Once Upon A Greek Summer – by Dalia Grigorescu (Adult)
“Fascinating!” I hear Joe’s sarcastic voice. “Best view of the Caribbean!”
“Mediterranean,” I correct. Joe has no appreciation for art, and no patience for art galleries. It must have driven him nuts to see me spend so much time in front of one painting. Why I am still with him? We have nothing in common.
The painting doesn’t help either. The narrow ascending street, the flowerpots decorating every step and window sill — they remind me of the street where I saw Nico for the last time… was it ten years ago? I was a kid spending the summer at my grandparents in Greece. Learned a few Greek words, ate my first juicy pomegranate, had my first kiss…
“Look at those wilted tomato plants,” Joe sneers.
“Geraniums.” I can see them in my mind, the overflowing blooms of red against the white and blue-painted stone. And Nico, after sharing a last kiss at summer’s end, disappearing at the top of the steps, under a tiny sliver of sky. “I wonder what happened to the boy in the painting,” I murmur.
“What boy? There is no boy,” Joe scoffs.
I blink the daydream away and look at the canvas. The cascading geraniums I thought I saw are gone. Only some timid plants are in the picture, a fern among them, and some empty pots. I blink again. The boy on the stairs is gone too.
Joe huffs and walks away. Something aches in my chest, protesting the years gone by. The memory of that good-bye kiss comes back with a revenge. My skin prickles with the heat of the Mediterranean sun and I can smell the salty sea. I wipe a rebel tear.
“Would you like to meet the painter?” An accent that is both strange and familiar tingles my ears. My mind is racing but I can’t form any coherent thoughts. I turn and see a young man who smiles and holds out his hand:
“Nicolas Fotakis.” His eyes narrow as his smile widens. “Have we met before?”