Monday, February 08, 2010
This is the first installment of a short story I am writing. I travelled through Greece for a month and came away with memories that will last a lifetime. This is a fictional account combining some of the actual events of my trip. Enjoy.
I decided to go back to Greece where it all began fifteen years ago. My writing had dried up and was going nowhere. I hoped it would be the inspiration I so desperately needed. My publisher recommended a vacation so I tried to line up a job teaching English, but nothing panned out. Hoping I might be able to make a connection once I arrived at Apollonas, a small village at the northern end of the island of Naxos in the Cyclades, where I met Martin, I bought a one way ticket to Athens from London.
Martin was German from Dusseldorf; tall with flawless skin that tanned a golden brown color in the Greek sun. His lips were full and dark red, his cheeks a ruddy reddish brown. He had thick brown hair with blond highlights that constantly fell into his eyes and long luxurious eyelashes; I missed him horribly.
I wasn’t really attracted to him when we first met. Perhaps it was because I was travelling with a straight friend and wasn’t looking. Dylan was the last in a long line of emotionally and sexually unavailable men who I had surrounded myself with over the past five years. But gradually Martin won me over with his constant attention and blatant flirting. At the end of my first week in Apollonas, he asked me to move into the kalyba or cottage, he had rented for the month and I agreed. Dylan got pissed off and left a few days later.
I met Martin at the beach. I was lying in the hot sand, nude after snorkeling in the clear Aegean cove. He was reading a book and kept looking up and smiling at me as I lay on my stomach, glancing over occasionally. Eventually he walked over with the book, kneeling in the sand next to me. He was naked, his balls were real low hangers, his cock thin, uncut and long. It was difficult to look him in his blue eyes. Thinking back on it, I must have been crazy not to fall immediately in love; he was a Bel Ami wet dream.
“Excuse me, but are you American?” he asked.
“Yes. Does it show?” He was reading a Tom Robbins novel, but didn’t get the joke.
“What is the word, bouf?”
“May I?” He handed me the book, pointing to the passage.
“Oh, a hairstyle. It's short for bouffant.”
“Oh, I see, yes it makes sense now.” He sat down in the white sand. “Do you mind if I join you?”
“Uh, no, not at all.” I was grateful for the company. He marked his place in the book and closed it, leaning back on his elbows, stretching out his long tanned legs.
We spent the afternoon chatting and swimming until it was time to head back to the village. On the way we stopped off at the kouros that was just off the path. Kouros literally means youth, and is a statue of a young man. It is ten and half meters long, making it one of the largest from the era, lying on the ground on its back where it was originally carved. It has remained where it was first carved in place since the 6th century at the entrance to an ancient marble quarry. A long crack extends through the width of the statue of the young man which historians surmise is the reason it was never moved. They were originally known as Apollos, but few represent any deity; most are dedicated as attendants to a god, standing as memorials over graves. However, the kouros of Naxos is thought to represent the god, Dionysus; god of wine, ritual madness and ecstasy. They have a set, symmetrical stance, hands clenched at the sides, one foot slightly in front of the other. This pose remained unchanged for centuries and is thought to be borrowed from the Egyptians.
The kouros of Naxos is rough, unfinished and covered with lichen. I had been to the site with Dylan several days before. It is surrounded by ancient oaks and sycamore trees. There were several tourists the day Dylan and I visited, however when Martin and I walked into the grove it was late afternoon in the heat of the day; not a soul in sight. Martin lay down on the statue face down, spreading his arms wide, hugging the marble.
“There is a legend if you do this, the next person you see will fall madly in love with you,” he said as he rolled over and looked at me. I blushed and laughed. “Did it work?” he asked.
I looked around to see if anyone was approaching, feeling embarrassed.
“You try it,” he said as he jumped up and stood next to the reclining god.
Martin was fifteen years younger than me and it never occurred to me that he would have anything to do with me. I walked over, lay down on the kouros, crossing my hands on my chest funereally, looking up to the oak leaves that laced the deep blue afternoon sky.
“Close your eyes,” he said.
I closed my eyes and a moment later felt his soft lips on mine. I opened my eyes, startled and jumped off the statue, laughing.
“What are you doing?”
“I don’t know about you, but it worked for me,” he said as he smiled at me.
A Japanese couple walked into the grove, bowing slightly to both of us as we stood on either side of the kouros. I wondered if they had seen us. I picked up my bag, nodding to the couple as I passed by them and started down the path with Martin running to catch up to me.
“I’m sorry, but you looked so delicious lying there,” he said in his lovely German accent.