Night moment

This is a story about my grandmother and my grandfather.

My grandmother was a housewife but also a fortune teller. She could read the coffee grains and tell your fortune in the cards. My grandfather was a con artist playing cards (of course cheating), backgammon or whatever job he could find.  She was from a small village in Greece called Astakos and he was from Piraeus, a big city in Greece. We used to spend a lot of time together and their lives are full of moments and small stories. World War 2, how they met, how my grandmother taught me to read the cards, how my grandfather used to play a game of puppets to make me laugh, how my grandmother used to tell me stories and fairy-tales and my grandfather only knew one fairy tale and kept repeating the same one again and again.

But there is on moment in their lives that has stuck with me. It amazed me as a child and as a grown up I think it’s one of the sweetest things a couple can do. They used to go to bed around 10 or 11 o clock. And they both used to wake up, no alarm clocks, nothing, at 2 or 3 o clock in the morning, they used to have a coffee and a piece of walnut cake my grandmother used to make, chit-chat a bit and then go back to sleep.

I don’t know how it begun or why but I remember them doing it my whole life. And when my grandfather died my grandmother used to do the exact routine on her own but with a photo of him in the coffee table.

So sometimes when I am awake at this time of the night I can’t help but thinking about them and what they did and just wondering if the main reason I am awake is because myself secretly has chosen this time of the day, so meaningful and sweet for them, like a small secret, to remember them and all the time we spent together.

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A letter of explanation…

And then the answers came to us, but it was too late…

And we played all the cards, but not in the right order…

And music was playing, but it was all quiet…

And we tried to dance, but movement wasn’t there…

And then we tried to hold hands, but water came running

And we got separated and stood by the river’s side

And we tried to speak and talk, but could hear nothing

And then we tried to write words, but couldn’t find a pencil

We tried to write with the sand, but then it got windy…

 

It is not a love story. It’s not even a complete story. It’s just a small reminder of why we are here. Why we came and why we met. I know you will not fully understand what I mean and what I am saying. I know that we will meet again someday. Probably I will be standing on a bridge and you will come. The water under the bridge will be symbolic. Maybe then a different story will unfold. Maybe you and I will have learned all that there is to learn and we will be wiser. Maybe we will really talk and listen and understand each other more. And maybe we will not want to find the secret of our lives that much. We will have found out that the true meaning of everything on in our minds and in our heats.

Knowledge will come if we leave our heads a little bit more open every night.

Do you remember that we found it somewhere written and we couldn’t sleep for almost a month? Trying to figure out what it meant? Seeing images we couldn’t explain? Then you let it slip over everyday life and didn’t talk about it again. But that sentence stuck in my mind. I kept it playing inside my head again and again. But I never told you anything after the day you got so angry with me you ordered the execution of two people and forbade all the activities for the day. I remember how much I pleaded with you and begged you to stop but without any result. Maybe you will not laugh that much with almost everything I say and then apologize with a pair of gold earrings and a ride with the horse. Maybe you will listen to my words and their meaning more and you will not ask for advice from your courtier. Maybe you will know what to do when I am laughing and you will not feel I am underestimating you.

Maybe you will understand that everyone makes choices for themselves. That we are all free to choose and live our rights and our mistakes and that we don’t want someone else to decide for us. We will take advice yes, but nothing more. And maybe you would have understood that if we ask for an advice but don’t go through with it, it means nothing at all. It’s just a simple opinion and it’s just a simple choice. Would we go back in time after a lot of years thinking:

Did it change my life?

Was it one of the most important decisions in my life?

Do I regret it now after all these years?

How many “most important-life changing decisions” do we get throughout our lives?

And why do we think that the life changing decisions have to do with work and other people?

How about the “most important-life changing decisions” that we take about ourselves and our personal improvement?

And why does that have to be considered as a bad thing?

But there are not such things for you. Free thoughts, and questions, and a life beyond your command. When I first told you about these thoughts of mine you were so angry with me you put me in a cell for three days. And when I laughed and just looked at the small flower that was growing inside the cell you were even angrier. Do you remember what I told you? You have to think beyond some things. There is a flower growing in a prison without water. After the third day you personally came and open the prison’s door. I smiled at you and you wanted to smile back but tried to hide it. You didn’t speak to me for three more days. Even though we spent the days and the nights together. And when you finally did speak to me it was to bring me another gift, another apology for everything you did, another pair of gold earrings. I hugged you and thanked you. You asked me why I am not getting annoyed or angry. I laughed again. Why? Why get annoyed or angry or sad? Do they help me somehow? You must be exhausted, I told you, feeling angry, disappointed and wanting more all the time. Thinking money and power gives you everything. I don’t want to be like that. Before I slept I wrote you a small note:

Relax, everything is running on schedule – the universe.

And maybe this time you will understand the last thing I told you: the only person I will always be with is myself. I cannot possibly betray me. And you should be careful of the consequences when you ask someone to betray herself and the things she believes and stands for. You must be exhausted, love. Feeling like that all the time. But I don’t want to be like that. So I forgive you. For everything.

I know you are still in love with me. I know now that everything happened because you thought I slept with another man. I always thought it was because of my public decisions… but no. It was as simple as jealousy.

I just hope you will recognize me this time. I am not sure I can go through it again. And maybe just maybe this time you will not kill me with your knife and let me slip in the public baths letting everyone believe I drowned.

 

My life, if you say so…

I am an Assistant to Counsel. I spend my days and nights reading about other people’s problems. I am 37 years old and I haven’t yet realized what my problems are. I avoid looking myself in the mirror because I already know what I will see. Black holes under my haunted eyes, fluffy hair, clothes that don’t match my true mood and, the worst part, written in my face I will see other people’s stories and I will wonder where my own story is. I pondered the thought while drinking coffee.

Once more I am at the court. I don’t even remember the case. I manage a quick look at my papers in front of me. A divorce case… another one.

Why do we say that we accept a different kind of thinking from our own but we actually don’t? Why don’t we just admit it? Each and every one of us thinks that we have the right way of thinking and the solutions to everything. I have done research on the subject. I started to watch people everywhere and at every given time: at the metro station, in a coffee shop, while eating, while watching a movie, while talking or just sitting. It’s actually unbelievable. We all strongly support that we are different people with different ways of thinking but it is just talk. When the other person chooses to do what he or she wants and not what we suggest then:

-he/she doesn’t know (doesn’t know what?)

-our opinion is righter (does that even exist?)

-we see the situation with a fresh look (haha right!)

-we are older so we know better what it is best for the future (sorry what?)

Or if we are not older:

-we have a better way of looking at things. (better by whom? And for whose life?)

And I cannot understand why people have this ability to confuse what they are being told. It’s like we do it on purpose. I imagine how many people in the world would want to do a demonstration shouting for their rights about a choice. And it never matters if the choice will turn out to be right or wrong. But it would be their choice.

I suddenly feel someone stepping on my foot. Have I fallen asleep again? I try to straighten my body without no one realizing it. The judge looks at me. I try to smile but I am not sure what comes out. I have always thought that falling asleep with your eyes open without anyone realizing is a magical skill and I have fully developed it during school, university, meaningless conversations with “friends”… I am doing it again… Falling asleep. Now I feel an elbow in my ribs. I am making a small sound. I turn around. My boss is standing and his hand is extended towards me.  I feel an electric shock. I take the papers that are in front of me and give them to him. I see the disapproving look on his face. I try to concentrate on the trial. It seems impossible. All I hear is a wall of words. I feel my eyes closing. I open them. Ok… let’s try again. I must focus on something: the wife’s… clothes. Awful. The husband’s… watch. He doesn’t wear any. Hair? He is bald. The wife’s hair! Surely she will have something! Really short… I feel like banging my head on the desk. Oh my God… please give me an alternative! Suddenly I feel, rather than see, a balloon coming into the courtroom. It seems I am the only one noticing it. I try to speak to my boss. To make him see it.

-Stop it and pull yourself together. Did you drink last night?

Last night… right… We left the office at 5 pm and barely had time to shower and change clothes before coming here. When did we stop living? Actually and ridiculously living? When and by whom was it decided that life equals worry, or work, or worry about work?  My eyes focus on the balloon. It is traveling around the courtroom making shapes like it is dancing in a melody we cannot hear. Suddenly I realize that my eyes are at the level of the table in front of me. How did that happen? I realize I had pull the height-adjusting stick of the chair. I pull it again and I find myself at the previous height. My boss’s face is red. The judge looks at me lifting one eyebrow. I want to laugh. Really laugh. I want to stand up and say to the couple that is getting the divorce that the sun is shining and it is a beautiful morning and they should just go out and have some fun. I want to yell at my boss that he is an excuse of a lawyer. When I started working for him he promised me a bunch of things that never happened. And now our relationship is a constant dance with questions flying around the dance floor: who will step on each other first? Who will offend the other one first? Who is working more and who is taking all the credits? Why not leaving this job? I want a change. One of these mind-blowing changes.

The balloon changes its color. Now I am scared. Does no one really see it? Or am I actually getting crazy? Should I just quit and go live on a mountain? I realize the trial has finished and my boss is talking to me. We start walking towards the exit. Who won? The husband or the wife? I ask him. He stops walking.

-What is the matter with you today?

-What is the matter with you every day? I say before I could stop myself.

He doesn’t understand what I am saying. He just stares at me. When did we start not listening to each other? He is going towards the car but I don’t follow him. Are they all excuses? All the things that we say to ourselves? We stay and we keep doing things we don’t like waiting for something better to come. Why don’t we realize that nothing better will come if we insist staying in the same things? How are we going to find a better job if we are still doing our old job? There is no space for the new one to come… I feel something in my hand. The balloon is following me. I go to the car and tell my boss I am meeting someone. He tells me that we have to work. I look at the sky and the balloon that is still next to me. I give him my briefcase.

-Everything is here. I quit.

I don’t know where I got the strength to say it. All of the people I know would have protested talking about money and that if I wanted a better job I should have stayed with him because now I will have a bad name among the lawyers. I am walking down the street smiling with the balloon in my hand. If something is to come, then it will come. If something is to go, then it will go. Why cry and make a fuss? Why not fly (smile) and let it go?

 

Remember

 

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Close your fake eyes and see with the real ones.
Close your eyes and feel the golden line that surround us.
Follow it.
Close your eyes and believe that the stars are real.
They are calling out your name too.
Smile with the new realization,
don’t be afraid and don’t throw it away…
Allow them to get closer
Open your arms to what you think is unknown
and remember.
Remember the whole you.
The answers will come.

A small story…

And then the answers came to us, but it was too late…

And we played all the cards, but not in the right order…

And music was playing, but it was all quiet…

And we tried to dance, but movement wasn’t there…

And then we tried to hold hands, but water came running

And we got separated and stood by the river’s side

And we tried to speak and talk, but could hear nothing

And then we tried to write words, but couldn’t find a pencil

We tried to write with the sand, but then it got windy…