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Ch 1 "The Beginning" PART 2
The flight to Greece could have been worse, mostly it was bad because I was anxious to arrive and it was an eleven hour and twenty five minute duration from Toronto to Athens Greece. It was also bad because I was situated in the middle seat between an overweight middle aged woman who had the aisle seat and every time I had to use the washroom I was force to squeeze awkwardly against her chunky calves. The window seat was snagged by an overly annoying enthusiastic teenage boy a few years younger than myself. He eyed me up and down the whole flight, probably in hopes I would be anxious to join the mile high club; every time I slipped off past the overweight woman to use the bathroom he tried desperately to catch my eye in hopes I would invite him along. The only positives of the flight were that cheese lasagna was served for dinner with miniature potatoes which I thoroughly enjoyed. Another positive was that no-one on the flight knew me, I could be left alone and not have to socialize or answer pestering questions of whether I was alright or when I thought the search for Miles would conclude.
Behind my back people criticized my plan to go to Greece repeating over and over again “She’s running away from her problems.” I never denied them because I knew they were right and it was a pathetic way to baste in self pity. There was no better way to deal with the pain then try to escape it with a new place, a fresh start and to keep busy so my mind wouldn’t stray back to why I was there in the first place. My father fled to Greece after he and my mother got divorced and I hadn’t yet been there to visit him. He had come back a few times to see us and had seemed extraordinarily happy. Last time he came to visit was when Lucie had got very sick with pneumonia, he stayed a few months until she was well, and then he left immediately heading back to Greece.
The only reason people weren’t harsh with their disapproval of me running from my problems, from life in general was because my heartache wasn’t trivial like crying over an ex-boyfriend; I’m sure that getting dumped is difficult but I would be in less pain knowing that I was left and he would be happier somewhere other than with me.
But he didn’t leave me he was taken from me, for some reason I was been punished and the universe had turned on me. My darkest fear while Miles and I were together was his love faltering; if he left me I thought it would be the most horrifying pain, that I would surely crumble into nothing. Through break ups I have found people can plaster themselves back together and find in life some small moments of happiness, and they have the relief of knowing that somewhere the one love is alive and happy. Death is worse, wondering if the only person I have ever wished for could be suffering could be gone forever. Every time I heard the word death it tore through my entire body and ate at my flesh like maggots were under my skin. The worst possible circumstance, the truly most horrifying pain was having the purest, surest form of love with one of us taken against our will. . Our need for each other was absolutely equal - we rotated around each other like we were both the sun. I never realized if one of these suns vanished the other sun would be lost in the dark cascading sky unable to move or rotate. The only option would be to fade away slowly and willingly until the sky enveloped the dim light of the one sun into blackness.
The plane had landed and I was waiting for my luggage on the conveyer belt, I hoped I hadn’t missed it already then it would take so much longer to come around again. I tried to look for my suitcase it was black like all the rest but I had pinned a bright neon button that said “I am not a nugget” from PETA onto the case so I would notice it. My mind still raced while I tried to spot my bag, I kept thinking about the accident or at least what his brother Nathan said had happened, “We were so close” –his eyes were squinted as he was telling me as if he had been holding back tears – “It didn’t make any sense we had both strapped ourselves in so tightly to the harnesses even if he fell nothing would have happened, that rope should have been able to hold four times his size without even snapping one thread.” Most likely the fall would have killed him but his body and no evidence had been found. My heart used to ache every day, and it still aches but the ache is so consistent that it is now a feeling of utter emptiness. If he is found alive or dead I will be on the next flight back to Toronto and will have to face either situation with as much strength as possible.
“Excuse me miss.” I turned my head half expecting to be talking to Nathan after re-playing his coarse voice in my head, but this voice was much softer like whispering. I knew it wasn’t Nathan when I saw that the man was only my height about 5’6. He was wearing the black customer service uniform from the airline I had been traveling with. “Your bag?” he questioned. I looked back to the conveyer belt and sure enough there was only one suitcase left and it was mine, I could see the PETA badge on it as it passed me trying to make another loop around.
“Thanks so much sir!” I chased by him but he followed helping me clutch my bag and rescue it from the conveyer, “sorry I was in a daze.” I made eye-contact with the man as I thanked him and his eyes hit me like a train, they were sharp green. He looked nothing like Miles his skin was an olive tone and he his hair was thick, dark and wavy. I could tell his English was very poor he must know only a few phrases. I imagined his olive toned skin changing into a beautiful tan peach, the thick wavy hair changing to light chestnut brown, “Miles” my voice cracked strained from my insane delusions.
“No.” – he said frowning slightly, pointing to his name tag – “Yannis Rousis.”
I was still imaging that those green eyes were Miles letting this be my last daydream; my thoughts turned from sad to sinister as I imagined his beautiful face and body merely a vacant container, his energetic spirit and brilliant smile gone… His eyes without the sparkle they always had leaving them dull and dry. I thought I was going to go into spastic fits but I remembered to keep my composure so Yannis wouldn’t think I was a nervous terrorist lingering to explode the airport or something. “You okay miss? Taxi?” He asked.
“Yes I’m fine; my father should be here to pick me up.” I pulled the handle up from the suitcase and began rolling it behind me waving goodbye to Yannis.
“Robyn, I know its tough right now but I know you’re going to be okay.” my dad walked through the front door of his huge stone house with some fresh eggs he had just gathered from the chickens. I sighed letting my face fall into my hands.
“You just need to do something to take your mind off of things.” he put down the eggs on the counter and reached into the organic cotton messenger bag he was carrying over his shoulder.
“I got you something from the library I thought might interest you.” he drew a thick book with a brown leather bound cover out of the messenger bag, it had a leather strap with a gold buckle to keep it shut, it looked about a hundred years old. I could hardly hide my curiosity as I lifted my head from my hands and strained over to read the title Myths of The Protectors of the Universe: Birds.
“I figured since you’re going to be living in Greece for a while you might as well read a little bit about the Myths, their quite interesting actually.” he shook his curly chestnut hair and handed me the leather bound book.
“There were a bunch of others too, but your mother told me you’d stopped painting, it’s a shame you have a real talent. There’s some great artwork in here that I thought might inspire you.”
“Thanks a lot dad, it looks really interesting, but I don’t know if anything can get my heart back into painting unless some sort of miracle occurs and this nightmare is all a dream.”
That night I lay in my bed; it wasn’t the most comfortable bed in the world and I often had trouble falling into a deep sleep so I reached out my arm to turn on my bedside lamp. I opened the drawer of my dark oak nightstand and fumbled around until my hand rested upon the leather bound cover of the book my father had picked up for me. I opened to the first page and began to read:
Introduction to Birds in Mythology: Rising above the earth and soaring through the skies, birds have been symbols of power and freedom throughout the ages. In many myths and legends, birds link the human world to the divine or supernatural realms that lie beyond ordinary experience.
Birds, known to be messengers of deities are associated with the journey of the human soul after death. The Ravens that feed on the flesh of the dead (and other species that feed on Carrion) may be symbols of war, death, and misfortune. Other birds such as the Eagle and the Owl represent strength, love and wisdom.
The next bird I read about was the Robin, like my name. I read the passage out loud to myself.
“Denotes a rebirth of ideas or spirit, new beginning, new opportunity, new birth of self, patience such as when he waits for the worm to emerge from the ground for his food.”
It was quite ironic as I am the least patient person, but as I had been waiting months for any sign of Miles, my patience had been improving. I continued reading and found comfort that somehow if he was found dead… or maybe wasn’t found at all that somehow we would be reunited or perhaps connected through these birds; these messengers from the living and the dead. Slowly my eyes became heavy and I fell asleep with the book on my chest.
I had been in Greece for two months now and was beginning to miss home (surprisingly), but the book was so interesting I could barely put it down and I was starting to notice everywhere I went there were signs, and meanings. When I went to the market just the other day, I passed the stream that runs down from the great mountains that surround the village and saw a family of white storks feeding on fresh fish. I looked out my window and saw a Eleonora’s Falcon resting on the olive tree outside my window. It is very rare to see a Falcon so calm, so I took a blank canvas and propped it on the easel my dad had placed in my room in hopes of sparking my creativity. I quickly sketched the Falcon. It looked me straight in the eye and a shiver ran down my spine as my animalistic instincts’ kicked in: Danger. It let out a loud cry spread its large powerful wings and flew away. I racked my brain for the meaning of the falcon:
Falcon: A trained bird of prey; negatively it can represent preying on others to benefit oneself. Beware.
No wonder I had received such an instinctive warning.
I left the sketch and promised myself I would finish it for my father’s birthday in February, as it was November I still had time to complete it. I made my way downstairs to help my father with his work. He had the brilliant idea ever since he was young to come back and fix up the old houses in the village and create an oasis for anyone wanting to escape the city. The houses are owned by families who used to live in the village but immigrated to Canada and Australia looking for work. They still come back a few times a year but the other weeks in the year they’re rented out to people. My dad transformed them into a sort of getaway spa. Today I would be doing facials for the rich family staying in the house next door with the stream running through the backyard. My dad was definitely happy, maybe divorce is the right thing for some families. He was in a relationship with a beautiful dark haired Greek woman Athena Tryponopolos who lived in the town about a 25 minute drive, and running a fun and relaxing business. I grabbed a cereal bar from the cupboard and made my way over to the main spa area in the centre of the village called the “Europhic centre” where I would start my shift. It was a huge building, the largest and newest constructed building in the city yet built with the same stone. The front had two large double doors ten feet high and made of the finest oak wood. I swung it open and walked in to the wide hall, the floors white marble and the walls decorated with a golden Venetian plaster.
“There you are! The Vandermans are just finishing up with their full body massages, you should go prepare for their facials.” my Uncle George, ran the spa part of the business. He wasn’t very tall about 5’6 and had large dark brown eyes and dark hair. He shuffled me quickly into the facial room and I began preparing the ointments and face masks for the rich Vanderman family.