Leaving Athens (a romantic post)
Un post in inglese -chissà perché- su quanto è difficile lasciare Atene
Leaving Athens is hard. It’s like forgetting your high school love. You know you’ll never really leave her, or him. You leave Athens, and you sure know you’ll still have to meet again sometimes. You just don’t know exactly when. You actually hate it a bit, you think it hasn’t been good enough towards you. But you’ll still love her, in one way or another.
You haven’t been able to leave for days now. There was always a place you still wanted to see, a gesture you wanted to record, a sound you wanted to hear. You felt restless, impatient to leave her earlier, much earlier; all things being equal, you thought you would be better off going. But still she retained you, didn’t let you (make the decision to) go. Isn’t this perhaps the reason why you love her? Perhaps. But you have to leave now.
You leave its groove as much as its frustration, its filth. You leave the arcades and the shops, you leave its childish grins. And you leave to NOs still written on the walls after the last referendum. You leave the alluding red lights of Metaxourgío, and the pain you imagine behind the doors of otherwise charming buildings. You leave them all.
You leave its protesting people, standing for hours in front of a half-shut ministry. Run-down and dirty, just as it were the last shop of the passage where it actually is. These last you saw were kinoniko pantopolio [community general store, where goods can be sold at special prices for poor people] workers, expecting to know whether they would be paid this month. The government had started this program funded by European money in 2013. None of these workers know if the money would still be there now. People wait nonetheless, and smoke and drink iced coffee; they belong to Athens, so you secretly love them too. Nonetheless you’re bored, and so you walk further down in the arcade, where the above is just happening: you just see closed shops on sale lining up: poleitai, poleitai, poleitai. After a few other insignificant shops, you can only think that you still like Athens, but you’re bored of the arcade, so you go back to its entrance. The same people are still waiting for the their responses. Then you think back of other people you saw before them, doing the very same thing: lately, in the centre of Athens one of the many demonstrations passed by, other people calmly saying that no, their pensions should not to be trimmed down depending on the properties one has. This happened, funnily enough, as your u were talking italogreek politics in a bar in Kolonaki – people say, it’s the one preferred by Varoufakis. Yeah, you have to admit that you like this sound too, as well as perceiving this unrest. You might think it’s not alright – so many things are not alright – but you like it. It reminds you we’re human, and you thank her for that. So you like Athens a lot, don’t you? But you’re already going.
You leave the monuments. They will probably be fine without you. You leave the light at the beginning of the fall. You leave the stories that you heard, now a mix of disillusion and, most of all, of tiredness. You leave the thunderstorms with their gusts behind. You leave the romantic ideas Athens dropped into you, you let them rest as you put distance between you, and her, Athens. She knows about your other lovers, you’ve had quite a bunch. Eventually she changed, you changed, people aroung got old. Yet you’re still here, and you cannot go. You can never go.
And you leave Athens’ otherness, its being “the city” in a country that thinks she depends solely on her, and thinks that joys and pain come from her. You leave Athens’ never ending commerce, always troubled – ware crossing borders and values. And the people crossing borders, they cannot but end up in Athens as well, they themselves trying to leave. Too big, too many for her, she, Athens seems she cannot take it. Nonetheless she does, she always did and will. And you like this lack of distance that she always has. It’s like the lack of distance between some street’s name.
Events have happened, a street has changed name. Here, a 15-year-old boy died during a demonstration, and the street where this happened now also carries his name.
You don’t know if these stories can belong to you, but you can’t help feeling affection towards its walls, where people wrote my love, you’re beautiful as a burning bank.
next to the ministry of finance.
Now you feel you’re leaving the bars and the faces too. With them, you’re leaving the conversations you had therein, small-to-big talk about pretty much everything. The bars. You ended up hating them sometimes, so much time you spent in them. But you have to acknowledge that they are they only place where you could gauge the distance between yourself and the world. So you don’t really want to be leaving the only safe haven where you could burn your candles out, do you? With the bars and the voices you also leave the mess, the nonsensical up and downs of cars, its pollution; and yet she’s there, Athens and its I-don’t-want-to-make-sense-to-you, I-don’t-want-to-be-hugged, don’t-hug-me-please. You still find her just beautiful, as a city can be. One where things have happened and where you have happened.
So, now you’re eventually leaving her. All in all, you assume you’re going to a better place. You apologise to her. Now you feel you’ve left, together with her, people. Time will draw lines on their faces, it will manifest itself upon them now faster and faster. You will recognise them, you hope; at the same time, you fear you won’t. But you’re leaving her now anyway. How do you feel?
You know you’ll be back sometimes, don’t you?
Devi fare per commentare, è semplice e veloce.