Friday, April 16, 2010

life is what we make of it - Part 2

A wonderful journey by bus, train and boat, had finally brought the couple to Lipsi. They had not touched the big money at all, it was for the petrol pump, a dream that Alanah had been convinced to see. They had travelled through Switzerland and Italy, surviving on bread and cheese and an occasional bottle of wine. Alanah had never been so happy in her life. Nobody was as happy as she was then.

Ireland is known for its forty shades of green. Greece made Alanah understand the depths of blue. The Agean island of lipsi was the definition of serenity. Wide sandy beaches dotted with white and blue tavernas, small two storeyed cottages with flowers in basket windows. A church steeple that could be seen from any point in that island, winding roads that went through the town to its many beaches and coves. small shops selling colourful pottery and artefacts, dark skinned, smiling people and lots and lots of children everywhere. These were the first impressions Alanah formed about Lipsi. These, and the image of Christina were to be part of her preliminary memory of Lipsi.

A blonde girl with an open, beguiling smile and the prefect set of shiny white teeth, that was Christina. Huge with Pegaso's child, she was standing by the bay, awaiting his return. The yellow ankle length frock with tiny red blossoms accentuating her beauty and youth. Complacent and happy in the knowledge that Pegaso was returning to marry her. And then she saw Alanah, A sea nymph with red-gold hair. She also saw her dark and handsome Pegaso, helping this nymph off the ferry, she heard him call her by the endearing names that were once meant for Christina alone, or so she had thought. Dreams shatter with a single jolt, they dont have to be hit again and and again to break into infinite shards that lie strewn till they are picked up again by another innocent passer-by. Maybe thats why dreams are so akin to glass. Christina's dreams ended that day. She tried to kill herself. It turned out that she killed the child she was carrying, not herself. She lived on in that island making peace with her destiny, and friends with this sea nymph whose name was Alanah.

Stranger things have happened since then in that sleepy town. This friendship was difficult to resist. Just like its difficult to resist the fresh dew of the early mornings, or the mild sun of winter afternoons, such was the presence of Alanah. Everyday since her arrival at Lipsi, Alanah went to see Christina, not out of guilt, neither out of a sense of duty, she went because she liked to be with her, she baked fresh breads and made nourishing soups for her. She spoke about Ireland and her folks back home, she spoke about converting the old, run down chicken coop behind Christina's house into a pottery studio, she spoke about irish recipes and the bravery that was synonymous with her land, everyday she came in like a burst of sunshine and everyday she spoke about life to Christina. What she never mentioned was Pegaso, what she never mentioned was the sorrow of losing a baby. And so, gradually, independent of the man who had brought them face to face as rivals, they managed to forge a friendship that would shine through the dark nights of pain and despair which one was facing now, and the other would have to in the future.

Alanah started her life in Lipsi with Pegaso. They occupied the ground floor of Pegaso's parent's cottage. Alanah learned to speak Greek, she bought the petrol pump of their dreams, she learned to change wheels and pump up tyres. In a civil ceremony in Athens, Pegaso and Alanah got married. Nobody took the marriage seriously. Alanah's parents didnt even write back. Pegaso's parents went about their daily chores as if it was just another day, not their only son's wedding. But the young heart does not bother with niceties. And Alanah didnt either. She sew her own gown, she picked her own flowers, she preened in front of Pegaso and his smile made her come alive with joy. There were Pegaso's friends of course, tough, stocky, dark, jolly guys. They drank and laughed, they held hands and danced in a circle to a merry tune, toasting the newly weds. It was a night of stars and a beaming moon, of music and of vows, of faith and of new beginings...

to be continued