March 22, 2013 by allsho
Gheorgos got out of the car, took his brochures and order forms, zipped his jacket, and crossed the road.
The last building for the day, “six apartments to go”. He rang at the lowest bell. No answer. “On second thoughts, five to go”, he thought. He rang at the second from the bottom. After a second, someone answered, he said what he had to say, the entrance door buzzed open, he got in.
A short flight of stairs, and a door was opening: a woman was coming out.
“Good evening, madam, I’m here to inform you about a great offer XXX is promoting right now…”, he started with his usual line, in his almost perfect Italian accent that would betray his origin only if the listener paid attention to his b’s and v’s.
But as his line was drawing towards the beginning of the next one, his brain captured some details of the listener’s face and expression and he stopped there.
“Gheorgos, is that you?”, asked the woman, clapping her hands amazed. “Oh my! Come in and tell me everything about yourself first, get a drink, and then you can inform me about whatever you want!”, she went on, showing him in.
Gheorgos had recognized her too. She had been a regular customer at his restaurant some years before; basically they used to work on the same road in town.
He sat down at the table, took off his jacket, and started explaining what happened to the restaurant, why he had to quit preparing moussakas and dolmades and to start selling gas contracts.
“Gheorgos, you won’t believe! I thought of you just a week ago… Remember we used to come on Fridays after closing our office, Pietro and I? Pietro, my short assistent? Chubby? Who likes Greek poetry? Right! And we used to take a glass of retsina, remember? Well, last week Wednesday I went to my usual beer and water provider and he had retsina there! Same brand as yours, I recognised the label even after four years. So, this one is on me!”, and she went to the fridge and took out a small bottle filled with a golden liquid.
Gheorgos tried to protest, “I have to drive, come on, it’s dark”, but he was actually awfully pleased to meet her, he didn’t even know her name, someone who had appreciated his unfortunate previous job.
He didn’t sell her a contract. He bought back a part of his past, stayed there in that apartment for a retsina with someone he didn’t really know much for almost an hour, sharing with madame some good memories.
He didn’t visit the other four apartments, and went home with the same bitter-sweet taste she was left with too, and the retsina was not the only reason. Memories of a sweet past in a bitter present.
A cold sunset painted in warm colours.