In real life, 10 years is a long time. On film, 10 years can drift by like the dawn of autumn breeze. It can be told in chapters, montage, even a non-linear narrative. Time is perhaps, then, immeasurable to us. Whether in the lives we lead or the movies we make or watch. Our comprehension of such an abstract, unstoppable force can, of course, be channeled through something as concrete (figuratively) as a calendar, or as consuming as our memories.
That said, 10 years ago to this very day I was given a tin box. A kind of gift, one that would change my life from that moment on. And still is today. A treasured gift, I’d have to share. That tin box would represent a shift in my own life’s momentum. And although it kind of signified beginning an adult life again, I wouldn’t necessarily have to put away children’s games. I’d dare to love, big time, a sort of adoration that means I’d lie in front of a train for her. I’d submerge us both into concrete so our love could last eternally.
Our first date, interpret that as you will, came during our early period of confinement. Distance and time produced an almighty gulf, but while we had the four walls of our cells, and the ability to communicate daily, hope really could set us free. Our alliance was so strong we could build a huge library from scratch, and all the while cover the cracks with something as relatable as, say, a Raquel Welch poster. And we’d always strive to be together, whether 40 years zoom on by, because we’d always have Zihuatanejo and that tree that was like something from a Robert Frost poem.
Our story had an essence of fate slumming it with us. That it was meant to be, as sure as George Washington being on the one dollar bill or who the third musketeer is. But my what a journey on the way to that happy ending. I remember the train station. And how we sat on trains, or hung off them. So destined we are, it often feels like we have known each other since we were kids, and have kind of grown up together. It was written.
I bet she internally screamed at the prospect of someone like me picking her up when we first encountered each other. I never wanted to hurt her, or have her fear me. Somehow we managed to overcome our varying differences in lifestyle and location. I mean, we’d venture across the waters and the land to be with each other. And without being heavily sedated, captured, and paraded in front of an audience. But I would utilize my own method of protection should she, or even I, come under fire. If I have to climb great heights, I would.
But to be together with this woman, have I accept me into her world is a wondrous thing. And vice versa. To be accepted by her family – one which is more eccentric and welcoming than I am accustomed to – fills me with joy. Learning about the derivation of words, that there are two kinds of people in the world (Greeks and those that want to be Greeks), and that an unwanted blemish is nothing to worry about if you have Windex spray. I fell in with the right crowd. And in turn my wife would become a Greek breeding machine. Not my words.
And once those kids arrived, as wonderful and affirming as that might be, we do what have to in order to keep them safe in this strange setting. I foresee them living with us in our large house but unable to leave the compound surround of the habitat. We don’t want them to be aware of what is out there until they are old enough – for example, when they lose a canine tooth. They can make up their own games, perform dance numbers for us, and in turn we shall teach then the dangers of the outside world. Like those savage killers, cats. Adolescence and self-discovery ought to be taken seriously and handled appropriately.
But that’s probably for another 10 years. A decade is a long time, whether it’s in a movie or this very real live we are part of. The last 10 years for me have been the greatest of my whole life. And that is largely down to one single person. And all that she brought into my little skinny English life. I dared love her with all the vibrancy and dangers such affections bring. I came out of that deep, dark tunnel, fell to my knees, and embraced my new-found chapter. I pounded my chest with both fists I was so enraptured. And that began 10 years ago to this very day. I’m still loving, and still learning – like did you know that the word phone is a salt shaker? Erharisto my Greek, I love you.