LIVING IN ATHENS can be like sleeping with a complicated lover; at some point, you will wake at dawn and lie there, eyes open, not quite sure who the person sleeping beside you really is. There is no logic in this bedroom scene; there is no logic in this place I still call “home,” even though I come and go, making and breaking promises with every return.


The best things here are rarely left alone. The bad seem to hang around forever. I tried to explain this to a friend from one of those steady, heavy, functional, cold weather countries of the North. The empty field at the end of my street is now a park surrounded by pretentious and expensive cafés, I told him. The thumping music causes all the older residents to flee, the sidewalks swallowed by magically expanding walls. The olive groves and pine forests in the neighborhood are now five-story apartment blocks. When I was a kid, I say, we had a neighbor with goats; there was an old shepherd who left an angry white horse in our yard for the spring.

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