For Whom the Bell Tolls

The church bell rang this Thursday morning. Long, measured strokes echoed through the neighborhood’s narrow, paved streets. Howling dogs answered.

I closed the door behind me as I left on daily errands. My neighbor stood on the terrace before her house, facing the street.

Marianna and I always exchange greetings. She doesn’t speak English, and she knows my Greek is limited. That doesn’t stop her, though, from smiling and talking at length about the cats, her husband, or the olives she crushes into paste. Catching what I can, I smile back, nodding, and say, “Nai,” which means yes.

“Kaliméra, Marianna!”

She turned toward me, blowing her nose into a tissue. Her eyes, wet.

My smile dropped. “Ti kánis?” I asked, How are you?, nearing the frontier of my proficiency in the language.

She gestured toward the house across the way and spoke. Among the words, I heard “fíli.” Friend.

I nodded and said, “Nai,” while Marianna went on talking between sobs.

At a pause, I opened my arms. Her head fell on my shoulder. Blubbers and murmurs. Eyes closed, I took a long breath and held it.

She pulled back and blew her nose again. “Efcharistó,” she said, Thank you.

I walked away, hand on heart, where wounds yet weep.

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Littlelot & the Real Monster

It isn't just a room monster. A room monster is made of shadows that look really scary, but when you turn on the lights, it disappears. Room monsters don't usually have eyes and they hardly ever move. This is a real monster. It's got two eyes that glow in the dark, and I saw it move.

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Littlelot

How Sir Lancelot fought with a friendly dragonIt was a rainy day in May, so I had to play inside. Granddad and I were playing make-believe with my action figures on the floor of Granddad's study.... I liked to play make-believe with Granddad. He let me make believe whatever I wanted, and he talked for other people in the game, like the peasant who said he owed me a favor for helping him.

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The Periwinkle Tides

The tailed star was an inconstant visitor to the world. It was a star that grew brighter then dimmer, as it came and went, over a variable period of years. Behind it trailed a flame, violet in hue, the color of periwinkle. Its approach brought the tides higher and higher, year by year, until it shone even in the day-lit sky, and the seas lapped the land.

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