sounds of Apollonas

Today I followed the footpath down the mountain from Rupert’s place to Apollonas. The dogs scare me and I don’t trust their chains, the sound of which attends their barking but which are otherwise not in evidence.

At one point I tried to take a shortcut, snipping out one of the switchbacks by picking my way through the prickly Aegean bushes, but in the end I think there was no time saved.

The waves pulling back on the jumbo pebbles of that first beach at the foot of the hill make a sound that is distinctly like something else I know but can’t quite call up to write down. I keep thinking of something rushing to fill a vacuum. But what?

A third, taunting sound, after dark, on my walk back via the paved road, hoping to hitch: the wind through the olive trees sounds perpetually like a car coming, when really there is nothing more viable to ride than the breeze. Finally I caught a ride in a rattly red van — the driver and I could barely communicate but he mustered a “Where you go?” and opened the back to me and I knelt beside some tools, gripping the metal window onto the cab with my hands and not putting my head quite through, lest he take a turn too quickly and I be decapitated. I said “HERE GOOD” in advance of my stop, such as it is, and he seemed to understand that I meant the hairpin left up ahead, which I would walk to Rupert’s, and took me a bit farther.

Trudging up the last leg the house from the pavement I encountered a small Greek snake, which spooked me in particular in the dark. Rupert, who hadn’t gone out for the evening after all, professed to have worried and my skin crawled some more at his unwelcome interest and proprietary scolding. Perhaps working with him and his gentle lechery and his indignation at what White Anglo Saxon Protestant males can’t acceptably say anymore is my real opportunity for growth and writing.

the problem with Rupert

I’ve alighted on the immediate problem with Rupert: it’s that I am here for tidy labor exchange, and he wants companionship, someone to participate in a small-scale domestic relationship with him. He wants to squabble about laundry and ask me for a few euro when we’re going in for bread, and I want him at a decorous distance, holding up his end of the deal to house and feed me while I wash and paint his home.

Yesterday we had it out a bit about me disliking when people (…) talk to me about how I look, and he called me prickly. I, supercilious, cited 25 years of people’s unsolicited opinions on my body and he said Others don’t have that problem and I said You’re right; I am prickly.

the drawstring on my knapsack

When I was done with work for the day I spent some time re-doing the closures on my knapsack, swapping the overlong unfinished and fraying twine I found at Morris’s in Marrakech when the original drawstring bit the complete dust in the first place for the surviving intact lace on my hiking boot and using an interior segment of the broken lace to replace that littler string latch — the latter innovation a particular point of pride — I’m feeling it now — especially the way I melted the ends to really finish the job — all while watching a little Brooklyn Nine-Nine to feel comfort raised to the power of a push to get a move on, into the unknown for which I have willfully left all that, and then I began the walk into town.

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