23. May, 2014

The church that found and bound us

Part three (final)

As he walked towards us, my insides became twisted and my head spun. The heat didn’t help and neither did the heavenly scent of the jasmine which hung from the pergola. It just added to my confusion.

       He was real, everyone could see him. He talked in that rushed Greek that I did not understand. And they introduced us to him. He was my friend’s uncle. Uncle! I thought, trying hard not to stare at him but I couldn’t help but snatch a glance or two. I said we had met him on a few occasions but when translated back to him, he shook his head and looked confused. But he was uneasy and disappeared as fast as he arrived.

      So he wasn’t a creepy ghost after all. But he was still a creepy something or another. Why had he followed me and my kind and unassuming husband for a whole week the previous year and denied ever seeing us? He even showed us around the church for heaven’s sake! But my kind and unassuming husband reminded me that he was an old man whose memory had probably faded.

       I helped the sea captain back to his armchair beneath the porch, the jasmine now sweeter. He put up his hand weakly and waved to the strange little man (his brother) who was already long gone. Our dear friend gave everyone a small dish of grape preserve, made from her own fruit, with added sugar, lemon and geranium leaves. It was a welcome distraction from my thoughts.

       And so another year went by and then another and another, and for some strange reason we never saw that funny little man again. But that’s not to say he has disappeared from our lives. According to our friend (we did not speak about our meetings with her uncle again) he still lives in the village. And who knows what can happen?  We are back on the island and about to have dinner at the home for waifs and strays. Maybe he'll be there. Maybe there is an answer to why all this has come about.

Perhaps even after the death of my dear father, I still searched for him. Perhaps I wasn’t ready to let him go. And when I met with the sea captain, another eccentric old man, I saw my father in him..... Just perhaps!