From the upcoming novel, Greece Is My Anthi (2023)

From Cryssarina’s First Visit
Part 1 – Athena Did Not Move
Cryssarina’s First Visit
Photo by Mika on Unsplash

With two rakish vaccine shots behind her, Cryssarina decided to take a trip, her first visit to blue-and-white Greece. She had recently learned from a Greek source, an unusual goddess-like woman, that her name may have had Greek roots, like a tree keen to find its kin amid uncaring humans and unrelenting concrete. Cryssarina? Greek? It sounded serious in her mind and her heart. She had no soul to speak of, since she regarded it as a synonym for mind and also disliked the term given its religious connotations. The only gods but especially goddesses she liked happened to be Greek as well, thanks again to this special Greek woman she fondly called, Anthi, short for antithesis of everything unkind.

The masked flight was awful to be blunt and concise. Most people took off their masks to eat and consume the plane’s culinary delights. Cryssarina felt sick. How could anyone eat anything, even with the mask off? she thought between her blue-and-white visions of yore. No food or bathroom for a few hours seemed more than sensible in midst of a pandemic. She was used to it given her intermittent fasting, although water would also be absent during this shorter-period flight compared to her daily sweet sixteen-hour fasting. She tried to sleep throughout the air disturbances both inside the plane among the other humans and outside among the chalky clouds floating effortlessly in the cerulean sky.

Greek customs were like an Athenian breeze upon showing them her fully vaccinated form. It became as important as a passport. Cryssarina took a taxi to her hotel, rested a bit to collect her excited thoughts, took a Greek shower, and strolled outside to get some fresh air and a taste of authentic Greek cuisine. A Greek shower? I can imagine some of you wondering. It only means a shower where instead of singing anything, one sings in Greek or thinks with every cleansing movement of a Greek god or goddess. Cryssarina was thinking of Goddess Athena. She was one of the reasons that she had travelled to Greece. She also hoped to find Patrick roaming around one of her statues and bring him back with her to Canada.

As she was breathing into her being everything Greek, she was also thinking about Anthi probably reading something worthwhile or writing something poignant and unusual. At one point, while drinking some Greek bottled water, she felt at home. It was a strange feeling to have out of the blue and the white. All three of them — M, Patrick and her — did not have any Greek roots, unless like trees, their roots had once been connected or very related by proximity when they were born not far from the legendary Mediterranean. Maybe Athena will know, hoping she will come down from her stand for a heartfelt chat.

The Moon and the stars seemed to be Greek too in that enchanting evening. Cryssarina even looked at them from her balcony before resting for the night. What about M? some of you may have thought. M was probably writing with his other two narrators. He was actually glad to see her leaving for Greece to meet Athena and find Patrick. A part of him regretted their silly fight. But wait! I can almost feel at least one of you wondering that if Cryssarina is in Greece and M and the two remaining narrators are in Canada, who is telling this story? Who is the narrator? I cannot reveal myself in this story. I may, however, in another one, Zeus permitting, of course.

The Sun’s early rays caressed Cryssarina like a lover who had never left but remained invisible except to her heart, via her mind, of course. She asked the taxi driver to take her to the nicest statue of Athena but changed her mind on the way, requesting to be driven to the one least conspicuous instead, figuring that Patrick would probably be there, where Athena could be more easily touched. Patrick could be practical from time to time when given the right space. The driver seemed perplexed but drove her there first, knowing that she will ask him to drive her, after but a few minutes with the rather ordinary statue, to the first one he had envisioned in his mind. How human of him! I thought. How could Cryssarina know what was on his mind?

She kissed Athena’s feet and asked for her help, but no apparent sign from her was there to be ascertained. Athena did not move. Cryssarina looked around the place and asked several passersby if Patrick had been seen, describing him as a cat dressed in a Santa suit. I am kidding, of course. No one there at that time had seen anyone that looked like him. She kissed Athena’s feet again and returned to the waiting taxi, the driver smiling to himself, as he was giving another ride to the same passenger. The nicest statue was not any better, even with Cryssarina’s many kisses and prayers. Please, Zeus! she implored at one restless point while looking towards the direction of Mount Olympus. Please, help me find Patrick! Only her heart moved but she did not give up. She came to Greece for at least two weeks, both days and nights. Perhaps she will converse with Goddess Athena on one blessed day and or find Patrick having a keto coffee with coconut milk not too far from her. Zeus only knows. Maybe Anthi could help.

Cryssarina’s First Visit has 13 parts and is the first chapter of the novel, Greece Is My Anthi.