Fifteen varied-length shorts about life–some poignant, some dramatic, and some funny.
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I’ll never forget her face (complete story)
The night I stopped in Agios Psária, I dined alone under a eucalyptus tree. I ate fried calamari, followed by the freshest sea bass I’ve ever tasted, grilled to perfection, accompanied by chips and a tomato and basil salad. Afterwards, I ordered an espresso and a small glass of Metaxa, the local fiery brandy. As I waited for my coffee and brandy to arrive, my eyes caught sight of a couple, some two and a half metres away. I guessed the woman was in her late twenties, and wore a V-necked, sleeveless, black dress with the odd, random streak of dark green here and there. She was slim with shoulder-length, black hair, and dark-olive eyes, set in a tanned, stunningly beautiful face. The man looked older. He wore white, cotton trousers and a pink polo shirt. Neither spoke. The girl looked sad. When their food came, she pushed it around her plate with little interest. A large tear rolled down her cheek and dropped onto her fork, drenching the portion of moussaka that she was about to put in her mouth. She looked away as he said something. More tears welled up in her eyes.
‘I want to go,’ I heard her say loudly, as she placed her fork on the table and tried to stifle her sobs by putting her other hand across her mouth.
The man leant forward to speak.
‘No.’ She shook her head. ‘Please. Just get the bill.’
I watched as they rose from the table. Both their meals lay almost untouched. They left without a word to each other.
The rays of the early morning sun woke me as they peeped through the wooden shutters in my room. I decided to go for a swim. As I padded slowly across the warm sand, I noticed a distant speck, moving closer across the sparkling sea, and leaving a white wake of foam in its trail. It drew closer, and I could make out the outline of a speedboat. It seemed to have an uncanny urgency about it as it closed on the small wooden jetty, about one hundred metres from where I stood. The person who steered the boat stood upright, and held onto the wheel with one hand while waving frantically with the other. I looked to the jetty and saw a woman, partially hidden by the leaves of a large tree. She faced the oncoming boat and waved back, and I figured she was waiting for its arrival. Fifty metres from the end of the jetty the boat slowed, created a great plume of spray in the air, and slowly chugged through the water towards the end of the jetty. The woman who’d been waiting ran forward. She clutched a parcel wrapped in what I thought was an old tarpaulin. I strained my eyes. It was the girl I’d seen in the restaurant the previous evening. She wore a white T-shirt and a pair of shorts that showed off her tanned, long longs. I dropped to the ground and lay flat on the sand in the hope that I wouldn’t be noticed. There seemed to be an angry exchange of words between the girl and the man in the boat. Reluctantly, she handed over the package, and turned and ran back up the jetty, across the beach, and vanished into the village.
Three weeks later, back home, I was scanning through the paper over breakfast, one Saturday morning.
‘My God,’ I said.
‘What?’ asked Ana, my girlfriend, who had leant over my shoulder to see what had drawn my attention.
‘That’s her.’ I kept stabbing my finger at an image in the paper.
‘What’re you on about?’ Ana looked confused.
‘The girl, there. I saw her in Greece.’ I was shocked, and paid little attention to Ana, and peered in disbelief at the picture and its caption.
DRUG DEALER MURDERS HIS LOVER.