Monday, April 27, 2009

The Greek love story

Well, you asked for it. I asked my friend if she would graciously write the back story about the photo I put up on Wednesday. Two good things came out of this; 1. you all get her story and 2. I get to be lazy. Win-win as far as I'm concerned. I'll be very interested in what you have to say and so will my friend.

Her Life had been devoted to her profession but all along the way, it had been rich and complex and . . . well, plain fun. She had had her share of uproarious laughter, outrageous moments and even a few miracles. She had never looked over her shoulder and had never looked back.

But, then her Life changed: a new direction in her profession led to dramatic differences. Every one knew Her and her business. She became “an example.” It forced Her to become cloistered, closed and isolated. Every professional minute gave Her the opportunity to develop, to create and to give in new found ways. But, it drained her life blood, running cold on the ground.

A trip to Greece seemed to have the trappings of divine intervention. A condo opened up for the deal of the century. A last minute change of plans brought Her old friend and associate, Kay, along, a much needed chance for her too to get away from the constant trials and tribulations of her family – including three teens – and work. But, She three goals were 1) to be anonymous; 2) to see things older than she; and 2) to see a Greek God. Truly, it was to find herself finding herself once again. She and Kay dubbed the trip “Oprah and Gail Go White.”

At the airport, they looked at each other with raised eyebrows when “Agent Frivolous” was paged to report to their gate. They silently squirmed when the two hour delay was announced. Waiting for time to pass, Kay broached the subject: the Professional lived with blinders on and it created isolation. Oh, She could be warm and interactive with the woman at the airline counter, the baggage claim guy, the cabbie or even the deli boy at the grocery counter. But, She never saw the good looking guy in the green sweater who watched her. Kay caught it but She didn’t. “Hey, where did She go? You know, the old you that caught eyes and held them? I’m calling you ‘Agent Oblivious’ on this trip.” And so, a bastardized form of aversion therapy began. “Every time you miss someone looking at you . . . and I don’t just mean the deli boy . . . I am going to hit you in the head with a frying pan.” By the time they boarded, “Agent Oblivious” had four lumps.

They were in trouble before the jet left the tarmack. Kay bought single serving wine-bottles-with-plastic-glasses-attached at a kiosk near the gate and served fellow passengers, creating a stir (if not a downright fight) among stewardesses who differed in opinions on the matter. They laughed until they snorted. And, She talked to a perfect stranger most of the night while Kay “breathed deeply.” Kay thought Her therapy was progressing.

No part of Greece was off limits. They were adventurous and marvelous traveling companions. Their backs and stomachs hurt so badly one morning, the result of too much laughter the night before. One night, they had a brief marriage to Mr. Ouzo followed by a nasty divorce the next morning, vowing never to see him again For hours, they walked in olive groves to ruins and through the city streets to the Acropolis and the Temple of Zeus. They stood on stones moved by the ancient Minoans and they were awed. They did indeed see things older than they were.

One night they sat outside a restaurant in an ancient Harbor city. And, Kay flailed her feet at Her chins, kicking the air. “There is the most handsome man we’ve seen in Greece walking with his friends.” Between chomps, She looked at the tall, dark man. But, when he turned his head toward her, Her eyes dropped to the “grilled platter” before her. They strolled by again and he looked at Her. She caught it out of the corner of her eye.

When Kay went to the “water closet”, the three walked by one more time and he stopped, faced Her, caught her eyes and held them. She smiled, an old and familiar smile of the past. She dropped her fork. It clanged to her plate. The three walked off, Kay returned, the bill was paid, and She and Kay started walking in the Harbor to their car. The three passed the two. And, She missed it. Kay was threatening to get out the frying pan while she looked over her shoulder. “For God’s sake, Turn Around. Turn Around!” And, She did.

He was walking backwards looking at Her. And, then She was walking backwards looking at him as he came running forward looking at Her. He caught up and outreached his hand and told her his name. The “therapist,” Kay, kicked in to coach “You can do better than that.” He kissed her cheeks. “Please don’t go. Please stay with me and be my guests in the Harbor this evening.” Feeling as if She were in the Sahara, She declined with the driest mouth ever. Oh, the sweet adrenalin rush of long ago. He took out a pen to write his number on Her hand. “Please call me. Please. Tomorrow.”

She and Kay walked to the car. Desperate to find her own pen in the bottom of her purse, Kay dumped the contents on the car floor. “Your palms are sweaty. You’ll never get the right number if you touch that steering wheel. Don’t you dare touch that steering wheel.” So, Kay wrote on a scrap of the Hertz contract “[His Name], [number], the Greek God.” Kay referred to those moments as the lightning bolt of Zeus, parting the Heavens and charging the air. And, Kay was right.

Old feelings . . . strange and unfamiliar . . . were stirred. The next day, Her hand trembled as she punched the numbers on the telephone pad. They planned to meet in the Harbor. When She was late, lingering too long at a ruin, she apologized at first meeting him. He told her he was happy - even though she was late - because he was waiting for Her. And, they met the next day. And, the next. And, the next. . . .

Kay was the ever present chaperone. The last day, then he asked Kay if he could have dinner alone with the woman who had both stopped him cold in the Harbor and warmed his heart. Ever thoughtful, he made plans for Kay: a Harbor restaurant was owned by his friend. Kay would spend time in the kitchen with the Chef and dine there. After all, after having been drug through the markets, he knew they loved to cook. Both women had the times of their lives that night.

Upon parting for God-knows-how-many-days-or-months, She cried: tears, held for too long, ran down her cheeks and ran hot onto the ground. He told Her “Every time you smile, I am called forward in your heart. Smile every minute in America.”

At Athens Airport, he called to talk, not with Her but with Kay. “Kay, I know you have worried about our friend. About her loneliness. You have wanted for her a partner. You need look no further. Promise me you will not look any more.” All She heard was Kay say with tears in her eyes, “I promise.”

They came back to America. She came back to work. “What goes in Greece, stays in Greece” was their mantra. Every one noticed She was different, something new about her. They were wrong: she was only renewed.

Now, every day at 4:00 p.m. the telephone rings. It begins with “Good afternoon, sweet. How is your day in America?” And, ends with “Sweet Dreams to you in Greece.”

What do you think? Quite a vacation, huh?
I'll be back tomorrow with my typical inane blather. See you then.



  1. That is a fabulous story.

  2. nkidvoucndokljb
    kdnns dmodms
    (translated: Oh My God. I'm a puddle of feeling right now.)

  3. Wow! Reminds me of the movie "Shirley Valentine" - life and art intersect. Check it out next time you need a chick flik to go with those experimental cosmo's :-)

  4. I am amazed! Really!


  5. Wow, that could be a movie. I'm sitting here with goosebumps and planning a trip to Greece. Heh, I'd have to take Jamie along and skip the romantic stranger part but it sounds like a love-filled place. Thanks for sharing the back story, it's about time.

  6. That was some good stuff right there.