Loula paced the landing, clacking her sandals with every step. She fastened the silk scarf tighter underneath her chin. The morning wind came swirling up from the harbor to her door blowing about Loula’s perfectly done hair.
“Hurry Tsoula!” Loula hated the idea of making Panos wait. She fixed the summer shawl around her fleshy shoulders and checked herself in the reflection of the window.
Tsoula finished throwing her thick black hair up and scurried to Loula. Her thin white blouse and navy slacks hung loose on her thin frame.
The metal door clanged against the house. Their mother yelled from the kitchen at the sound of the slam. Tsoula flew down the stairs to the street as Loula carefully followed behind her. The summer heat began to rise as the sun climbed above the mountains before them.
Loula’s floral summer dress billowed in the air as they silently rounded the corner past the old church. The morning bells were just beginning to ring.
“Can we stop at the bakery first?” Despite Tsoula’s tiny figure, she always had an insatiable hunger.
Loula clicked her tongue in disapproval. “It’s rude to keep him waiting.”
“Okay, so I’ll go get a pie for myself and you two can starve together,” Tsoula teased.
Loula looked away from her sister.
She never had to tell Tsoula how she felt about Panos. When they were just children playing together in the olive tree orchard behind their house Tsoula knew that Loula and Panos loved each other. Tsoula remembered how easy it was before and thought about how strange Loula acted now when they went out with Panos.
Plathea was still quiet. A morning hush controlled the streets. A woman was sweeping the entrance to her jewelry shop. Two tired fishermen smoked on the bench looking out to the water discussing trade and business. The large ferry boat that connected the island to the mainland waited with the impatient sound of the engine ready to set sail.
The bakery’s wafting scent of sweet bread and fresh cooking grew as they moved toward the open door.
Loula refused to enter as Tsoula ran in to get three pies and some drinks. She knew the heat from the ovens would make her start to sweat. She took another opportunity to check her appearance in the window. Loula could hear her sister chatting inside.
Tsoula flew out thanking the baker and tucking the bag underneath her arm. Loula slowly removed her scarf and forced it in to her purse.
“I don’t know why you bother with your hair. Two minutes out on the boat will ruin it anyway.” Tsoula twirled a finger around a piece of Loula’s perfect curl.
Loula pulled away and adjusted the lock of hair. “Leave it!”
She could see Panos waiting in the water. The small wooden row boat bobbed gently with the waves against the port. Loula smiled and pulled back her shoulders. Morning trips on Panos’ boat
Tsoula waved and sped up to the edge. She tossed the bag to Panos in the boat and climbed off the pier.
Loula approached the boat and assessed the descent. Panos balanced himself and held out a hand to help her. Loula lowered into the boat fixated on the his rough warm hand that enveloped hers.
Releasing Loula, Panos unraveled the rope and pushed off the dock. He pushed his linen sleeves above his elbows and began rowing against the current. A light sheen of sweat swept his brow after only a few minutes at sea. The late June sun radiated heat. The glittering ripples of water danced passed the oars. Once the boat traveled far enough from the shore, they rode the gentle water.
“Shall we?” Tsoula removed the warm baked pies from the parcel. “I have spanokopita, turopita, and kotopulapita.”
Panos grabbed one and immediately began to eat. Loula shook her head at the remaining pies.
“Oh! Loula mou! You have to eat or you can’t have any of this.” Tsoula revealed a wine bottle from the bag in true showmanship fashion.
“Tsoulaki! You’re a genius.” Loula frowned at Panos for praising her sister.
Tsoula saw Loula’s reaction, “I can’t take all the credit. It was Loula’s idea.”
Panos smiled and rested a warm gaze on Loula’s breathtaking face. Loula smiled back and pulled out a square yellow pack of cigarettes from under the scarf in her purse. She removed one for herself and offered one to Panos. He removed a book of matches from his front pocket. Careful not to rock the boat, Panos leaned in to light Loula’s cigarette. Loula was careful not to blow out the match with her rapid breath.
“That doesn’t look right for a girl, Lou. You look like papa when you smoke.” Tsoula swigged the bottle and set it on the floor of the boat. Tsoula openly disapproved of Loula’s new hobby. She reached to grab the cigarette from Loula’s lips, but the boat dipped toward the water at the movement. Panos moved to steady the boat and grabbed the wine before it tipped over.
“Tsoula! Are you crazy? I could have fallen in.” Loula stared at her sister angrily. Panos knew better than to get in between their fights. He took a swig from the wine to ease the tension.
“Oh no! And get your hair wet?” Tsoula giggled. Panos couldn’t help but laugh. He knew Loula could take herself too seriously at time.
Loula grew angrier watching them. She pursed her lips and clenched a fist against her thigh. Tsoula continued to mock her. Panos laughed deeper and deeper. Loula wanted to leave. She felt the heat rise through her as she felt completely ridiculed.
Loula couldn’t take their laughter anymore and stood up to yell, to be heard over their roaring taunts. Before she realized what she had done, Loula was going head first into the shimmering sea. Tsoula shrieked and as Panos and she splashed into the water. They tumbled under and around the capsized boat until three heads bobbed up to the surface gasping for air.
Loula’s anger washed away and she couldn’t help losing herself in the moment. She laughed with Tsoula and Panos as their half eaten pies and wine bottle danced around them in the water. Tsoula threw back her arms and floated in the water soaking in the moment.
The once pristine curls were drenched black waves spiraled around Loula’s face. Panos couldn’t stop staring at Loula glowing between the sun and the sea. She was completely free and could not have been more beautiful.
Celebrate banned books! Go to letters of note and read this awesome entry!
In about 10 years I will regret this. Maybe less…
I don’t doubt that marketing ploys and manipulation tactics will slowly break my political opposition to e-readers and netbooks.
I consider this my personal reminder. When the day comes and consumer temptation has almost broken my rational resistance, I can come here and find my sanity.
I am nook-less. The only kindle I possess is in the backwoods of Pennsylvania on a chilly fall evening. I have an ipod but, alas no ipad. My smart phone (which outsmarts me on a daily basis, a continuously humbling effect) automatically set me up with virtual copies of the necessities, Alice In Wonderland, Treasure Island, and The Three Musketeers. (Who decided these were the necessities?)
There is something…initimate… about holding a book in your hands and feeling the pages running through your fingers. Smelling the fresh print or dusty decomposition while you soak in every line creates an ambiance of reading. Flipping pages and weighing the horror as you get closer and closer to the middle, now the end, now the last 10, 5 pages in your hands. The act of cracking and beating each spine to hold your place or to be sure that secret lines aren’t buried past the text area. The front page curl that means that this book has truly be read, loved, and studied. Everytime you pick it up you see the cover art, the author’s name, and you flip through the accomplished part of your tale. No back lighting or touch tones to get in the way of the most important portal the world has to offer. No ready made highlights or note clips. You bend the corner of the pages, you press the pen frantically into the margin, you physically flip back a few chapters to check, re-read, rediscover.
Reading is natural. The leaves that have been printed and copied for your use. The human work applied to the novel is there in your hands. No pdfs, no digital downloads. Just you and the ideas navigating through this clip of life or product of imagination.
The taste of the page from the pointer finger you’ve licked a hundred times begging to solve, resolve, explore, exploit, find and be found.
The shelves of novels discovered and yet to be uncovered surrounding you like an embrace from walls and rooms. The harmony of picking up one story in your favorite chair but another from your bag on the daily commute. The zen of knowing that this simple act is organic. As organic as you can get in our contemporary time. No ads, gimmicks, flashing lights, batteries to be charged, not a single button waiting to be pressed.
Just you and the leaves bound together in search of a story. An escape and a mirror that is both product and creator.
I want to be offline and out of the office when I open the cover and hear the spine begin to buckle under my force. It makes me feel alive. It reminds me that I am a part of this universe, making waves and changes.
Reuse, Recycle, Borrow and Steal. Save pages and leaves. Take the time to search instead of letting something do it for you. FUCK NOOKS. READ BOOKS.
“Re-examine all you have been told…
Dismiss what insults your Soul.” Walt Whitman
I just heard about this absolutely amazing and impossibly cool book warehouse in Baltimore, Maryland. It’s free.
You give books and you take whatever books you want. It is a true book exchange. A massive literary community. Books can be mailed in, dropped off for tax deductible donations, and you really can run away with any books you want.
Open on all Saturdays and Sundays.
I smell a weekend binging trip ahead….
FYI: The Book Thing has never heard of me or my blog. They didn’t ask me to write anything. This is pure paying it forward. I offer whatever knowledge I find to you!
Follow the link below to see more FAQ and information: