollow square and all the rooms, including the bedrooms, had access to what was probably once a spectacular garden and somebody, at some time, had opened the living room almost completely along one wall, with big windows and huge French doors. I suspect that’s how Daniel and his housewarming gift got in; the doors didn’t seem to latch too well.
I remembered Kate’s enthusiasm for her little balcony garden back in San Francisco. She talked of it a lot and would email me pictures. Now she’d have a whole courtyard to work with if she wanted, it could be made so beautiful.
Along one side of the house – which was built of the local stone, just like everything around here; not marble although there are marble quarries, but some sort of granite that contains flecks and streaks of rusty oranges, blues and greens – an old, narrow, stone staircase stumbled its way to the roof.
I went exploring and I couldn’t help but think of all the feet that had used these stairs. Centuries of feet, climbing to the roof for whatever reason. Each tread was slightly dipped in its center, which can make for treacherous footing but sent me into a dream state, imagining who had belonged to those feet. Perhaps a young woman, wearing a long white toga carrying a basket of fruit. Or a man in a loin cloth, sweating in the heat of the day. Perhaps children playing on the stairs while their mother sat at the shaded end of the small patio grinding corn in a big pottery bowl, listening to their laughter.
Well. I suppose I fantasize too much. But the history some things wear just catches at me sometimes, you know?
But I did like that little patio. So I settled there, on the rough stone bench, after gathering what I’d need. It was so airy, so much brighter than the bathroom and I needed to shave my legs. The quintessential female rite.
There was a crude wooden arbor, more like loose lattice along one side of the patio, on which some sort of vine was growing. When I looked closer – I believe it was a grape vine, but the grapes, such as they were, looked small and sour. It was quiet and peaceful and enough cooler in the shade that I was content. And then Kate arrived and the air was charged with anticipation and I was awakened from my fugue.
She pushed at my feet and sat, fanning herself.
“Tell me again why we came here?”
“You tell me, wasn’t it your idea?”
“It was a good idea,” she said defensively. “I just didn’t expect we’d be living in a ruin.”
“It’s not that bad, we can do some fixing, you’re good at that and it’ll keep your mind occupied and you out of trouble.”
She stopped fanning; one hand clasped my ankle. “Do you blame me?”
I swished the razor in the bowl of water. “I’m wearing my big girl panties.” I looked up at her and smiled. “My decisions are my own. You’re my idea lady. Lots of ideas, but you don’t force them down my throat. All I have to do, all I had to do, was say ‘no’.”
“Had to get you out of your rut.”
I nodded. “You did that. And I love you for it.”
I bent over my leg, concentrating hard.
“Move, you’re in my light.”
“I don’t know why you bother, it’s not worth the effort. You’ve only got about 3 hairs.”
“Well, I don’t want to have to start braiding them!”
“Who’s going to see you here?”
“You will,” I laughed. “You don’t want to trip over three long, trailing hairs, do you? You should do something about that muff you’re wearing.”
“Quit talking dirty and give me that razor.”
“Cleaning up for the football player?”
She ignored my teasing. “Got a date with a tavern. I want to look it over. If I don’t come back, you’ll know I fucking slit my throat.”
“Surely it won’t be that bad. Want some company?”
“No … no offence.”
“None taken. I understand.”
We sat together, bonded by more than just hairy legs. We sat in the shade of a Greek arbor, on a Greek island, and the past was just that – the past. It joined all the other ‘pasts’ that existed here, became another story that might be handed down to newer generations.
I looked at Kate, at that damn pink striped hair and the long lashes lowered against her cheeks as she concentrated on not cutting herself, at the generous mouth that hinted at the woman within, and I was content.
I wonder what adventures we’ll find together, here on what began as a hiding place, but I think will turn into our salvation.