to the villa

I’d thought, looking at my map in advance of arrival to the island, that I would just disembark and walk from the port to the villa in Megalochori, judging it merely a couple of miles, assuming the same gentle sloping streets of sprawling Chora replicated on Santorini, but instead I got off the boat into a fearsome crush of tourists and other fresh arrivals by sea, barely able to move, and a string of transport-oriented kiosks at the foot of a cliff. I said this to one ride hawker who approached me, I was thinking I would walk, and he laughed and said You will die, my love, and then he charged me fifteen euro for a rear-bench spot on a cramped shuttle up-island.

On the winding road cut into the rock I played some kind of electronic riddle game with the pack of boyish Australians crowded into the back with me and listened to them talk about the weather with interest. One of them made another one promise to try olives when later they’d get to Morocco, to be open to olive conversion, and they shook on it, and I made a private bet-with-self about how it would go, never to be settled, because I will never see them again.

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I am maybe supposed to do the driving

Byrdie is pregnant, about four months, and back in old New York they are going to buy a place way uptown so she can walk to a new job at the hospital around there and Red is going to quit the firm to stay home and full-time tend the baby, which will be awesome. I am maybe supposed to do the driving while we are on this island, because Red rented a manual transmission without noticing, and when everyone was celebrating that I can carry the team in that respect I thought about writing my parents a thank-you note for all the fights we had in 1999 on a hill.

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I have picked out my Greek boyfriend

I have picked out my Greek boyfriend for the few days I will be here: Yiannis, a waiter at one of the restaurants on our snug little agora up in the hills, Athenian, smart, cute, a good talker, a good listener. He said when we talked at the end of his shift that he can get us weed, no problem. This is the island of dust, he said. In many ways, he said, with eyebrows, which we clarified means blow.

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writing with this fresh pen is like how


The Family Megalochori Bakery-Pastry Cafe

I tried to sit outside to write but had to move in — it’s so cold! — but writing with this fresh pen is like how that emo brainiac from Stanford who spoke only to me on our birthright Israel trip described hang gliding, impressive in the back of that bus on the road to Haifa or wherever all those years ago — that is, like taking a long, long piss — that is, a relief.

The locals here — at least, around this bakery, which seems to be by the side of the Santorini version of a highway — are not friendly. They don’t smile back, and the latte lady fairly barked at me about where to pay and did not reply to my ευχαριστώ OR my thank you, and I caught myself sticking out my tongue when she turned her back. On the ceiling-mounted TV an advertisement for a water filter shows a water glass overflowing as this filter fills it endlessly and MADE IN THE USA around a circular insignia of the stars and stripes, so I guess that’s a selling point here.

Everyone but me seems to know to anticipate high winds, everyone meaning Byrdie-and-family plus the Australian guys I talked with on the shuttle up from the port, and I guess me, I only know for their telling because I don’t consume any information anymore. But they are correct. Powerful blowing, dust in my eyes. The table I started at outside was coated in a fine grit, like the Aegean sea spray finish on yesterday’s ferry but of earth instead of water borne on the air.

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