ANCHORAGE WAS NOT BLUE
was chilly; it was autumn, you see. The waves were rising
and our plucky boat seemed like a phantom. Boo-oo, boo-oo
... boo-oo-oo-oo it whistled. Then silence again. I was
hearing the rending of the waters. The wind shrieked,
chilling our skins.
must have been past midnight, but we could not stay asleep.
We had become ghosts, awaiting a sign.
children were afraid to sleep on their own in the cabin.
could not bear the waiting. They stretched out in a big
arm-chair, with myselfin the middle, my lap their pillow. I
held their little heads for some time as they slept deeply.
Their father covered them with raincoats.
wished to talk. Mr Manolis, the cook, came in suddenly and
gave us the news, 'Hey you! Come! We are entering our own
waters. The Greek sea!'
looked ateach otheras iffrozen. Most of us cast our eyes
down fearfully, from shyness or weakness. I did not move.
That was not for me. My skin prickled, and my eyes stared
expressionlessly at the big dark window of the saloon.
had got to their feet, going up to the poop-deck to catcha
glimpse, from afar, of the blackshadow of a little island in
the night. To send the first kisses ... the thought ...
stayed alone in the big armchair with my two children in
greeted us: grey, without rain. We asked would it rain? It
did us a favour. It was moved; it heard the song of our
souls and revelled with metallic noises. My ears buzzed.
They were dancing all around: the gunwales, decks, funnel,
aerials. I would not see such a celebration again.
was not possible to escape theeyes of the cook. He noticed
me with surprise, and called to the others good-bumouredly,
pointing to me, 'See the metamorphosis!' How could I forgive
him? I was embarrassed.
are you saying mate?' I said something like that to him,
stupidly angry with myself. I had forgotten how to converse.
'What do you expect? Haven't we come from the wild bush of
Australia?' Leon was teasing.
it was Peiraias.
rising up before us, its hills, and the stairways climbing
up to its houses, its churches, its streets.
our yearning, the warmth of our first kiss - all beelonged
to it. We scattered them open-handedly at this unbeelievable
meeting. We did not believe ...
those scalding inward gul ps were to blame, our eyes
suppressing the tightly-shut springs of tears. Besides,
there were strangers! The tears turned about, taking the
back way; tumbling inwards directly to the heart.
took me by the hand.
is holding you back? Come to the railing. The boat has
stopped and the gangway has come in.'
was laughing but I wanted to cry. I was afraid. With much
courage I looked down. Some people were waving
handkerrchiefs and, there among them, I made out - as if in
a dreammmy granny, my brother, my aunt, my own people.
God! How did we bear it?
by David Hutchison and Vasso Kalamaras