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Brief encounter on Crete October 11, 2009

Posted by Jenny in memoir, travel.
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Malia, Crete

Malia, Crete

Five days to go before I move to North Carolina.  After I get settled, I will go back to my regular pattern of alternating first person and historical/literary posts.  But for the moment I am writing about my trip across Europe when I was 18. This post is taken pretty much straight from my diary.  It describes a place that has since turned into a vacation jungle of hotels and night clubs.  It was a tiny, quiet town when I visited it.

Yesterday I climbed a small mountain [really just a hill].  I had thought about that mountain ever since I first arrived in Malia.  I had dreamed of gazing down on the village and the sea from the very top.  I always like to peer down on things from a balcony or ferris wheel or a hill.  I feel like a god, and I can watch patterns of living that are invisible to me when I walk among the crowds.

I planned to catch the 1:00 bus to Iraklion.  But while I was waiting I saw someone I had wanted to talk to ever since I first saw him.  I walked outside [the youth hostel] and hummed a song.  I knew he’d come after me.  He did.  I mentioned my bus and said, “But I wish I had time to climb that mountain.”  He said he had thought about that mountain, too.  We smiled.  Very soon I decided to forget the bus and climb the mountain.

I was a little afraid of him.  He was so good-looking.  And he had said directly, “I want to climb the mountain with you.”  I fiddled around in my room a little until I overcame my shyness, and finally we began to walk toward the village.

His name was Rob.  We went into two stores and bought 200 grams of salami and a huge bottle of Coke in the first, and in the second we bought a semi-circle of bread.  A couple of Greek women laughed at the large bottle  and asked if they could have some.  One of them said in English, “We make a joke.  But there is something I want to know.  Can you tell me what means M-E-L-F?”  We laughed.  “There is no such word!”  I felt better because of the ridiculous word.

We climbed and soon felt tired.  The sweet and pungent smell of the flowers and plants was very strong.  It reminded me of Wyoming, the scruffy plants and sagebrush smell.  Thorns grabbed at our clothes.  It was a hard, steep climb but we finally got to the top.  I put my jam and butter down on a rock [apparently I was climbing while holding a couple of jars] and looked at the sea.  At first I didn’t want to look at Rob, because my face was so sweaty, but finally I relaxed and we ate our lunch.

I explained to Rob that when I got back home I wanted to move to Arizona because I liked the light there.  [I don’t think I had ever actually been to Arizona, and I did not in fact move there….]  We talked about my ideas about light.  I came up with some thoughts that he was interested in.  After some time I felt close to him and I wanted to stay on top of the mountain for hours.

But the 3:00 bus was the latest I could afford to catch.  I had to leave.  We walked back to the hostel.  I knew it was the same hard scene [that I had experienced before a few times on my trip].  The leaving-at-the-beginning-of-a-good-thing-scene.

It couldn’t be real.

I looked at him.  His eyes were warm.  The bus came and I said goodbye in haste and shook his hand.  I knew I had left something behind.

800px-Crete_typical_landscape

Crete landscape

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Comments»

1. Scott - March 19, 2013

I like this short little story — I really felt the atmosphere of that hillside. 🙂

Jenny - March 19, 2013

Thank you—I have to give credit to my 18-year-old self for capturing that experience!


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