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A Recipe for Daphne by Nektaria Anastasiadou

A Recipe for Daphne by Nektaria Anastasiadou

Author:Nektaria Anastasiadou [Anastasiadou, Nektaria]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press
Published: 2020-03-14T22:00:00+00:00


13

Sweet Nymph and Old Hag

After the others had gone, Fanis helped carry the tea and coffee things into the kitchen. An hour later, while he was enjoying his last tea on the patio and admiring the vinca vines, which were turning a glowing orange-green in the pre-sunset light, Aliki appeared in the doorway with her purse in hand.

“Let’s go have some fun,” she said.

“How?” asked Fanis.

“We can take a phaeton to the promontory, have lamb ribs for dinner, and get drunk.”

“I’m in,” said Fanis.

They locked up the house and walked arm in arm to one of the streets where phaetons queued for customers. The first in line was a red carriage with turquoise seats. Fanis haggled for his usual senior discount, then said to Aliki, “When ascending stairs or entering carriages, in the interests of propriety, men should always precede women.”

With that he climbed inside and offered both hands to Aliki. But even with his help, she couldn’t manage to take more than one foot off the ground. The driver tossed aside his whip and offered to help by giving a boost from behind. After some strategic planning and a coordinated effort, Aliki finally landed on the carriage seat with a jolt that startled the horses. Fanis straightened his sweater vest. The driver wiped his brow, threw away the cigarette that had been hanging from his mouth, hopped onto his bench, and snapped the reins.

It wasn’t exactly the ride with Daphne that Fanis had planned while listening to the great Sinatra after his visit to the barbershop, but it was pleasant enough. At the open-air restaurant, Aliki chose a table beside the pine trees that had once sheltered impromptu dances, and in the course of the evening they ate more grilled lamb ribs and drank more house wine than their doctors would have approved. Just after the waiter had cleared the table, Aliki looked over the blackness of the sea, toward the glowing lights on the Thracian shore, and said, “I’m so glad you stayed. Sometimes I get a little lonely.”

“I’m glad you invited me,” said Fanis, smiling as convincingly as he could. The truth, however, was that he couldn’t stop obsessing about how things had gone with Daphne. He had certainly scored points with the dance number, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that she preferred his rival. She had faced Kosmas squarely whenever he spoke, carelessly—and somewhat rudely—turning her back to others in the process. That wasn’t a good sign.

Aliki took out her pink pill box, opened the Sunday Evening compartment, and swallowed its contents with a gulp of water. “You don’t take anything?” she said.

Fanis recalled the embers of Dr. Aydemir’s prescriptions hovering above the sink, like fireflies. Thank God he had burned those nasty threats of living decomposition. He should never have accepted them in the first place. The box of blue pills dispensed by Pharmacist Sözbir, on the other hand, had been a pleasure from the moment Fanis’s fingers had touched the precious cardboard. He



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