He entered the house and turned left towards what he recalled as the the part of the house that led to the courtyard. The tiles on the floor brought back memories of the people who had trod on these floors: his parents, brothers and sisters, his father's business partners, priests, military officers, Turkish pashas, friends, villagers and servants. Images of people flashed into his mind; in heaven, he did not see them or even think about them, but now that he was on Earth, he began to have what felt like earthly feelings, which he had not felt since his departure from Earth. It now occurred to him that he had been released from these feelings once he had left the Earth and they never troubled him. Was this prize God's way to prove to the soul that the afterlife was indeed the best one?He could feel the pressure of time running away from him. Again, that was another forgotten concept in heaven; there was time for everything, and there was no such thing as stress. Time was a fluid concept for him; even though he didn't know how much time he had left, he knew that any moment, he would be back in heaven. He continued into the stables and storage areas, but they did not seem to grab his attention so much. They were also lying in ruins, and there was little for him to see there, apart from the crumbling remains. He walked through the arch and came back out to the main entrance of the house, where he saw the magnificent valley of Alikianos in front of him. There was a large building standing across from the family home, and what seemed like a tidy flower garden. Among the flowers there was a monument of some sort. He was relieved to see that the inscription was written in Greek "... and the brave free fighters of our village who fought the Germans in the battle of Crete in '41..." Isihaki was now confused: Why had the Germans come so close to the south? How did they get here? Why did the Greeks fight them? Were they still fighting them now? And more importantly, what happened to the Turks? His first thought was that there was still a war going on. Just as he had put the thought in his mind, a group of young people passed by the memorial site, the first people he had seen walking by while he was there. He watched them file past - they all looked young, they appeared reasonably dressed, their clothes were not dusty, they looked well-fed, and they appeared carefree, laughing together, with no signs of pressure on them. More importantly, they all wore shoes, which were a luxury in his days. He could not ask them anything, but this sight imbued him with peace. And then he heard their teacher speaking in Greek: "Come along now παιδιά, don't dawdle!" The children were at school, and they spoke Greek. The village could not possibly be at war; this feeling lightened his soul.
A metallic wheeled object passed in front of the road. The noise frightened Isihaki at first, but it whizzed by so fast that he did not have time to take in the novelty. Time was running out. He decided to concentrate on what he wanted to remember, not on what he had obviously missed out on. He turned to look at the house again. Through the broken windows, he could see trees and houses behind the house. It seemed quieter there, so he walked around the outside of the house and found a well-maintained wide lane. A woman was walking along it, trailed by a young child. "Τίνος είναι, άραγε;" he wondered, but he knew that the answer to this question would remain a secret to him.
He took in some familiar sights of the old which were sitting in harmonious combination with the new. He recognised the old stone walls that bordered the new structures. How grand they were, with their sleek smooth finish and perfect lines! And the foliage never looked more lush. The area was full of trees. The houses were surrounded by rich dark green foliage. The village lay very close to the path of the mighty Keritis river, which Isihaki presumed was continuing to provide the village with water, a sure sign of prosperity.
He saw that God had been good to his future villagers, a feeling which filled his heart with peace of mind and exuberance. He consoled himself with the thought that his efforts towards freedom in the last minutes of his life had not gone to waste. The world of his village was indeed a better place than in the past. And with this on his mind, his felt his soul rising above the ground, as it had done on the day he had lost his life in battle, the atmosphere clouding over and a lightness in his heart removing all signs of any distress that he might have felt in those few minutes that he had been granted to spend back on Earth.
Bonus photo: the Isihaki house also had an indoor toilet.
All photos taken on 25 October, 2013. More photos and links can be found in this photo set .
©All Rights Reserved/Organically cooked. No part of this blog may be reproduced and/or copied by any means without prior consent from Maria Verivaki.