So, remember, I am here in Volissos – a small remote village, on a Greek island, spending my time staring out at the sea, picking flowers, eating olives, reading books, dipping my fingers into honey, and making dolmades!!! And I’ve just admitted that I’m about to fall in love with a Greek Adam Sandler.
It’s the morning and I’m just doing the dishes, when I hear the sweetest laugh. A laugh so sweet I pause mid-scrub to smile. I poke my head around the window frame to see who it is, and then I see two men, around my age, unlocking the little building across from mine. I wipe my hands on my dishcloth, set it on the counter, and wander over to introduce myself.
Antonis and Basilis are both very smiley and friendly, and they tell me that they are building a cafe here. And then, almost right away, Basilis asks me, “So do you like the cats?” My eyes dart around from cat to cat – there are cats all over the place, laying in the street, sleeping on fallen stones, in windowsills, cats resting in plants, on roofs, there is even a cat right now attempting to break into my flat via my stable front door, basically I am in a cat village. Basilis notices my confusion, and points down at two cats laying nonchalantly on a bench – the cats lift their heads slightly and look up at me with disdain. “This is Mr. Curious and this is Paste, they are brother and sister cats. They were here when we arrived and they never left. And you know what? When they sleep together, they like to sleep with their arms wrapped around each other!”, he says with a big ridiculous smile. I look at him standing there with that dorky smile on his face, as he explains these two cats, and I find it kind of ridiculous, but it also makes my heart melt. Then he laughs, and I recognize it as the laugh from earlier. I smile back at him, and from then on Basilis is irrevocably adorable in my eyes.
Each morning after that, I look forward to hearing Basilis laugh; sometimes I am in the kitchen making breakfast, washing dishes or making coffee, sometimes I am upstairs reading or doing yoga – but whatever I am doing, whenever I hear his laugh coming from across the narrow street I stop, my heart melts, my eyebrows furrow, and a big smile spreads across my face. Basilis’ laugh is so good – it wraps around you, like a really great hug, and makes you feel warm in your heart. It’s not just any laugh.
At the beach a few days later, a guy I have been talking to asks me if I want to go for a drink later. “Yeah yeah sure, sounds great!”, I say, just excited to hang out with someone, because I don’t really know anyone in the village. But as soon as I walk away from him, I think to myself, “shit, what if it’s a date? Erin, you idiot! Of course it’s a date!” Long story short, I go on the date, and it’s clear that we have different intentions – he keeps trying to kiss me even though we just met and his breath smells like fish – so I get him drive me home. I come home feeling a bit sad, and wishing that I had had an opportunity to go on a date with Basilis instead of that horrible fish-man. So I pour myself a glass of red wine and go sit on the outside steps with the cats. As I sip my wine in the moonlight, I confide in the cats about the obnoxious date, and after another glass, confess my feelings for Basilis. The cats seem to agree in unison, meowing and jumping all over my lap and being sweet – I think maybe the cats felt the same about Basilis.
But I never acted on my feelings for Basilis – I guess I ran out of time – or maybe it was because I didn’t feel I needed to. I felt content with the way things were – me happily smiling behind the stone walls that were my home whenever I heard him laugh, watching him paint while I read Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and our little chats and shared laughs. Besides, unrequited love is perhaps the most romantic kind of love there is, isn’t it.
If I close my eyes, I can still feel the breeze of the island, I can smell the honeysuckle beside my bed, I can hear my footsteps echo as I walk through the village amongst the whitewashed stone buildings, and I can see Basilis smiling across the street as I walk up to him. I hope these memories never fade.