Greece, and it’s 38 degrees in the last days of July.
The blue sky above is kissed by fluffy white clouds, a beam of yellow light touches the glistened-by the sun waves, and as they reach the shore and breakaway, the white noise all around is deafening. My heart swells at the view and I hear three little words in my head: Wish you were here.
Now I am sinking from my elbows, the scenery has changed, a car horn blares out in the distance. I sigh and turn the computer off. A good dream though. With two angry motions, I cross the reminder from my calendar: Trip to Andros, July 31.
8:15 am, and it’s still 38 degrees. I lean over the balcony; the street is clear and there is a slow but constant breeze in the air. I decide to go for my walk.
“Mom!” I look to the upstairs balcony above me; I can hear the trickling of water and I have a feeling she’s outside watering her plants.
“I am going out for a bit; just around the block or maybe down to the harbor”.
I leave the coolness of the interior of the building, and a gust of hot air hits my face as soon as my feet touch the pavement. I feel faint, dizzy and everything starts to circle me: the sea, the waves, the car horn, all wrapped in a tableau of blue.
Sweat smells, I realize in one of the worst days of my life. I angrily cross the: Trip to Andros, July 31 from my calendar and sit back down. You are logged off; the indicator on the messenger tells me that your last login was 1hr ago. You are annoyed, I can feel it. I am annoyed too. This is not what I wanted.
With the trip to Andros now a fleeting memory, I scroll to our previous conversations.
Did you get my song?
Your answer comes with a blushing emoji. Yeah
I remember writing, all too quickly: I wanted to entitle it after you.
Then I delete it, and write again: It only took 3 hours
Writing the song, then rewriting it, playing it, took me 4 ½ hours, but I wanted to impress you. My finger stops scrolling when I see your picture. My heart thuds.
Your smile is…
I leaned back in my chair, biting the inside of my finger, trying to find an honest word to describe how I felt:
I look at the screen and slump my shoulders. My room now is the equivalent of a sauna and I feel stuck to the chair.
Go for a walk in the garden, a voice says from a corner in my mind, and in one robotic motion, I stand up. Suddenly, I feel disconnected, from myself and you.
The sheets are sticky. Sweat drips from my back and thighs, and as I bring my hand to my forehead I realize it’s very sweaty. I am in my room and I have a sudden urge to talk to you.
Where are you? Something strange just happened to me… I think it’s this heatwave.
I wait. The morning heat has mostly gone away, and as I stand up I feel the room start to spin. I put my hand out to grasp the end of my desk and open my bedroom door.
After several big glasses of cool, clear water, I am ready to accept your reply. Only a reply doesn’t come, and I am left thinking of Andros.
“Mom” I direct my call to the above balcony. No answer. I call out and couples, walking hand in hand, from the street below, look up. I wave, and then call out again. No answer.
Huffing my way up the narrow stairs, I reach her door and take out a spare key. The apartment is cool; mom never leaves with a window closed. Her bedroom is messy as usual but the rest of the apartment is spotless.
Kitchens have always been my favorite spots, and now with the window open and the light fading from outside, my legs propped up on a chair, there is no place better.
Don’t think about him. Just for one second… don’t think about him. JUST.DONT.THINK
But turns out, mom has other plans for me. The wish list or prayer is written in Greek on a piece of paper, and it is strategically placed on the table. She knows I’ll read it:
Things I wish for Melodie
I only hope that one of the things she wishes is for me to go to Andros.
Your name comes from the Greek word μελωδία which means a tune. I type and scratch the back of my neck. Is that any good? I mean, she knows what her name means?
The smell of sweat and, now the rain from outside my open window creates a pungent sweet smell, and her reply comes:
What do you wish for?
I wait with my hands on the keys of the laptop. Is that it? What do I say?
I stand up and pace around my room. Something romantic? But not too romantic, else it might sound lame.
I wish… for the rain to stop.
I finally write, press send, and lay my head against my desk. A little too forcefully. After a beat, I look up at the screen again.
We’ll talk soon again. I have to go. It’s my turn to make dinner.
I won’t be making dinner. I am seated in my mother’s kitchen with a recipe book (one of many) that she has, in my hand. Tonight’s menu is:
Courgette balls or as we say kolokythokeftedes
She says nothing about the piece of paper I found earlier on the table, and I don’t bring it up. The walls of the kitchen are a light blue, which reminds me of the sea.
I might as well pretend.
Mom has this saying, which she tells me it helps to use; a type of visualization: Πες ότι (say that) or say it and it might happen!
So later, after dinner, I ask again, but this time I say what I want:
What do you wish for? I wish for Andros… with you.
The answer is quick and short, but it makes my cheeks flush.
Soon, babe. Soon.