This new series has its history in the form of several short stories, several poems, and a 13-part series that is linked at the bottom via Part 8 of this series. Anthi Psomiadou has graciously agreed—she really did as Goddess Athena is my witness—to appear as a fictional character in this new series, where she is Five of Five like Star Trek’s Seven of Nine.
There is a kind of flame in Crete — let us call it “soul” — something more powerful than either life or death. There is pride, obstinacy, valour, and together with these something else inexpressible and imponderable, something which makes you rejoice that you are a human being, and at the same time tremble. Nikos Kazantzakis
Hello, my beautiful Crete, we kept repeating in our minds as we walked out of the airport and into what was going to become our home for a few a days, a few weeks, even a year, but not necessarily for Anthi given her immediate family back in Athens. Yet we hoped that Goddess Athena could come up with something sensible, especially that we felt that a part of Anthi wanted to remain with us yet in a painful struggle with the part yearning to be with her family. Even with a real goddess life may seem unfair. It was unacceptable that Anthi should suffer, so we decided to limit our stay to a maximum of two weeks in case Goddess Athena could not find a solution.
You seemed a bit excited on the flight, my dear goddess, M, I mean me, said. And when you are excited, you are even more beautiful, and our hearts become unstable.
“Oh, my M, you love to compliment and tease, even your goddess, as you call me. I am only Athena for all of you, and my stay will end one day, though I will always love you, even in my sleep. I was excited to be in a flying machine. Patrick held my hand, which made me feel better, and I saw you looking at me with all your love. It was a different feeling being on a plane, but I prefer to ride a horse or sail under the Sun, the Moon, and the stars.”
Not one of us likes to fly, dear Athena, as you well know, except that it is the fastest way from Athens to Crete and other places even further away. We will take a boat around Crete and find you a horse. We cannot wait to see you ride it with Glaukopis on your right shoulder, I replied.
“I love you all,” Athena replied, caressing our hearts with her mind.
We took two taxis to our new house by the sea, Athena and Patrick in one, and Anthi, Eléni and myself in the other. It was not a very long ride and the three of us sat in the back seats, yours truly in the middle, even that Anthi and Eléni asked me to be on a side where it was more comfortable given my taller size. I would not hear of it, the taxi driver eyeing me with a smile. Tell me, Anthi, I said, as we were on our way, our taxi following the one with Athena and Patrick! Did you by any chance touch my temples at some point, so our minds would be almost as one? I asked. I could see my Eléni’s smile without looking at her, as my head was turned towards Anthi.
“You are a tease. Our Athena is right. But it is true. I did touch your temples with my mind when you were asleep, and made a wish that I hoped Athena could fulfill.”
I knew it. What did you wish, Anthi?
“I wished for some tsipouro that my grandparents make, which we will have very soon. I would say within the hour,” she replied, laughing with Eléni, and making me even happier.
I love to hear laughter. Most of us do. I often read and hear about children’s laughter being the most beautiful to listen to. I do not think that I ever agreed with that premise. The most beautiful laugh will always be that of a woman. Athena’s laugh is divine, but Eléni and Anthi laughing at the same time rivals Athena’s and is, of course, contagious. And thus I laughed as well, even the driver joining our mirth.
“I know that you love me, M. I love you as well. How can we not love each other with Athena around us? She is the goddess of wisdom, but as you mentioned before, she is also the goddess of love, not the Aphrodite type of love but the love that goes beyond and is felt deep in our minds. Is that what you meant, M? I did not need to touch your temples. You did it yourself when you embraced me as being part of you, as we have all become. You are all my family now, and I do not feel that I am abandoning my immediate family when I am with you. On the contrary, I feel that I get the chance to be with the rest of my family. I love you as much as I love them. I was hoping that we could merge somehow, and Athena answered my wish by bringing us together with my dear grandparents whom I do not have the chance to see very often. Do not worry about me, M! I am happy to be with you, as I feel everything that is in your minds and hearts. You complete me.”
I had tears, of course; those pesky drops of feeling; Eléni too, and Anthi, and even the driver joined us. I knew that he would get the biggest tip of his career. I hugged Eléni and Anthi with each arm, proving that I was right to sit between them. A few minutes later, we had arrived to our new house, which resembles the one in the pic above; all white between trees and rocks, facing the bluest sea in the world.
We sat, all five of us, on a balcony facing the sea, thinking together about both yesterday and today, Patrick and myself, however, thinking especially about the yesterdays of World War 2, which we had written about when we were one individual instead of the two that we had become after writing that novel. Life is indeed beautiful, but as you all know, it is also terribly ugly from time to time and as the video below will remind you. We will relate our story in Part 10, perhaps a more befitting number than 9 or any other.
This photo montage of the Nazi Airborne Invasion of Crete in 1941 shows how Crete became the graveyard of the vaunted Nazi paratroopers. These photos are from the documentary, The 11th Day. Nazis had never encountered the extent of civilian resistance that they encountered on Crete. Retribution was swift. The Nazi High Command wanted to quickly break the spirit of the populace, but they failed miserably. In retaliation for the losses that they incurred, the Nazis spread punishment, terror, and death on the innocent civilians of the island. More than 2,000 Cretans were executed during the first month alone and 25,000 more of them perished later. Even in the face of certain death, while standing in line to be executed, Cretans did not beg for their lives, which shocked the heartless Nazi mass murderers.
I would like to thank Anthi Psomiadou for her heartfelt comments and suggestions regarding this ever-growing tale of almost everything Greek. By Zeus, I may become Greek by the time this story ends. I think that Anthi would not mind. I mean, the fictitious Anthi, of course. I cannot speak for the real Anthi.