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Kostas – a kamaki

The Kamaki is a «character” in the recent history of Greece.

When the country opened up to tourism after the fall of the juntas in the mid-1970s, many young boys from the provinces found their way into the cities. For many, it was an opportunity to find a way out of poverty. The mature «tourist ladies» from other, more economically well-off, countries, became easy victims to the charming boys from the Islands or the rural areas.

Many of these women sought respite from their desperately frustrating marriages.

The profession is almost extinct in today’s Greece, but the young men have inherited the name. When they are out chasing girls, this is called «going kamaki!»

I read the short story in the book of the life of Liv Garas, called “a glimpse of Liv». The book gives a vivid description of a Norwegian woman’s contemplation of her meeting with Greece and her later life there. I highly recommend this book.

I suggested that she should write a sequel. She came back, however, with a counter proposal: do it yourself!

The first part is written by Liv, the second part, dealing with the Kamakis return is written by me, Sven Buchholz

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Part 1, Kostas, a kamaki.

(Professional Greek seducer of women)

Written by Liv Nilsen Garas, from the book «A glimpse of Liv». (Her Norwegian name means LIFE)

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Kostas had had problems lately, and he knew it. Kari’s return to Norway had been delayed whilst the plane carrying Berit was scheduled to arrive in half an hour.

Also, last month he had planned poorly with the result that Liv had been leaving at the same time that Inger was scheduled to arrive! Maybe he was starting to get too old for this life? He had been struggling to get some money from the girls so that he could start a business for himself, but he had never succeeded in getting any of them to pay out easily!

Kostas’ thoughts started to fly back in time to the year before he went to Athens for his final year in school. He was not amongst the brightest pupils, but he managed to get through the matriculation.

He had thought of going to sea for a period, in order to save up sufficient money to go into some enterprise of his own. The town of Paros was basically ok, but he found it rather boring in the winter. At the time there was no SeniorSchool at Paros, which was why most of the young people went to Athens for the last 3 years. He had lived in a wretched little bed-sit for the 3 years it had taken him to get through school. He remembered the loneliness and the cockroaches.

It was not easy for him to make friends with people in Athens. They did not trust provincial people; they looked down on them.  Many times he had tried to invite some of the girls in his class for a trip to a cinema, but they always declined. They took sly glances at him, because at this time, in the seventies, no girls would even consider going to a cinema with a boy, if engagement was not already in the air. He had learned that some of the other boys had visited prostitutes, but that thought had never appealed to Kostas.

One evening the ‘phone had rung; it had been Nikos, one of his mates from Paros. He told Kostas he had just got acquainted with some foreign girls and had invited them to a restaurant the same evening. He wanted Kostas to join him. Kostas hesitated, he thought of the expense and how he should be able to hold a conversationHe had only learned a little English at school, because in the third year they were still using the same textbook as in the first! Consequently, his command of the English language was rather limited. Nikos was more optimistic, he was sure they would get the girls to pay, and the language represented no problem for him. “Dress up a bit, buy some flowers, and we shall see!”

The evening was more than successful! The ladies paid for the food with pleasure, Nikos chatted, gesticulated cheerfully and threw out English phrases with great self-possession. When Kostas heard the words “Very poor” he realized what it meant, he could hardly believe his own ears! His father was not exactly an Onassis, but he owned some houses on Paros and a great deal of land. The girls however, swallowed the entire story with tears in their eyes. The meal, with its following discothèque, was free, and he spent the night with one of the girls. Kostas did not remember her name in the morning.

The next day Nikos phoned him again. The same procedure and the same tear jerking story about a poor childhood. This time the ladies were a bit older. They treated the boys to a more expensive restaurant, and instead of going to a cheap hotel they spent the night at one of the best hotels in Athens.

Kostas almost got homesick as the receptionist gave him the room key with a glint in his eye.

Three more years, an uncountable number of restaurant meals and hotel nights; Kostas had got this rhythm, this way of life, in his blood, under his skin. Most of the money his parents sent him for education was used for clothing and outfits. He had noticed that the girls preferred a special type of boy. He spent all the morning at the beach to get the right bronze tan, and then he slept in the afternoon in order to be in great shape in the evening. He dressed with great care. White ironed shirt and black pants, with a small jacket hanging over his shoulder. He had spent a small fortune on buying a golden cross in a chain at the second hand market.  He made the same good impression on the girls every time. He never thought of himself as a Don Juan, a kamaki, the girls just gathered around him. He did not meet Nikos that often any more. He preferred to work alone.

Now and then he thought of his parents with a bit of a bad conscience. After he had made up a story about going to a technical school, they just continued to send him money. They never doubted whatever he told them. It rarely happened that he had a rendezvous with the same girl more than once. He always chose foreigners; mostly girls from Scandinavia, as they were uncomplicated, kind and straightforward, demanding little whilst they were generous with money.

In the cupboard at home he had many home knitted sweaters and jackets, and he knew that even more were on their way. Neither was he short of invitations to go abroad and visit. He also had a drawer full of hot love letters to which he never replied. Occasionally they sent him air tickets; he sold them without any problem to students waiting at the airport. The name was changed and he came home with a lot of money. He quit his bed-sit and spent his nights at various hotels. He always found someone willing to pay. He even started to save up money for a car.

It caused him some problems when he suddenly learned that his parents were coming to Athens! His mother had been taken ill and had to go to hospital for treatment. Kostas had succeeded at the last moment in borrowing an apartment for the time his parents were staying in Athens. They were impressed to find out how well Kostas was able to manage his life. He had told them that he was working for a well-known company. They accepted everything without asking questions. Kostas breathed a sigh of relief when he put his parents on the boat to Paros! He had explained to them that unfortunately, his work did not allow him to visit Paros very often. He had however promised to go to his little sister Katerina’s wedding. It would take place in September, and all of Paros was invited. Kostas was nervous just at the thought.

In In a big city, like Athens, it was no problem to remain anonymous, but on Paros everybody knew each other, so he was sure to get awkward questions. However, it was impossible for him to avoid this journey.

He had decided to take the boat from Rafina, a small port east of Athens. It was a journey of 5-6 hours with departure in the afternoon and arrival at midnight. He dressed in a suit and tie and prepared for the questions he knew would come. In his suitcase he had his wedding gift, a crystal bowl from Costa Boda. A Swedish woman had told him that this was the finest and perhaps most expensive crystal in the world. His brother Giorgos, together with Katharina and her fiancé, met him in the harbour. His parents were waiting at home. The table was covered with all his favorite dishes. Everyone looked at him full of admiration. One lie followed the other. Kostas started to feel uncomfortable. During the night he lay down, unable to sleep for many hours after he had gone to bed.

The next morning everyone was up early. Katharina was to be married in a small church a little way outside the village. After the ceremony there would be a party at Babis’ tavern. Kostas had planned to go back to Athens the next day. All the guests turn up dressed up to the nines. All rejoiced to see him and congratulated him on his magnificent job in Athens. Kostas just sat there. He wished with all of his heart that he could tell the truth. He did not feel much better when he came back to Athens. What had become of all the years and what had become of all the cute sympathetic girls he had been acquainted with? He felt hopeless and stupid.

Why had he not taken the opportunity and begun a more serious relationship with one of them? He could not bring himself to accept the idea that he was a kamaki, a professional womaniser, approaching his forties, without a past to speak of and with no future. At the airport he could see many copies of himself; most of them were younger, but there were few older. All dressed in white ironed shirts and dark pants, and everyone wore a gold cross from the second hand market on a chain around the neck.

This concludes the first part written by Liv Nilsen Garas.

NEXT : The return of Kostas, written by Sven Buchholz.

Part 2.

The homecoming of Kostas. By Sven Buchholz

Kostas lay sprawled on the bed, fully dressed, in a white shirt and dark pants. As the sunlight came farther into the room Kostas began to wake up slowly. His eyes roamed over the sad and faded wallpaper in the poor and shabby bedsit. His clothes were in disarray. The shirt was no longer white and freshly ironed. Two of the buttons were missing. The pants were stained with food, and a severe headache pressed around his forehead like a burning iron band.  His stomach did not feel at all well. Kostas got up from the bed only by making a great effort. As he approached the window the sun hit him full in the face.

As he turned away, he met his own image in the mirror. He did not like what he saw. Ten more years, many more restaurant meals and hotel nights had passed. His hair was not the same raven black colour any more. Various experiments with different dyes had not been entirely successful in covering up the gray hairs. Nor had cosmetics helped him to hide the signs of aging, on the contrary, they made them even clearer. The image in the mirror reminded him more of a clown he once had seen many years ago as a child, when his grandfather had taken him to the circus on Paros, than of someone with whom  the ladies would like to be seen.

Things had not gone so well for Kostas lately. The cute girls from Scandinavia, who had always had plenty of money to treat him, seemed to prefer his younger rivals. This week had been a sheer disaster. The last time Kostas had had to settle for the more elderly customers, who mostly arrived by charter flights. He often went to Piraeus to try to catch them when they came by ferry from the islands. The competition was not so hard there. His young rivals preferred the airport. The delicate Scandinavian ladies were replaced by plump middle class English women, those who sought relief from their unsuccessful and frustrating marriages. In some cases, he had also had to make do with the older Greek women!  One practical problem was that his new category of customers tended to travel more together in a company. The day before he had again gone to Piraeus; he had spent the whole morning in a cafeteria that was near the bus and metro stops. Many of the English women were sitting there whilst they waited for each other or buses or trains. For each ferry that arrived at the port more and more people arrived in the cafeteria. After many cups of coffee Kostas ordered his first ouzo whilst he observed a company of English women at a table nearby. They drank one glass of beer after another and talked louder and louder.  Kostas thought of the pretty girls from Scandinavia as he reflected to himself. How was it possible to see such a collection of dowdy middle-aged matrons at the same table?

Some English men were sitting around a table a little further away. They were not a prettier sight. He thought with longing of the Scandinavian girls. Why was there such a difference between people from two northern European countries?  Kostas took a big gulp of his ouzo in an attempt to wash away the unpleasant impression. What could he really expect from women, in a country where even upper class ladies reminded him of horses! One of Kostas’ old school friends, who dealt with genetic research, had joked that it was due to many generations of inbreeding with horses!  

Kostas looked at his watch. The boat from Mykonos was due in a few minutes. He got up and left the cafeteria. He arrived at the port about the same time as the boat. It was full of tourists. As usual the majority of them came from Mykonos; mostly “nice young men”, but luckily also some potential clients, English women. Most of these, however, were travelling in groups of six or eight. Kostas avoided these companies. He had learned that there was no money to be made there. On the contrary, they represented only problems. He remembered one time, when he had allowed himself to be persuaded to go along with such a group of seven British women; they had ended up in a bar. Suddenly all seven of them got up and ran «to catch the bus» as they said, and Kostas was left to pay the bill.

When Kostas stood there on the pier and looked for «victims» he had learned to spot all the little details. His professional eyes scanned over the different groups of potential customers. He could quickly determine if there was something that could be profitable. That day the possibilities were rather meager. It was just larger groups of women and some older couples around all  quays. The boat was almost empty when Kostas discovered her. She was behind a bunch of “nice young men”. She could only be English; however she looked a better class of lady. Kostas had not noticed her immediately because she was bent over the two suitcases she was trying to carry.  In a fraction of a second, Kostas found himself beside the lady, grabbed the bags and lifted them up. She was a bit surprised at first, but she recovered quickly, smiled and thanked him. Kostas was pleased with himself. Finally, he had succeeded in making contact with a better class English lady.  In his many years of being a kamaki Kostas had learned to distinguish the different social and cultural classes from each other by listening to the language, English in particular.  This lady spoke a language that was completely different from those he had heard in the cafeteria. It was much easier for Kostas to understand. It was amazing that it could be the same language!

While they walked together in the direction of the bus stop, Kostas had already planned the rest of the day. They approached the cafeteria, but Kostas wanted to avoid walking past it again. He began to feel sick at the thought of it. They stood on the pavement while they looked for an opportunity to cross the street. It was not so easy with all the traffic. Meanwhile, the English lady walked a little further down the road. Kostas had
no choice but to follow. He caught up with her just when they were opposite the cafeteria. Traffic was now a little quieter so it was possible to cross, but when Kostas put down one suitcase to touch her arm as a sign that they should cross, he heard a loud yell from the cafeteria. When he turned, he saw his lady running into the cafeteria where she embraced one of the members of the British group that was still sitting at the same table. Kostas felt he had to follow her in, even if he would rather have dropped both suitcases and run away. A minute later, he sat at the table with the whole company. They still drank beer; food did not seem to interest them. Kostas consumed several bowls of peanuts and crisps while he continued drinking ouzo. He did not remember much of what happened afterwards, except that he began to feel hollow while it gradually dawned on him that alcohol was a poor substitute for food. He had no idea how he had got to her room that night, the only thing he knew was that his pockets were empty. The litle money he had was all gone.

Kostas realised that he could not keep up this way of life  much longer, something he had never wanted to admit, not even to himself, until his professional pride the day before had suffered total defeat when he failed to «accommodate» a customer. His old friend Nikos had gone back to Paros long ago. Kostas had heard from a mutual friend that things had gone very well for Nikos. With the money he had managed to save, and that he had from selling his car, he had opened his own shop. It was also said that he had married. Kostas did not even have money for a ticket if he had wanted to return to Paros. Furthermore, he owed more than two months’ rent. Money from Paros had stopped. He had no further contact with his parents after they had learned the truth about his real profession; that he had been a kamaki ever since he had left school. It turned out that one of his Greek «customers» had been from Paros. When she explained who he was, she blurted out the whole story to her parents. She had even taken pictures! And this was only a single event in the series of disasters that had marked his life recently …………..

Kostas did not know how long he had stood and watched his own image in the mirror. His gaze fell upon the gold cross. After he had sold the car last year, the cross was the only asset he had left. Kostas smiled. The yellowed teeth grinned back at him from the mirror. A thought flashed through his brain …… that his teeth were part of his skeleton ….. The only visible part…..

………. The last rays of the sun sank below the horizon in the MyrthosBay. Kostas glanced at the Attica coastline just as the sun disappeared below the horizon in the distance. At the same time the last 30 years of his life disappeared; the only form of life that Kostas had known since his childhood on Paros. He had sold his gold cross to get money for the ticket. Kostas cursed, and blamed himself because he had been so stupid. Seven years ago, whilst he was still getting on successfully, he had had a good relationship with Kari, a beautiful and very rich Norwegian girl. When Kostas came up with the question of financial assistance to start something on his own Kari had said yes. She added, however, the condition that they should marry. It came as quite a shock to Kostas. He hesitated and thought to himself, on the one hand he had this free life, without liability and without obligation, on the other hand, he had Kari, an immensely beautiful Norwegian girl who was also very rich. Kostas wondered why he was questioning his good fortune.  Was he so entrenched in this way of life that he could not tolerate any change?  He had realised, however, that he could not continue the rest of his life in this way, so he had agreed to Kari‘s proposal.

The next day she took Kostas to Norway, where he was introduced to her family. This meeting with the family passed without any problems; then Kostas went back to Athens. They had agreed that Kari would follow him the next week and join him in Athens, when they would go to Paros together, so that she could be presented to his family. When Kostas had got up, the morning when he should have met Kari at the airport, he had been lying sleepless all night. He had had great difficulty imagining himself as a husband with a family. Just the thought of children made him pause.  Kostas had had a big appetite for women at that time. Four or five different partners a week had been normal. Only on Sundays had he rested. He had also acquired many expensive habits that did not quite fit into married life; trendy clothes, bars, hotels and travel. Kostas had thought that marriage was something he could postpone for several years yet. He had been certain that there would be other chances. The more this idea took root in his mind, the more Kostas developed cold feet!. Consequently, he did not meet Kari at the airport as agreed. He simply ran away from it all. He had had no idea at all of what had happened to Kari.  Kostas had gone into hiding. He had never heard anything more from her again. ……….

In fact, Kostas had not planned to return to Paros. What was he going to do there now, after he had broken with his parents? All he knew was that he had to change his life radically, but he had no idea how. Meanwhile, he had gone to Piraeus every day in order to make some sort of living. It was a cold autumn day. While he was waiting on the pier he remembered the words of Nana Moskouri’s old hit, » Efige to Kalokeri”, «The summer has gone”. It really was one of those autumn days that made the words of this song come to life. There were no more tourists. Kostas had waited five hours without seeing any sign of an appropriate client.  Slowly he came to realise the situation. For Kostas it was not only the summer that had passed, his life had come to a dead end.  When he had been young, his time had seemed endless…but that was once upon a time…….

The boat arrived and left again. Kostas stood motionless on the pier. He thought about what kind of work he could do if he could not be a kamaki any more. He had never learned any other profession. It was hard for him to accept that there was nothing else he could do, but that was the way it was. He stared out over the sea. As he had grown up on an island, he had been – familiar with the sea since his childhood. As he stood there and stared, he felt drawn closer to the moving water’s edge. He had the feeling that the sea wanted him to come closer. He took one step and then another. It was as if he had been seized by an invisible hand. There remained only a single step….. The moment he went to take the last step, he felt another hand, this time on his shoulder and from behind, whilst he heard a voice he knew very well. This hand was very much alive and visible. It belonged to his old school friend Nikos.

A few minutes later they found themselves sitting in a tavern. Since he had not had any food for quite some time, he was grateful that Nikos invited him to eat. News from Paros, however, was not very good. Kostas’ grandfather had died that morning. He had been very old; over 95 years, but to Kostas, his grandfather was identical with the first memories from his childhood. Nikos told him about his new life. Kostas learned that he had not only a store but also a hotel and a restaurant…

It was nearing midnight when Kostas saw the lights of Paros from the deck of the ‘Ocean Mist’. This was the beginning of his new life. Kostas had offered him both work and somewhere to live.

Having spent an entire winter in England, some time earlier, Kostas had learned to speak the language quite well. He had met with an English lady at the very end of the season and followed her back to England. Jane was a sympathetic but determined mature lady. Kostas had been sent to College at the same time as she practised English with him both morning and evening. Jane was several years older than Kostas and a very educated lady from a good family. She was a teacher at a secondary school. She lived in a semi detached house with a small garden in one of the north-eastern districts of Outer London called Ilford. It was not exactly the sort of place that Kostas would have chosen to live, but Jane told him she had moved there when she got the job at a nearby school. Her old father lived in the other part of the house. In the garden was a shed where her father’s old Rolls Royce was kept. The car looked as good as it had in 1928, when it had been new, but it had not been on the road since the father’s license had expired some 20 years earlier. He was however not able to part with it. Her father always joined them for meals. Apparently he spent most of his time reading newspapers and watching the news on television. Jane‘s old father was the reincarnation of “a fine old English Gentleman”. He always greeted Kostas very politely and he always referred to what he had just read in his newspapers, followed by some regretful remarks about “the sad state of affairs in his beloved country, England.” “After the mob had taken over and ruined the entire industry, all the English had to look forward to would be a glorious past”. Jane told him later that by the word “mob”, her father meant the Trades’ Unions.

Jane was like a Mother to Kostas, she arranged everything in his life; food, clothing and education. If Kostas had not been so industrious with his education, he would not have lasted very long in England. The climate did not agree with him. He did not find it easy to get in contact with the locals. England is an island, much bigger than Paros of course, but residents considered it as the centre of the world. Everything outside was «continental» The residents had no confidence in ”continental  people” In particular, the Greeks  They came from a far away place and they spoke an incomprehensible language. Kostas realised that there was no future for him in England. Consequently he decided to leave before the next tourist season started. Both Jane and her father regretted Kostas’s decision. The father could however easily understand as Kostas was not all that enthusiastic, that he wanted to leave.  The father said “Now that everything in my beloved England seems to be disintegrating, I only hope I will not live to see the day that the Germans would take over Rolls Royce and Jaguar.  From that day England will have become the country of the living dead”

Kostas stay in England was by no means a waste of time. His knowledge of English would be very useful! After the meeting with Nikos in Athens, Kostas’ confidence began to return. Of course, he could no longer play the role of kamaki, but the new role he envisaged was more appealing to him. Although he had some grey hairs and had aged a few more years, Kostas had preserved his representative Greek appearance. Along with his knowledge of English, this would be sufficient for him to play an important role in Nikos’ new tourist centre.

Nikos met him at the harbour and took him to his new home. The apartment was not large or luxurious; it was over the kitchen of the restaurant. In comparison with lodgings in Athens, it was still like a different world. It was the chef’s apartment, but when he was not there, out of season, it was empty so Kostas could stay there until he could move into the new tourist centre. Kostas was impressed when Nikos showed him around. He had purchased the hotel and restaurant and he was in the process of a major expansion. Kostas saw drawings of the new buildings where he would get a bigger apartment before the season started. Kostas was curious. He wondered where Nikos had found all the money….

When Kostas asked about his wife, Nikos said that she was abroad at the moment.

.

The first night in the new home did not promise to be very good. For many years Kostas had had problems with sleeping. He poured himself a large glass of raki in order to help him sleep.

In his dreams he travelled back many years to the time of his childhood. He was out walking with his grandfather. Together the two of them went towards a special cake shop. There was a light fog but the sun was high in the sky. The rays of the sun penetrated the fog and made it radiate a blinding white light that struck Kostas’ face and eyes. He did not recognise the houses and streets of the city on the way to the cake shop where they always used to go. The sun came through the fog even stronger and caused the streets and house walls to glow with the same intense white light. It looked as though he had come into a part of town he did not know. All the houses were empty. Most of the windows were shattered.  He could no longer see his grandfather. He tried to shout; but he could make no sound.

Kostas was afraid, he began to run and run, but without knowing where he was going. After some time he got a certain feeling of recognition, he felt as though he were in one of the streets with which he was familiar and stopped. It had to be the street where the cake shop should be but it was completely empty, there was not a living soul there. Everywhere around him he could see piles of rubbish and dilapidated houses. They were all damaged as though a war had taken place there many years ago.

Kostas suddenly recognised the entrance to the cake shop .The door was broken and the pieces lay on the pavement. The freezer and all the display cases which used to be full of cakes, pastries and ice-cream were broken and pieces were lying on the floor. At the same moment, the fog began to lift so that Kostas could see a little further down the street.  Some distance away, he could sense the outlines of a human figure. Kostas went towards the figure. As he was approaching, he recognised his grandfather’s hat and coat from behind. He tried to shout, but again, no sound came out of his mouth.

His grandfather just stood there, motionless. Kostas took a few more steps and approached him. He was only one step behind his grandfather when he put his hand on his shoulders and tried to turn him around. Kostas had to exert all of his strength, but his grandfather moved only slowly.  Suddenly he got to see his grandfather’s face. It was completely without any expression, was totally motionless and the same white colour as the rest of the surroundings. Just at that moment the sun came through even stronger and struck against the motionless face; his granfather’s features began to radiate the same penetrating white light that Kostas had seen before. As he stared at the face, it began to disintegrate in front of his eyes. The skin, eyes, nose, mouth, his whole face melted away like a piece of wax. The blood began to freeze in Kostas’s veins….

He suddenly woke up, almost swimming in his own sweat. He could not recognise either the bed or the room in the new apartment. He could not even understand in what world he was; could he be in the world of dreams, fantasy, or in the real one? He quickly got up from the bed, ran to the window and drew the curtains. Kostas could not believe his eyes when he looked out. The sun was high in the sky and there was no trace of fog anymore. All the buildings were clean and undamaged. The streets were full of people.

Kostas started to wake up slowly. He gradually realised that it had been a nightmare. It had been caused by all the raki of course. Kostas had learned that raki is a dangerous companion, a bad friend and an even stricter master, but what else could he do when he could not sleep?  He dressed quickly and ran, without stopping, down the road to the cake shop. A few minutes later he found himself in front of the door. Although he knew that everything had been a bad dream he had to convince himself that he was once more in the real world. Everything looked normal. The owner was behind the counter and there were two customers there. The freezer and all the shelves were full of cakes, pastries, ice-cream and sweets. Kostas was relieved, even though he could not accept the truth right away.

The memory of the nightmare was still all too vivid; the image of his grandfather standing in front of him in the fog on the damaged street with his old coat and his old hat. There was nothing similar to that hat in the whole wide world. It was yellow and had a green ribbon around it resembling a tiny laurel wreath. The most remarkable things, however, were two small “ears” in the same green colour as the ribbon; that looked just like little wings! His grandfather had been given this hat as a gift from some young friends as a joke. They called him “the flyer” since, in his youth, he had shown great interest in aviation. His grandfather was very proud of that name and wore the “flying hat” for many years.

Kostas did not know how long he had been standing outside the cake shop when he heard a voice shouting out his name. When he turned, he froze as he saw his grandfather’s face. It did however not take him many seconds to realise that it was his grandfather’s obituary, with an old photograph, that by Greek tradition had been displayed on a nearby pole. The poster announced that the funeral would take place the next day. Standing next to the pole with the obituary he saw Giorgos, his brother. The expression on his brother’s face did not display kindness. Kostas realised immediately that he would forever remain unwanted, a ‘persona non grata’ in his own family. Neither was he welcome to be present at the funeral the following day.

Nikos was waiting for him when he got home. They went together to Nikos house to look at the plans for the new centre and to discuss Kostasnew job. When the phone rang Nikos went to take it in the next room and Kostas was left alone. While he waited, his eyes roamed around the entire room. They stopped at a shelf where there was a photograph that appeared to be from a wedding. The groom was Nikos. When Kostas suddenly recognised the bride, chills of ice ran through his veins, while his face changed colour and became as white as a sheet. The woman in the picture, the bride, was none other than Kari, the Norwegian girl who Kostas had left seven years ago, although he had promised to marry her!  A thousand thoughts ran through his mind: When would Kari come back? Had she learned who Nikos’ new assistant was? What would she say when she learned that he was going to work for her husband?  Kostas mind continued to go round in circles until he heard Nikos’ voice as he pointed at the photo and said, “Pretty girl, don’t you think, Kari, my Norwegian wife”? Kostas, standing there with the picture in his hand, did not know right away what he was going to reply, but after a few seconds, that for him seemed like hours, he gathered himself together and put the picture back on the shelf whilst he stammered out a few words  “Ehhh …… yes,,,,,,,, very pretty ..”. Kostas, however, did understand that Nikos could hardly have known anything about an affair between himself and Kari. Neither could Kari have learned who was going to be her husband’s new assistant, since she had spent the two last months in Norway taking care of her mother, who was ill.

Kostas did not feel particularly well as he came home to the apartment that night. His nerves were as taut as violin strings. The entire first day of his new life seemed like a disaster. He could not imagine other than that Kari would not endure to be so close to him after he had so ruthlessly betrayed her, seven years ago. Nor would it be possible to keep the history of their past love affair secret from Nikos. What would he say when he learned about it? Luckily, Nikos had been so full of enthusiasm, as he showed his plans to Kostas, that he had not noticed that Kostas was totally absent minded. He had only one thought in his mind; When would Kari come home? He was not looking forward to this homecoming. He soon had the answer to his question, when he was about to leave: “I am looking forward to introducing you to Kari; she arrives home on Saturday with her mother!”

Nikos’ words had burned in his mind. His hands shook as he grabbed the bottle and poured a glass of raki, even though he had promised himself to stay away from the alcohol. As he sank down into the armchair, Kostas again lost himself in the world of dreams. Again he returned to his childhood. It was a day in spring. Everything was beautiful. Kostas went along with his grandfather towards the mountain. His grandfather was, as usual, wearing his strange “flying hat” and both of them walked along the tiny trail leading upwards towards the hills. The family owned two small houses in the mountains. In the one lived a shepherd who cared for the animals, whilst the family used the second one when they wanted to take a mountain trip. Kostas looked at his grandfather as he walked in front of him on the trail. The wind made the small wings on his hat look as though they were flapping. Kostas would not have been in the least surprised to see his grandfather starting to fly up into the sky. He always rejoiced when his grandfather allowed him to borrow his “flying hat”.

Just beside the two little houses there was a steep hill. On one side there was a little path leading to the top. The other side fell steeply down the bottom of the valley. From the top there was a magnificent view of the island. One could see the valley, the mountains, the city and, far away, the ocean. Kostas was on top of the hill and closed his eyes. When he heard his grandfather shout: “Fly Kostas ……. fly!”  He felt as if he really was flying. He flew over the earth, over the mountains, the sea, and over the whole world.

The two little houses were situated in a meadow, only separated by a small hollow. Kostas and his grandfather came over to the shepherd’s house. The shepherd was out with the animals. Only a small kid stood behind a small fence in the shade of the house. When he looked over at the house on the other side Kostas caught sight of his father and mother. When they discovered him they waved; he felt as if they smiled at him. Everything was just perfect, melancholic and nostalgic…

When Kostas woke up, he felt a litle more rested, and he was not that tense anymore. The dream was, however, so vivid in his mind that he had the feeling that the whole sequence had happened in the present. The strangest thing was the image of his grandfather with the yellow hat. The hat had suddenly disappeared, many years ago; Kostas had actually been only ten years old at the time. Grandpa had loved this hat above all other things, and the whole family had looked everywhere, but it seemed to have gone forever.
Kostas made ​​a decision. He would go to the funeral tomorrow under any circumstances, because his grandfather represented the first stage in his life, his childhood. If he did not go he knew he would come to regret it for the rest of his life.

It was a pleasant, quiet evening in the late autumn. As Kostas opened the window he could hear voices in the street below. From next door came the sound of music. Somebody was trying to play an old melody on an out-of-tune piano. People went in and out of the café and the two houses further down the street. On the pavement across the street a young couple walked with their arms around each other. They stopped every so often and embraced each other more closely. Kostas was sure that they loved each other deeply and honestly. When he looked at them, he realised that ‘love’ was, for him, just an unknown word. Although the couple was only a few yards away on the other side of the street, for Kostas, they might just as well have been on the other side of the world.

The sun was about to set. From a distance came the sound of thunder, whilst the bells of the church were ringing for the evening mass. Kostas tried to follow a series on the television, but he could not concentrate. Many thoughts roamed around in his brain. He thought of the family, his early life, Athens, all the girls he had known, especially Kari. How could he have deceived her in such a brutal way, just running away after he had promised to marry her? The more his thoughts were wandering around in his brain, the more uneasy Kostas started to feel. When his thoughts eventually concentrated on the funeral that was to take place the next day, they went into even more turmoil resulting in increasing anxiety and fear. He did however refrain from taking to the bottle.

He did not know how long he had been sitting there in front of the television screen without really seeing anything. Then his eyelids felt heavy, after a while, he was taken by fatigue and fell asleep.

Another restless night; his sleep was filled with people, places and memories. In his ears was the sound of church bells and the distant peals of thunder still sounded. Kostas again did not know in which world he was, in the world of reality, in a dream, or in a fantasy. Neither could he understand in what time he was. Maybe it was yesterday, maybe today, tomorrow, or the day after? Faces, figures and memories chased through his brain. Over all of this he could hear the church bells and peals of thunder, increasing in intensity to a roaring satanic crescendo.

Kostas heard music from somewhere far away. At first he imagined that the quiet voices of the polyphonic womans choir came from angels. When he saw the white-dressed women in the choir, on the television that he had forgotten to turn off, Kostas thought that he had gone to heaven. When he eventually came back to reality, he found that he had no power to stand up. He remained sitting in the chair listening to the music. He watched the white-dressed women. As he focussed his eyes on the television screen he had the feeling that he was being drawn towards the choir. He moved closer and closer; he did not stop even when he came to the screen, but continued through it. In a moment he arrived at the white dressed women, it seemed to him as if they were as transparent as mist .They dissolved and Kostas continued on, right through them.

The music sounded more distant. Kostas was in a misty landscape. The fog had the same blinding light that he knew from his dreams. The music from the choir had disappeared, but from a distance he heard a different music. It sounded like the mass being sung in an Orthodox church. The fog started gradually to condense into the outlines of trees, monuments and gravestones. Kostas was in a cemetery. In the distance, a funeral procession came out of the fog. As it came closer Kostas recognised his parents, brother and sister and the rest of the family. The three priests in front of the procession chanted. Six men carried the coffin. Kostas was anxious, he wanted to run away and hide behind a big tree, but his legs would not obey him so he stood, riveted, in the same place. The funeral procession was barely twenty paces from Kostas when they discovered him.

He realised that they had recognised him, but Kostas could not move. The procession stopped for a moment. All of them gazed at Kostas before they started to move again. They came towards the place where he stood. The whole beginning of the procession with the three priests became transparent, like fog, continued through Kostas and vanished. The coffin, however, bumped into him and hit Kostas on the head. He was seized by fear, and in a new attempt to escape he hit the coffin with his arm so hard that it fell to the ground and lay there whilst the rest of the group disappeared. The coffin, as it lay on the ground, was half open. Kostas took a step closer to it, then another, and another. When he got so close that he could see into the coffin, Kostas felt as though he had frozen to ice in that same moment. The face that stared at him from inside the coffin was not his grandfather’s, it was his own……..

Kostas woke up, dripping with sweat. He was only just able to walk as far as the window. He was trembling all over as he drew open the curtains. Outside, he discovered the same radiating mist with the intense white light that he knew. He quickly poured himself a large glass of raki. He had decided to quit, but it did not matter anymore. Nothing was important for Kostas anymore. He understood that his dreams had been a ‘deja vue’, an experience of something that was going to happen. Kostas had nothing to look forward to anymore. The past had caught up with what little he had left of his future. He realised that he would soon be facing the last ….the final…, the great horror.

Kostas ran through the fog. Grandfather’s voice kept singing in his ears: “To the top, Kostas, to the top.” He barely managed to follow the path upwards. As he climbed higher the fog became lighter and he could distinctly see the outlines of a man a little further ahead of him on the trail. Kostas had not recognised his grandfather immediately because this time he did not have his hat on his head, he held it in front of him, in both hands. His grandfather smiled at him as he put his hat on Kostas’ head before he disappeared into the mist. Kostas ran and ran. He reached the end of the trail and began the ascent to the top. When he arrived there, he came out of the fog and the sunlight struck him from a clear blue sky. He stared out over an endless sea of ​​white fog. Over it all, far away, as if from outer space, he heard his Grandfather’s voice: “Fly Kostas, fly!”…… And Kostas flew, above the clouds, over the mountains, the sea, and over the whole world.  He did not worry any longer; he was not afraid…… Kostas was free.

Confidential report from the Paros Police
The body of a man was found by a shepherd today, in the valley at the bottom of the mountain.  It was thought likely that he had fallen from the steep rock cliff above. The strange thing was that the man was wearing a peculiar yellow hat, with wing-like green ears, that had a green ribbon around the crown resembling a tiny laurel wreath. The man had apparently pulled this hat down over his head with both hands as he fell.

Because of the somewhat mysterious circumstances of this case it is not recommended that this report be made available to the general public.

 

“A sailor comes to Crete”

Synopsis.

By Sven Buchholz

Clue to script writers in Italics bold.

 The drama takes place in

  1. 1.      A traditional village at the north coast of Crete in the present time.
  2. 2.      A rocky bay at the coast of Northern Crete.
  3. 3.      Selected places around suited to show the Cretan nature.

Persons:

……, The sailor.

Alexis, fisherman.

Eleni, his wife.

Maria his sister

Zina her daughter

Antonis, Zina s fiancée , owner of local cafeneion – taverna.

Village priest.

Village doctor.

Other fishermen and villagers.

Place northern coast of Crete, VlichadaBay, very wild and rocky with a sandy bay in the bottom, open out to the open sea.

Beginning:

Terrible weather, storm thunder lightning etc.. In a «vision» we se the misty ghost – like contour of an old sailing ship in a misty fading picture.

A person appears swimming ashore falling down in the sand as he reaches the beach.

Daylight next morning reveals a man lying in the sand. He is dressed in old 17 century sailor’s clothes. The captain uniform has been taken off, now lying besides him together with his hat.

Two fishermen are coming to look at a boat pulled further up in the bay.

One of them discovers the sailor after some time. After some shaking up we can se the sailor is alive but confused. Do not seem to understand any language, looks completely lost. The sailor is seen to leave the bay supported by the two fishermen.

The fishermen bring the sailor to their village.

The sailor is put to bed and taken in the care of the fishermen’s family. After some time he wakes up but speaks no known language, only a few phrases that no one understands, he no idea of who he is or where. His memory is probably lost. His old sailor’s clothes are put away in a cupboard and he gets to borrow some modern clothes of the same type as the villagers.

Now starts the «real drama». «The unreal in the real» Difficult, . It is a fine balance! The possibilities are everywhere

 The sailor is thrown into, a, for him strange and unknown world.

 It is important that the village is populated by inhabitants in giving an adequate description so that the script reflects a Cretan village the year 2010.

Al the standard «village elements» Must be present. The cafeneion, a tavern, etc +,all the typical characters and “originals to be found in the village , last but not least, the priest. Here I have the possibilities to describe the daily life of a perfectly normal Greek village with the undertone of mystery creeping closer all the time..

 Obviously not all the villagers take too easily to the stranger. There are many things to «play at» here, the conflicts are in the air everywhere. First, he is a stranger; the Cretans are traditionally suspicious to strangers. He speaks no understandable language and he is different from the other, the phrases that come out of him are of a no understandable language, the strange clothes he was dressed inn, the way he behaves etc.

An important element is the fact that the fisherman’s sister has a widow sister. Her beautiful daughter Zina is overprotected by dominating mother. No man is allowed to get near to her.  Zina was promised to her cousin Antonis by the father before he died. Antonis the antagonist in the story is a somewhat older and quite unsympathetic owner of the local tavern. In this village, like in most other villages in Greece marriage must be kept within the village.

Antonis is to be “built up as antagonist, the bad guy, with all it takes

Zina, with has managed to postpone marriage for some time using various excuses and objections. She got help of village doctor who fares result of inbreeding.

The conflict accelerates as the stranger seems to get a good contact not only with Zina, but he also seems to appeal to other women in the village. Zina is very curious about who he is and were he comes from. Although sailor belongs to a different place and a different time he represents “fresh air” for the poor women who are totally dominated by their boring macho men.

I must be careful here, the contact is «in the air», nothing substantial, at least not in the beginning.

Zina tries to try and communicate with him by teaching him her language, word by word.  She takes him around for walks in the surroundings (Great chance to describe the nature of Crete) during one of these walks she takes him back to the bay where he came ashore. During the walks they often clash Antonis who gradually becomes sick of jealousy and increasingly more hostile to the sailor. Anything can happen now. Conflict is growing.  Gradually, portions of the sailor’s memory returns. What comes out of his returning memory is strongly connected to the ocean. It becomes more and more likely that the stranger belongs to another time and another place.  At one occasion they meet the Priest and she asks him for advice. As a learned man, the Priest can identify the fragments of speech as ancient Dutch language. The priest can also tell a story of sailors that are doomed to sail for eternity on the ocean. One of them is told to be a Dutchman.  With gradual return of the sailors memory it becomes clear that the stranger has a lot in common with the the doomed sailor. He is condemned to sail on the sea for eternity. We all know from the legend that the only thing that can liberate him is the faith and love of a woman. At the same time however he will bring nothing but misfortune to the village. Zina desperately tries to make the sailor understand that IF he is the doomed sailor, she will make the sacrifice.

The stranger gives Zina no direct answer he only looks at her with his enigmatic expression on his face.

In developing the script further it is important to gradually build up aiming at the climax. There are already sufficient elements to design the necessary intrigues and following climax.

We get no clear answer to any of the questions, the mystery is in the air. The villagers are looking at the sailor with increasingly more dislike and suspicion.

Conflict is now growing even more as Antonis gets even sicker of jalousie.  Zina and Antonis, starts a quarrel that develops to a fight. The sailor enters the room just in the moment  that Antonis has thrown his arms around the Zina. His entrance causes Antonis to loose his temper. He pulls out a long knife and comes at the sailor who has no other alternative than to defend himself. He pulls out his own knife and the two start fighting. During a dramatic fight the sailor puts the knife trough Antonis heart, blood pumping out of his mouth… In the meantime the weather has «built up» to the same storm as in the beginning of the story. The sailor leaves the room in a hurry, goes to the cupboard and takes out the old “uniform” with the strange hat he was wearing when he first came and runs away towards the bay. In the meantime Zina has understood something is wrong as she can not find the sailor. Instantly she runs towards the bay through the storm. Parallel cutting to get at  climax.

Arriving at the beach she sees the last of him walking out against the open sea. A wave tears the uniform and the hat off him. That is the last we see of him. Again, in a faint vision the old sailingship comes through the storm and mist. The vision faints and picture goes in black.

Next morning on the beach. The storm is gone; Zina who has fallen unconscious on the beach gradually wakes up. Bright sunshine. Besides her half cowered by seaweeds and other bits and pieces thrown up by the storm she finds the old uniform and the hat of the sailor.

End of story.

Kamaki  er en ”figur i Hellas nyere historie.» Da landet åpnet for turismen etter juntaens fall midt på 70 tallet, søkte mange unge gutter fra provinsen inn til byene. For mange var det en mulighet til å finne en vei ut av fattigdommen. De modne ”turistdamene” fra andre, økonomisk mer velstilte land ble et lett offer for de sjarmerende gutten fra øyene eller landsbygda. Mange av dem søkte avveksling fra sine frustrerte ekteskap. Yrket er nærmest utdødd i dagens Hellas, men ungdommen har overtatt navnet. Når de er ute for å sjekke jenter heter det «å gå kamaki!»

Jeg leste novellen i boken til Liv Nilsen Garas,”Glimt av Liv”. Boken gir en levende beskrivelse av en norsk dames betraktninger over sitt møte med Hellas og senere liv der. Jeg anbefaler denne boken på det beste.

Jeg foreslo at hun skulle skrive en fortsettelse. Hun kom imidlertid med et motforslag : Gjør det selv!

Første del er skrevet at Liv, andre del som handler om Kamakiens hjemkomst er skrevet av meg.

Av en eller annen grunn hadde jeg bare den greske teksten til Liv, denne teksten er derfor oversatt og kan derfor avvike noe fra orginalen.

 Del 1, Kostas, en kamaki.

(profesjonell gresk kvinneforfører)

Skrevet av Liv Nilsen Garas, fra boken ”Glimt av Liv”.

Kostas hadde problemer og han visste det. Karis retur til Norge var forsinket samtidig som flyet med Berit skulle lande om en halv time. Også i forrige måned hadde han planlagt dårlig med det resultatet at Liv skulle dra samtidig med at Inger ankom! Kanskje begynte han å bli for gammel for dett livet? Han hadde lenge forsøkt å få lit penger ut av damene slik at han kunne starte en eller annen virksomhet, men han hadde aldri fått noen av dem til å punge ut sånn uten videre. Kostas tanker vandret 15 år tilbake i tiden, før han dro til Athen for å avsutte det siste skoleåret. Han var ikke akkurat noe skolelys, men han klarte å komme seg igjennom ungdomsskolen. Han hadde tenkt å dra til sjø noen år for å legge seg opp penger til å kunne starte noe for seg selv. Paros var grei nok om sommeren, men om vinteren ble det heller stusselig. Den gangen fantes det ikke noen videregående skole på Paros, derfor dro de fleste ungdommene til Athen. Kostas dro også til storbyen hvor han bodde på en ussel liten hybel i de tre årene det tok å komme gjennom videregående. Han husket ensomheten og kakkelakkene.

Det var ikke lett å komme i kontakt med de folk i Athen. De hadde det med å betrakte folk fra provinsen lit ovenfra og ned. Utallige ganger hadde han forsøkt å få med seg en av jentene i klassen på kino, men de nødet alltid. De kikket heller på ham i smug, for den gangen, på 70 tallet, var det ingen jenter som gikk ut med en gutt alene om det ikke lå forlovelse eller giftermål i luften! Han hørte at de andre skolekammeratene gikk til horer om de ville ha kontakt med det annet kjønn, men den tanken hadde aldri tiltalt Kostas.

En kveld ringte telefonen. Det var Nikos, en barndomsvenn fra Paros. Han var blitt kjent med noen utenlandske jenter som han hadde invitert ut på restaurant samme kveld. Nikos nølte. Han tenkte på utgiftene og på hvordan han skulle kunne konversere med dem. Han hadde lært noe engelsk på skolen, men etter det tredje året hadde de fremdeles den samme læreboken, derfor var hans engelskferdigheter heller minimale. Nikos var mer optimistisk. Han var sikker på at han kunne få jentene til å betale, og språket var heller ikke problem for ham. ”Kle deg pent, kjøp noen blomster, så får vi se!”

Kvelden ble en mer enn vellykket. Damene betalte maten med glede og Nikos gestikulerte og slo rutinert om seg med engelske ord og fraser. Da Kostas hørte ordene ”Very poor” visste han at det betydde ”meget fattig”. Han trodde ikke sine egne ører. Han hadde aldri tenkt på sine foreldre som fattige. Faren hans var ikke akkurat noen Onassis, men han eiet flere hus på Paros og en hel del jord.Jentene svelget hele historien med tårer i øynene.

Måltidet med etterfølgende diskotek var gratis og han overnattet sammen med den ene av pikene. Han husket ikke hva hun het neste morgen.

Neste dag ringte Nikos igjen. Det samme opplegget og den samme tåredryppende historien om en fattig oppvekst. Denne gangen var damene noe eldre. De spanderte på en dyrere restaurant, og istedenfor å tilbringe natten på et billig hotell overnattet de på en av byens beste steder. Han fikk nesten hjemlengsel da mannen i resepsjonen gav ham nøkken til rommet med et glimt i øyet.

Tre år, utallelige måltider og hotellnetter senere hadde Kostas fått denne livsstilen og rytmen under huden. De fleste pengene han fikk fra foreldrene til husleie og skolepenger ble nå brukt til å kjøpe klær. Han hadde lagt merke til at damene foretrakk en spesiell type. Han tilbrakte formiddagen utstrakt på stranden.  Som de fleste greker tok det ham ikke lang tid å få bronsefarge over helle kroppen. Han sov alltid middag for å komme i god form til kvelden.

Han kledde seg alltid med omhu. Hvit nystrøken skjorte med de tre øverste knappene åpne og mørke bukser med en liten jakke hengende over skulderen. Han hadde spandert en liten formue for å kjøpe et gullkors med kjede på bruktmarkedet. Ha gjorde et like imponerende inntrykk på jentene hver gang. Kostas tenkte aldri på seg selv som en ”Don Juan” en ”kamaki”, men jentene bare flokket seg rundt ham. Han traff ikke Nikos så ofte lenger, han arbeidet for det meste alene. Av og til tenkte han på foreldrene med dårlig samvittighet. Etter at han hadde diktet opp en historie om at han hadde begynt på en teknisk skole fortsatte de å sende ham penger. De tvilte aldri på hva han enn måtte finne på å fortelle dem.

Det hendte sjelden at han hadde stevnemøte med den samme damen mer enn en gang. Han valgte alltid utlendinger, som oftest jenter fra Skandinavia. De var reale og greie, forlangte lite samtidig som de var rause med pengene.

I skapet hadde han hengende mange hjemmestrikkede gensere og jakker og han viste at flere var underveis med posten. Han solgte en eller to på markedet når pengene ikke strakk til. Det manglet heller ikke på invitasjoner til å dra
utenlands og han hadde en hel skuff full av varme kjærlighetsbrev som han aldri besvarte. Det hendte heller ikke så sjelden at de sendte ham en flybillett. Dem solgte han uten vanskeligheter til studenter som ventet på flyplassen. Navnet ble byttet og han kom hjem flere tusen kroner rikere. Han avsuttet leiekontrakten, forlot leiligheten og tilbrakte nettene på forskjellige hoteller. Han fant alltid en som var villig til å betale. Kostas var fornøyd med tilværelsen, han var fri og frank. Han hadde til og med begynt å legge seg opp penger til å kjøpe bil.

Det voldte ham noen problemer da foreldrene plutselig kom til Athen. Moren var blitt syk og måtte på sykehus i Athen. Det lyktes ham i siste øyeblikk å få lånt en leilighet for noen dager mens foreldrene oppholdt seg i byen. De ble imponert over hvor godt Kostas hadde klart seg i livet. Han fortalte dem at han jobbet for et velrenommert firma. Atter godtok de alt han fortalte uten å komme med noen spørsmål. Kostas pustet lettet ut da han hadde sett dem vell om bord i båten til Paros.  Han hadde forklart dem at han ikke kunne besøke dem så ofte han ønsket på grunn av arbeidet, men han hadde lovet å komme til Katarinas, lillesøsterens bryllup. Det skulle finne sted i september, og alle på Paros var invitert. Han ble nervøs bare av tanken. I storbyen var det ikke noe problem å være anonym, men på Paros kjente alle hverandre, derfor var han sikker på å få nærgående spørsmål. Det var imidlertid umulig for ham å unngå denne reisen. Han hadde bestemt seg for å ta båten fra Rafina, en liten havneby øst for Athen. Det var en reise på 5 – 6 timer med avgang om ettermiddagen og ankomst ved middnattstid.

Han kledde seg i dress og slips og forberedte seg på de spørsmålene han visste ville komme. I kofferten hadde han bryllupsgaven, en krystallbolle fra Costa Boda. En svensk dame hadde fortalt ham at dette var det fineste og kanskje også dyreste krystallet i verden. Broren, Giorgos sammen med Katharina og forloveden møtte ham i havnen. Foreldrene ventet hjemme. Bordet var dekket med alle hans yndlingsretter.

Alle så på ham fulle av beundring. Den ene løgnen fulgte den andre. Kostas begynte etter hvert å føle en tomhet. Han lå uten å kunne sove mange timer etter at han hadde lagt seg.

Neste morgen stod alle tidlig opp. Katharina skulle gifte seg i en liten kirke litt utenfor landsbyen. Etter vielsen skulle det bli fest på Babis taverna. Kostas skulle dra tilbake til Athen neste dag. Alle de innbudte innfant seg ”pyntet til trengsel”. Alle gledet seg over å se ham og de gratulerte ham med den flotte jobben i Athen. Kostas bare satt der. Han ønsket inderlig at han kunne fortelle sannheten.

Han følte seg ikke særlig bedre idet han kom tilbake til Athen. Hvor var det blitt av alle årene og hvor var det blitt av alle de søte jentene han hadde blitt kjent med? Han følte seg håpløs og dum. Hadde han bare grepet sjansen og innledet en mer alvorlig forbindelse med en av dem. Han kunne ikke få seg til å akseptere den tanken at han var en kamaki, en profesjonell kvinneforfører som nærmet seg de 40. Uten fortid å snakke om og uten fremtid. På flyplassen kunne han observere mang kopier av ham selv, de fleste var yngre enn ham, men det fantes også noen eldre. Alle kledd i hvit nystrøken skjorte og mørke bukser, og alle bar et gullkors fra bruktmarkedet om halsen.

Kostas, en kamaki, fortsettelse

Del 2, 

En kamakis hjemkomst

 Forfatter Sven Buchholz.

Morgensolen trengte gjennom det skitne glasset i det eneste vinduet som fantes i det lille rommet. Kostas lå henslengt på sengen fult påkledd med hvit skjorte og mørke bukser. Ettersom lyset kom lenger inn i rommet begynte Kostas å våkne langsomt. Blikket hans streifet over de triste og falmete tapetene i den fattigslige hybelen. Klærne hans var i uorden. Skjorten så ikke lenger så hvit og nystrøken ut og to av knappene manglet. Buksene var flekket av matrester og en kraftig hodepine presset seg rundt pannen som en glødende jernkrans. Han følte seg heller ikke helt bra i magen. Kostas reiste seg fra sengen med en kraftanstrengelse. Idet han nærmet seg vinduet traff solen ham i ansiktet.  Da han forsøkte å snu seg bort  møtte han bare sitt eget bilde i speilet. Han likte ikke det han fikk se.

Enda 10 år og mange flere restaurantmåltider og hotellnetter hadde passert. Håret hans hadde ikke den samme sorte fargen lenger. Diverse forsøk med ulike fargestoffer var ikke helt vellykket når det gjaldt å fjerne de grå hårene. Heller ikke kosmetikk hadde hjulpet ham med å skjule alderens spor, tvert om, de ble bare enda tydeligere. Bildet i speilet minnet han mer om en klovn han engang hadde sett for mange år siden som barn da bestefaren hadde tatt ham med på sirkus på Paros.

Det hadde ikke gått så bra for Kostas i det siste. De søte jentene fra Skandinavia som alltid hadde mange penger å spandere så ut til å foretrekke de yngre kollegaene hans. Denne uken hadde vært en ren katastrofe. Den siste tiden hadde Kostas måtte ta til takke med de mer tilårskommene kundene, de som for det meste kom med charterreiser. Han dro ofte til Pireus for å prøve seg på å fange dem opp når de kom med ferge fra øyene.  Konkurransen var ikke så hard her. De unge kollegane hans likte seg best på flyplassen. De delikate skandinaviske damene var byttet ut med plumpe engelske damer, de som søkte avveksling fra sine mislykkete frustrerte ekteskap. I enkelte tilfelle hadde han også måttet ta til takke med eldre greske damer. Et rent praktisk problem var at den nye kategorien av kunder hadde en tendens til å reise flere i følge.

Dagen før hadde han igjen dratt til Pireus. Hele morgenen og formiddagen hadde han tilbrakt på en kafeteria som lå like ved holdeplassen for bussen og metroen. De engelske damene satt som oftest der mens de ventet på hverandre eller på buss og tog. For hver ferge som ankom til havnen ble det mer folk på kafeteriaen. Etter mange kaffekopper bestilte Kostas sin første ouzo mens han betraktet et selskap av engelske damer ved et annet bord. De tømte det ene ølglasset etter det andre og snakket stadig mer høyrøstet. Kostas tenkte på de pene jentene fra Skandinavia mens han reflekterte for seg selv. Hvordan kunne det i sannhet være mulig å se en så stor samling stygge underklassekjærringer ved samme bord? På et bord lit lenger borte satt noen engelske mannfolk. De var heller ikke noe vakkert syn. Han tenkte med lengsel på de skandinaviske jentene. Hvorfor var det så stor forskjell på mennesker fra disse to nordlige europeiske landene? Kostas drakk en stor slurk ouzo i et forsøk på å skylle bort det ubehagelige inntrykket.  Hva kunne man egentlig vente av kvinner i et land hvor selv overklassedamene minnet om hester! En av Kostas gamle skolevenner som syslet med arvelighetsforsking spøkte med at det skyldtes mange generasjoners innavl med hester!

Kostas så på klokken. Båten fra Mykonos ville komme om få minutter. Han reiste seg og forlot kafeteriaen. Han kom frem til havnen omtrent samtidig med båten. Den var full av turister. Som vanlig var det fleste av de som kom fra Mykonos ”pene unge menn”, men heldigvis var også noen engelske damer. De fleste i grupper på 6 – 8 stykker. Kostas unngikk disse selskapene. Han hadde lært seg at det ikke var noen penger å tjene der. Tvert om, de skaffet ham bare problemer. Han husker en gang han hadde latt seg overtale til å slå følge med en slik gruppe på 7 engelske damer de havnet på en bar. Plutselig reiste alle 7 seg og løp ”for å nå bussen” som de sa til Kostas som satt igjen med regningen.

Når Kostas stod slik på kaia og skuet etter ”bytte” hadde han lært seg å legge merke til alle de små detaljene. Hans profesjonelle blikk skannet raskt over de ulike gruppene av potensielle kunder. Han kunne raskt slå fast om det var  noe å hente. Den dagen var mulighetene heller magre Det var bare større grupper damer og noen eldre ektepar utenom alle homsene. Båten var nesten tømt da Kostas oppdaget henne. Hun befant seg bak en gjeng med homser. Hun kunne bare være engelsk selv om hun slett ikke så verst ut. Kostas hadde ikke lagt merke til henne med en gang fordi hun stod bøyet over de to koffertene sine som hun forsøkte å slepe med seg. På brøkdelen av et sekund befant Kostas seg ved siden av damen, grep tak i koffertene og løftet dem opp. Hun ble først litt overasket, men hun summet seg raskt, smilte og takket. Kostas var fornøyd med seg selv. Endelig hadde det lyktes ham å få kontakt med en engelsk dame av den bedre klassen. Mange år som kamaki hadde lært Kostas å skille de ulike sosiale og kulturelle klassene fra hverandre ved å lytte til språket, spesielt gjaldt dette engelsk. Denne damen snakket et språk som var helt forskjellig fra det han hadde hørt i kafeteriaen. Det var meget lettere for Kostas å forstå. Utrolig at det kunne være samme språk!

Mens de begge spaserte sammen i retning av holdeplassen hadde Kostas allerede planlagt resten av dagen. De nærmet seg kafeteriaen, men Kostas ville unngå å gå forbi den en gang til. Han begynte å føle seg uvel ved tanken på stedet. De stod på fortauet mens de så seg om etter en mulighet til å krysse gaten. Det var ikke så lett med all trafikken. I mellomtiden hadde den engelske damen fortsatt litt lenger fremover på samme side. Kostas hadde ikke annet å gjøre enn å følge etter. Han nådde henne akkurat igjen da de var på høyde med kafeteriaen. Trafikken var nå lit roligere så det var mulig å komme over, men da Kostas satte fra seg den ene kofferten for å trekke henne i armen som tegn på at de skulle krysse hørte han et høyrøstet brøl fra kafeteriaen. Da han snudde seg fikk han se damen sin løpe inn i kafeteriaen hvor hun omfavnet en fra det engelske selskapet som fremdeles satt ved det samme bordet. Kostas kunne ikke gjøre annet ennå følge etter selv om han heller hadde lyst til å droppe begge koffertene og stikke. Et minutt senere satt han ved bordet sammen med hele selskapet. De drakk fortsatt øl, mat syntes ikke å interessere dem. Kostas tømte bollene med peanøtter og chips før han fortsatte med ouzo. Han husket ikke mye av det som hendte etterpå annet enn at han etter hvert begynte å føle en intens tomhet samtidig som det etter hvert gikk opp for ham at alkoholen var en dårlig erstatning for mat. Han hadde heller ingen anelse om hvordan han hadde kommet seg tilbake til hybelen sin den kvelden, det eneste han visste var at lommene hans var tomme. De pengene han hadde hatt var borte.

                    Kostas tenkte at han ikke ville klare dette livet stort lenger, noe han aldri hadde villet innrømme, ikke en gang over for seg selv, inntil hans profesjonelle stolthet dagen før hadde lidd totalt nederlag da han ikke klarte ”å betjene” en kunde. Den gamle vennen Nikos hadde reist tilbake til Paros for lenge siden. Kostas hadde hørt fra en felles venn at det gikk veldig bra for ham. For de pengene han hadde klart å spare, og for det han solgte bilen for hadde han startet en butikk for seg selv. Det ble også sagt at han hadde giftet seg. Kostas hadde ikke engang penger til billetten om han hadde villet returnere til Paros. Dertil skyldte han mer enn to måneders husleie. Pengene fra Paros var stoppet opp. Han hadde ikke lenger kontakt med foreldrene etter at de hadde fått rede på sannheten om hans virkelige yrke, det at han hadde vært en kamaki helt siden han sluttet skolen. Det viste seg at en av hans greske ”kunder” var fra Paros. Da hun fikk rede på hvem han var hadde hun plumpet ut med hele historien til foreldrene. Hun hadde til og med tatt bilder! Bare en enkel hendelse i hele den serien av katastrofer som hadde preget livet hans den siste tiden…………..

Kostas visste ikke hvor lenge han hadde stått og betraktet sitt eget bilde i speilet. Blikket hans falt på gullkorset. Etter at han i fjor solgte bilen var dette korset han eneste aktivum for øyeblikket. Kostas smilte. De gule tennene gliste mot ham i speilet. En tanke for gjennom hjernen hans……at tennene  var en del av skjelettet hans…..

De siste solstrålene sank ned under horisonten i Myrtobukten. Kostas kastet et blikk på Attikas strender akkurat idet solen forsvant bak horisonten i det fjerne. Samtidig forsvant også de siste 30 årene av tilværelsen hans, den eneste formen for liv som Kostas hadde kjent siden barndommen på Paros. Han hadde solgt gullkorset for å få penger til billetten. Kostas forbandet seg selv over at han hadde vært så dum. For 7 år siden, mens det fremdeles gikk bra hadde han fått god kontakt med Kari, en både pen og rik norsk jente. Da Kostas kom  opp med spørsmålet om finansiell hjelp til å starte noe for seg selv hadde Kari sagt ja. Hun satte imidlertid som betingelse at de skulle gifte seg. Det kom som litt av et sjokk på Kostas. Han nølte og tenkte med seg selv. På den ene siden hadde han dette frie livet, uten ansvar og uten forpliktelser. På den andre siden hadde han Kari, en umåtelig vakker norsk jente som til og med var meget rik. Det som var det store spørsmålet for Kostas var om han ikke hadde fått denne levemåten så til de grader under huden at han ikke ville tåle noen forandring. Han innså imidlertid at han ikke kunne fortsette resten av livet på denne måten, derfor hadde han sagt ja til Kari. Dagen etter tok hun Kostas med til Norge hvor han ble presentert for familien hennes. Dette foreløp uten dramatikk og Kostas dro tilbake til Athen. De hadde de avtalt at Kari skulle komme etter neste uke for å bli med til Paros. Da Kostas våknet den morgenen han skulle møte Kari på flyplassen hadde han ligget søvnløs hele natten. Han hadde store problemer med å forestille seg selv som ektemann med familie. Bare tanken på barn fikk ham til å steile. Kostas hadde stor appetitt på damer i den tiden. 4 – 5 forskjellige i uken var helt vanlig. Søndagen hvilte han ut. Han hadde dessuten skaffet seg mange dyre vaner som ikke helt passet inn i det ekteskapelige liv. Dyre klær, barer, hoteller og reiser. Kostas tenkte at ekteskapet var noe han kunne vente flere år med enda. Det ville sikkert komme en ny sjanse. Jo mer disse tanken fikk arbeide i hodet til Kostas, desto kaldere føtter fikk han, derfor møtte han ikke Kari på flyplassen som avtalt. Han simpelthen stakk fra det hele. Hva som hendte med Kari visste han ikke. Kostas gikk i dekning. Han hadde aldri hørt noe mer fra henne. ……….

I virkeligheten hadde ikke Kostas planlagt å dra tilbake til Paros. Hva hadde han der å gjøre etter at han hadde brutt med foreldrene? Det eneste han visste var at han måtte forandre livet sitt radikalt, men han hadde ikke noen anelse om hvordan. I mellomtiden hadde han dratt til Pireus hver dag for å kunne opprettholde livet.

Det var en kald høstdag. Mens han ventet på bryggen husket han ordene i Nanna Moskouris gamle ”landeplage” Efige to Kalokeri,” Sommeren har gått. Det var virkelig en av disse høstdagene som gjorde ordene i denne sangen til virkelighet. Det kom ikke flere turister. Kostas hadde ventet i 5 timer uten å se tegn til en passende kunde. Situasjonen begynte å gå opp for ham. For Kostas var det ikke bare sommeren som hadde gått. Han har kommet til veis ende. Den veien som i ungdommen hadde syntes uendelig, men det var en gang…….

Båten kom og gikk, men Kostas stod urørlig på bryggen. Han tenkte på hva slags arbeid han skulle kunne gjøre om han ikke kunne være kamaki mer. Han hadde aldri lært noe annet yrke. Det var vanskelig for ham å godta at han ikke ville kunne klare noen annet, men det var slik det var. Han stirret utover vannet. Siden han hadde vokst opp på en øy var han blitt fortrolig med havet siden barndommen. Mens han stod slik og stirret følte ham et sug som trakk ham stadig nærmere bryggekanten. Han tok et skritt og enda et. Det var som om han var biltt  grepet av en usynlig hånd. Det gjenstod bare et eneste skritt….. I samme øyeblikk følte Kostas en annen hånd, denne gangen på skulderen, bakfra samtidig som han hørte en stemme som han kjente. Denne hånden var høyst levende og synelig. Den tilhørte den gamle skolekameraten Nikos. Noen minutter senere befant begge de gamle vennene seg på en taverna. Siden han ikke hadde spist stort de siste dagene var Kostas takknemmelig over at Kostas inviterte ham til å spise. Nyhetene fra Paros var ikke bare gode. Bestefaren hans var død samme morgen. Riktignokk var han meget gammel, mer enn 95 år, men for Kostas var bestefaren identisk med de første minnene fra barndommen.

Nikos fortalte om sitt nye liv. Kostas fikk vite at han ikke bare hadde en butikk men også et hotell og en restaurant…

Det nærmet seg middnatt da Kostas så lysene fra Paros som kom frem av havdisen. Begynnelsen på hans nye liv. Kostas hadde tilbudt ham både arbeide og husrom. Etter å ha tilbrakt en hel vinter i England hadde Kostas lært å snakke språket godt. Han hadde truffet en engelsk dame helt i slutten av sesongen og fulgt med henne til England. Jane var en sympatisk men bestemt dame. Kostas ble satt på skolebenken samtidig som Jane terpet engelsk med ham sent og tidlig. Jan var flere år eldre enn Kostas men likevel en meget stilig dame av god familie. Hun var dertil lærerinne på en videregående skole. Kostas så kanskje på henne som en slags mor da hun ordnet alt for ham, mat, klær og skolegang. Hadde ikke Kostas vært så opptatt med skolen hadde han neppe holdt ut særlig lang tid i England. Klimaet var ikke noe for ham. Det var heller ikke lett å komme i kontakt med de innfødte. England er en øy, riktig nokk større enn Paros, men innbyggerne betraktet det som verdens midtpunkt. Alt utenfor var ”continental”. De hadde ingen tiltro til ”continental people” Især gjaldt dette grekere. De kom fra et sted langt borte og snakket et uforståelig språk. Kostas forstod at de ikke var noen fremtid for ham i England. Derfor dro han hjem da neste sesong startet. Nå kom engelskterpingen vell med. Etter møtet med Nikos i Athen begynte selvtilliten å komme tilbake. Selvfølgelig kunne han ikke lenger spille rollen som kamaki lenger, men den nye rollen han skulle spille tiltalte ham mer. Selv om han hadde fått en del grå hår og en del flere år på seg hadde Kostas bevart sin representative fremtreden. Sammen med sine engelskkunnskaper var dette tilstrekkelig til å kunne spille en viktig rolle i Nikos nye turistsenter.

Nikos møtte ham i havnen og fulgte ham til sitt nye hjem. Leiligheten var verken stor eller luksuriøs, den lå over kjøkkenet i restauranten. Til sammenlikning med hybelen i Athen var det likevel som en annen verden. Det var kokkens leilighet, men da han ikke var der utenom sesongen stod den ledig så Kostas kunne bo der inntil han kunne flytte inn i det nye turistsenteret. Kostas ble imponert da Nikos viste ham rundt. Han hadde kjøpt hotellet og restauranten samtidig som han var i ferd med en betydelig utvidelse. Kostas fikk se tegningene til de nye bygningene hvor Kostas skulle få en større leilighet før sesongen startet. Kostas var nysgjerrig. Han lurte på hvor Nikos hadde fått alle pengene fra. Da Kostas spurte etter konen hans svarte Nikos at hun var utenlands for tiden.

Den første natten i det nye hjemmet lovet ikke godt. Kostas hadde siden flere år tilbake hatt søvnproblemer. Han måtte helle i seg et stort glass raki for å sovne. Han drømte seg mange år tilbake i tiden, til barndommen. Han var ute og spaserte med bestefaren. Sammen gikk de to til et bestemt konditori hvor de spiste kaker. Det var en lett tåke men solen stod høyt på himmelen. De sterke strålene trengte gjennom og fikk tåken til å stråle ut et blendende hvitt lys som slo Kostas i ansiktet og i øynene. Han kjente ikke igjen husene eller gatene i byen på veien til konditoriet der de alltid hadde gått. Solen trengte stadig sterkere gjennom og fikk gatene og husveggene til å gløde med det samme intense hvite lyset. Det så ut som han hadde kommet inn i en bydel han ikke kjente. Alle husene var tomme. De fleste vinduene var knust. Han så ikke bestefaren lenger. Han forsøkte å rope av alle krefter men ingen lyd hørtes. Kostas ble redd han begynte å løpe uten å vite hvor. Plutselig fikk han følelsen av at han kjente seg igjen i en av gatene og stanset. Det måtte være gaten til konditoriet, men den var helt tom, det fantes ikke et levende menneske der. Gatene var fulle av søppel og det var falt stykker av husene omkring. De var alle ødelagt som om en krig skulle ha funnet sted der for mange år siden. Kostas kjente igjen inngangspartiet til konditoriet. Døren var knust og stykkene lå utover fortauet. Kjøledisken og alle hyllene som pleiet å være fulle av kaker og godsaker var ødelagt og lå utover gulvet. Tåken begynte i det samme å lette litt slik at Kostas kunne se lit lenger nedover gaten. Et stykke bort kunne han ane omrissene av en menneskelig skikkelse. Kostas gikk mot skikkelsen og ettersom han nærmet seg kjente han igjen frakken og hatten til bestefaren bakfra. Han forsøkte å rope, men ingen lyd hørtes. Bestefaren stod der ubevegelig. Kostas tok enda noen skritt og nærmet seg bakfra. Det manglet mindre enn et skritt. Han la hånden på bestefarens skulder og forsøkte å dreie ham rundt. Kostas måtte bruke alle sine krefter, men bestefaren beveget seg bare langsomt. Han fikk plutselig se bestefarens ansikt. Det var fullstendig ubevegelig og uttrykksløst samtidig som det hadde den samme hvite fargen som resten av omgivelsene. Akkurat da  trengte solen igjennom tåken og slo mot det urørlige ansiktet som i samme øyeblikk begynte å stråle ut det samme gjennomtrengende hvite lyset som Kostas hadde sett før. Idet han stirret på ansiktet oppdaget han at det begynte å gå i oppløsning foran øynene hans. Huden, øynene, munnen, hele ansiktet smeltet bort som et stykke is. Blodet begynte å stivne i årene til Kostas….

Han våknet brått, badet i svette. Han kjente ikke igjen verken sengen eller rommet i den nye leiligheten. Han forstod til og begynte med ikke i hvilken verden han befant seg, i drømmens eller i virkelighetens? Han reiste seg raskt fra sengen og løp bort til vinduet og trakk gardinene fra. Kostas trodde ikke sine egne øyne da han så ut. Solen stod høyt på himmelen og det fantes ikke spor av tåke lenger. Alle bygningene var hele og gatene var fulle av folk. Kostas våknet langsomt. Han forstod etter hvert at det hele hadde vært et mareritt. Det måtte skyldes all rakien. Kostas hadde fått lære at raki er et farlig følge, en dårlig venn og enn enda strengere herre, men hva skulle han gjøre siden han ikke fikk sove? Han kledde seg raskt og løp uten stans mot veien til konditoriet. Noen minutter senere befant han seg foran døren. Selv om han viste at han hadde hatt en vond drøm måtte han overbevise seg selv om at han igjen befant seg i virkelighetens verden. Alt så normalt ut. Eieren stod bak disken og det var to kunder der. Kjøledisken og alle hyllene var hele og fulle av kaker og søtsaker. Kostas var lettet selv om han ikke helt ville akseptere sannheten med en gang. Erindringen fra marerittet var fremdeles så alt for levende. Bildet av bestefaren stående foran seg i tåken på den ødelagte gaten. Den gamle frakken hans og den gamle hatten. Det fantes ikke maken til denne hatten i hele verden. Den var gul og hadde et grønt bånd rundt som liknet på en bitte liten laurbærkrans. Det merkeligste var imidlertid to små ”ører” i samme grønne fargen som båndet, bare at det mest så ut som små vinger! Bestefar hadde fått denne hatten på spøk som gave fra noen ungdomsvenner. De kalte ham for ”flygeren”, siden han i ungdommen hadde vist stor interesse for luftfart. Bestefaren var veldig stolt av dette navnet og gikk med hatten i mange år.

Kostas visste ikke hvor lenge han hadde stått utenfor konditoriet da han hørte en stemme som sa navnet hans. Da han snudde seg stivnet han først idet han så bestefarens ansikt. Det tok ham imidlertid ikke mange sekundene før han forstod at det var bestefarens dødsannonse med et gammelt fotografi som etter gresk skikk var slått opp på stolpen. Plakaten forkynte at begravelsen skulle finne sted neste dag. Ved siden av stolpen med dødsannonsen oppdaget han Giorgos, broren sin. Uttrykket i ansiktet hans strålet ikke akkurat av vennlighet. Kostas forstod straks at han for alltid ville forbli uønsket, en persona non grata i familien. Han var heller ikke ønsket i begravelsen den påfølgende dag.

Nikos ventet på ham da han kom hjem. De gikk sammen til Nikos hus for å se på planene for det nye senteret samt for å diskutere den nye jobben til Kostas. Da telefonen ringte gikk Nikos for å ta den i naborommet og Kostas ble igjen alene. Mens han ventet lot han blikket streife rundt i stuen. Det stanset på en hylle hvor det stod et fotografi som så ut til å være fra et bryllup. Brudgommen var Nikos. Da Kostas plutselig gjenkjente bruden løp det en kuldegysning gjennom ham samtidig som ansiktet hans skiftet farge og ble hvitt som et laken. Kvinnen på bildet, bruden var ingen annen enn Kari, den norske piken som Kostas hadde forlatt for syv år siden selv om han hadde lovet å gifte seg med henne! Tusen tanker løp gjennom hodet hans: Når kom Kari tilbake? Hadde hun fått vite hvem som var Nikos’s nye assistent? Hva ville hun si når hun fikk vite det? Kostas fortsatte sin grubling inntil han hørte Nikos stemme idet han pekte på fotoet og sa: ”Pen dame», ikke sant, Kari, den norske konen min? Kostas som stod der med bildet i hånden visste ikke med en gang hva han skulle svare, men etter noen sekunder som for ham syntes som timer fikk han samlet seg til å sette bildet tilbake på hyllen mens han stammet frem en setning: ”Ehhh……ja,,,,,,,, veldig pen……” Kostas hadde imidlertid forstått at Nikos neppe kjente noe til affæren mellom han selv og Kari. Heller ikke Kari kunne ha hørt noe om hvem som var hennes manns nye assistent, siden hun hadde oppholdt seg to måneder i Norge for å ta seg av moren som var blitt syk.

Kostas følte seg ikke særlig vell da han kom hjem til leiligheten den kvelden. Nervene hans var spent som strenger. Hele den første dagen i hans nye liv fortonet seg som en katastrofe. Han kunne ikke annet en å forestille seg annet enn at Kari ikke ville tåle å ha fått ham så tett innpå seg etter at han så hensynsløst hadde sveket henne den gangen for 7 år siden.  Heller ikke ville det være mulig å holde historien om deres tidligere kjærlighetsaffære hemmelig for Nikos. Hva ville han si når han fikk vite det? Heldigvis hadde Nikos vært så full av entusiasme da han viste planene til Kostas at han ikke hadde lagt merke til at han var totalt åndsfraværende. Kostas hadde hatt en tanke i hodet sitt: ”Når ville Kari komme hjem.” Han gruet seg til denne hjemkomsten. Svaret på spørsmålet hadde han fått da han skulle til å gå. ”Jeg gleder meg til å presentere deg for Kari, hun kommer hit lørdag med moren sin!” Nikos ord hadde brent seg fast i øret hans. Hendene skalv da han grep flasken og helte opp et sort glass raki selv om han hadde lovet seg selv å holde seg borte fra alkoholen. Idet han sank sammen i lenestolen fortapte Kostas seg atter i drømmens verden. Atter vendte han tilbake til barndommen. Det var en dag på våren. Alt var vakkert. Kostas gikk sammen med bestefar oppover mot fjellet. Han var som vanlig iført den merkelige vingehatten sin og gikk foran på stien. Familien eiet to små hus oppe på fjellet. I det ene bodde gjeteren som passet på dyrene mens familien brukte det andre når de fikk lyst til å ta en fjelltur. Kostas betraktet bestefar der han gikk foran ham på stien. Vinden fikk de små vingene på hatten til å se ut som de flakset. Kostas ville ikke ha blitt det minste forbauset om han hadde sett bestefaren lette for å fly opp mot himmelen. Han frydet seg alltid når bestefaren lot ham få låne ”flygehatten”. Like ved de to små husene lå det en bratt fjelltopp. På den ene siden av den førte en liten sti oppover slik at det gikk an å komme helt opp til toppen. Den andre siden av falt stupbratt ned mot bunnen av dalen. Fra toppen var det en storslagen utsikt over øya. En kunne se utover dalen, fjellene, byen og lengst borte, havet. Kostas stod på toppen og lukket øynene. Når han hørte bestefar rope: ”Fly Kostas…….fly!” følte han det som om han fløy. Han fløy over jorden, over fjellene og havet, over det hele.

De to små husene befant seg på en liten slette bare atskilt av et lite dalsøkk. Kostas fulgte bestefar bort til gjeterens hus. Gjeteren var ute med dyrene. Bare noen små geitekillinger stod igjen bak et lite gjerde i skyggen av huset. Da han så over mot huset på den andre siden fikk Kostas øye på faren og moren. Da de vinket mot ham med hånden følte han det som om de smilte til ham. Alt var fullkomment, melankolsk og nostalgisk…

Da Kostas våknet kjente han seg lit mer utvilt, og han var ikke fult så anspent lenger. Drømmen var imidlertid så levende i erindringen hans at hadde følelsen av at det hele hadde hendt i nåtiden. Det merkeligste var bildet av bestefaren med den gule hatten. Denne hatten forsvant plutselig for mange år siden, Kostas var faktisk bare 10 år den gangen. Bestefar elsket denne hatten over alt, og hele familien lette høyt og lavt etter den, men den var og ble borte.

Kostas hadde tatt en beslutning.  Han ville gå i begravelsen under alle omstendigheter. For ham representerte bestefar den første fasen i livet hans, selve barndommen. Om han ikke gikk ville han komme til å angre resten av livet.

Det var en stille fin kveld sent på høsten. Kostas åpnet vinduet Det lød stemmer fra gaten der nede. Fra nabohuset hørte hørtes musikk.  Det var en som forsøkte å spille en gammel melodi på et ustemt piano. Folk gikk ut og in i kafeen to hus lenger bort. På fortauet over gaten ruslet et ungt par tett omslynget. Ustanselig stoppet de opp og omfavnet hverandre. De måtte elske hverandre høyt og inderlig. Da Kostas betraktet dem måtte han innse for seg selv at det å elske var for ham et ukjent ord. Selv om paret befant seg like under vinduet der nede på gaten, kunne de for Kostas like gjerne vært ved verdens ende.

Solen var i ferd med å gå ned. I det fjerne lød noen tordenskrall, samtidig som klokkene i kirken ringte til aftenmesse. Kostas forsøkte å følge med i en serie på TV, men han kunne ikke konsentrere seg. Mange tanker streifet rundt i hjernen hans. Han tenkte på familien, sitt tidlige liv, Athen, på alle jentene, spesielt på Kari. Hvordan kunne han ha fått seg til å bedra henne på den brutale måten, bare å stikke etter at han hadde lovet å gifte seg med henne. Jo mer tankene streifet rundt, jo mer urolig ble Kostas. Da tankene etter hvert samlet seg om begravelsen dagen etter gikk uroen mer og mer over i engstelse og redsel. Han avstod heldigvis fra å gripe til flasken.

Han visste ikke hvor lenge han hadde sittet der foran TV skjermen uten egentlig å ha sett noe. Da øyelokkene hans etter hvert føltes tunge ble han grepet av tretthet og sovnet.

Enda en urolig natt. Søvnen hans var fylt av mennesker, skikkelser og erindringer. I ørene hans hørtes ennå lyden fra kirkeklokkene og de fjerne tordenskrallene. Kostas forstod tilslutt ikke i hvilken verden han befant seg, i drømmens, i virkelighetens eller fantasiens. Han kunne heller ikke forstå hvilken tid han befant seg i. Kanskje i går, kanskje i dag, i morgen eller i overmorgen? Ansiktene, skikkelsene og erindringene jaget gjennom hjernen hans. Over det hele hørte han kirkeklokkene og tordenskrallene, stigende i intensitet mot et rasende satanisk crescendo.

Kostas hørte musikk fra et sted langt borte. Til å begynne med forestilte han seg at de fredfulle stemmene fra det polyfone kvinnekoret kom fra engler. Da han fikk se de hvitkledde kvinnene i koret på TV en som han hadde glemt å slå av, trodde Kostas at han var kommet til himmelen. Selv om han etter hvert kom tilbake til virkeligheten hadde han ikke kraft til å reise seg. Han ble sittende i lenestolen og høre på musikken. Han betraktet de hvitkledde kvinnene. Ettersom han konsentrerte blikket på TV – skjermen fikk han følelsen av å bli trukket mot dem. Han kom stadig nærmere, han stanset ikke engang da han kom frem til skjermen men fortsatte gjennom den. I det samme som han var kommet frem til kvinneskikkelsene syntes det som om de ble gjennomsiktige som tåke som løste seg opp og forsvant. Musikken hørtes fjernere. Kostas befant seg i et tåkelandskap. Tåken hadde det samme blendende lyset som han kjente fra drømmene. Musikken fra koret var forsvunnet, men lagt borte hørte han en annen musikk. Det hørtes ut som messesang i en ortodoks kirke. Tåken fortettet seg etter hvert til omrissene av trær, monumenter og gravstener. Kostas var på en kirkegård. I det fjerne kom et likfølge ut av tåken. Da det kom nærmere kjente Kostas igjen foreldrene sine, broren og søsteren og resten av familien. De tre prestene som gikk forrest i følget messet. Seks menn bar kisten. Kostas ble engstelig, han ville løpe bort og gjemme seg bak et stort tre, men benene hans ville ikke lystre så han ble stående som naglet fast på det samme stedet. Likfølget var knapt 20 skritt fra Kostas da de oppdaget ham. Han forstod at de hadde gjenkjent ham, men Kostas kunne ikke røre seg. Følget stanset opp for et øyeblikk. Alle betraktet Kostas et øyeblikk før de igjen satte seg i bevegelse mot det stedet han stod. Hele begynnelsen av følget med de tre prestene ble til tåke som fortsatte gjennom Kostas og forsvant. Kisten støtte imidlertid sammen med ham og traff ham i hodet. Kostas ble grepet av redsel, men i forsøket på å komme seg bort støtte han bare enda kraftigere sammen med kisten som falt i bakken og ble liggende mens resten av følget forsvant. Kisten lå der på bakken halvåpen. Kostas tok et skritt nærmere og enda et. Da han kom så langt at han kunne se inn i kisten følte Kostas som om han frøs til is. Ansiktet som stirret mot ham der inne fra kisten var ikke bestefarens, det var hans eget………

Kostas våknet drivende våt av svette. Det var så vidt han klarte å reise seg og gå bort til vinduet. Han skalv over hele kroppen da han trakk fra gardinene. Utenfor så han den samme blendende hvite tåken som han kjente. Han helte raskt i seg et stort glass med raki. Han hadde bestemt seg til å slutte, men det hadde ikke noen betydning lenger. Intet var lenger av betydning for Kostas. Han forstod at drømmene var et ”Deja vue”, en opplevelse av noe som skulle komme til å hende. Kostas hadde ingen ting å se frem til lenger. Fortiden hadde innhentet det han hadde igjen av fremtid. Han hadde forstått at han snart skulle møte den siste store redsel.

Kostas løp gjennom tåken. Bestefarens stemme sang i ørene hans: ”Til toppen Kostas, til toppen.” Han klarte så vidt å følge stien oppover. Ettersom han kom høyere ble tåken lettere og han kunne skjelne omrissene av en mann lit lenger fremme på stien. Kostas hadde ikke kjent igjen bestefaren med en gang fordi han denne gangen ikke hadde hatten på hodet, han holdt den foran seg i begge hender. Bestefaren smilte svakt mot ham idet han satte hatten på hodet til Kostas før han forsvant i tåken. Kostas løp og løp. Han nådde frem til stien og begynte oppstigningen mot toppen. Da han kom frem dit slo sollyset mot ham fra en knallblå himmel. Han stirret utover et uendelig hav av hvite tåketåkeskyer. Over det hele, langt ute fra verdensrommet hørte han bestefars stemme: ”Fly Kostas, fly!” Og Kostas fløy……over skyene, over det hele. Han engstet seg ikke lenger, han var ikke redd……Kostas var fri.

Politirapport fra Paros.

Liket av en mann ble i dag funnet av en gjeter nederst i dalen. Det var sannsynlig at han hadde falt ut fra den bratte klippeskrenten ovenfor. De merkelige var at mannen hadde på seg en rar gul hatt med vingeliknende grønne ører og hattebånd i samme farge. Mannen hadde tilsynelatende presset hatten krampeaktig ned over hodet med begge hender idet han falt.