Tuesday, September 4: I return to Rethymno for my last evening in Crete. 😦 After having a Mythos beer at Cafe Galano, soaking up the atmosphere and watching the stylish Europeans stroll past, I use the internet upstairs. I return to Barbara Studios to take a shower and a little nap, and then head back into the streets again to wander and have some dinner.
I pass a cute little church with some Orthodox priests talking outside. I take a picture of the church but I feel taking a picture of the priests is an intrusion, so I don’t.
I am walking around when suddenly a group of people carrying a big banner and shouting things marches down the middle of the street. Their banner says something about Neo-Nazis; the word “STOP” is also on the banner, so I assume they are protesting AGAINST Neo-Nazis. But I could be wrong. I ask several people on the street, but no one can speak English well enough to give me an answer.
After that bit of excitement, I go for dinner to the Lemon Tree Garden. This old-town taverna has a lovely courtyard full of lemon trees that cast a green glow over everyone’s faces.
I try to take a picture of myself by propping my camera on an ashtray. An elderly gentleman sitting catty-corner to me laughs gently, amused by my sad attempts. Yet he doesn’t offer to take a picture. He seems friendly, but possibly he doesn’t speak English. He has white hair, a white goatee and mustache, and is dressed in all white. His wife is similarly white-haired and dressed in all white. They both look very elegant, but I hardly hear them speak a word to each other during the entire meal.
Beautiful music sets a romantic mood, so I order a glass of red wine (I’m so predictable, aren’t I?) and a Greek omelet.
Everyone around me seems quietly content. They are not boisterous, not laughing infectiously. I wonder if it would be better to be sitting across from someone special in quiet companionship than to be sitting alone. Sometimes when with another person, I feel more alone than when I’m by myself. Sometimes it’s just too difficult to share the yearnings of my heart with the person I love. Sometimes I want to talk about a me that doesn’t include him, and I’m afraid I will hurt him. When I’m alone, I don’t feel that quiet desperation I sometimes feel with someone I love, when communication is failing us. There is no pressure, no huge chasm staring me in the face.
I know so many people who are unhappy in their marriages. And other people who are deliriously happy. Or just quietly content. I know people who see-saw between happiness, boredom and unhappiness. We all do this, I think, in our relationships. Nothing is perfect, being alone or being with someone. It’s all ups and downs, highs and lows, or bland sameness. I think happiness is just momentary, fleeting, and I must enjoy it when it flits by, lighting up my life like a firefly. It is now, it is this moment.
And tomorrow, I must leave it behind and toss myself once again into the great unknown.