Today, like any other Sunday, after they attend mass at the local church and have their noon meal at home, their mom tells them to rest for an hour and then in the afternoon they go down to the promenade. But this time, when they reach the water their dad leads them to a movie theater where the film Odyssey is playing in which Nicolas’s favorite actor, Kirk Douglas, plays the role of Odysseus. It’s only the second time in their lives they have entered a theater. The first time was in Crete when, after prodding from the schoolteacher, their parents took them to Chania to see The Greatest Story Ever Told, a film about the life of Jesus. Today they walk into the cool darkness of the theater to enjoy the heroics of Odysseus, which they have learned about in school, and how he managed to escape the horrible Cyclops and all other adventures he had before reaching his home island of Ithaca again and being reunited with his son, Telemachus, and his wife Penelope. The boys knew the whole storyline by heart, and they are entranced to see it all acted out on the huge glowing screen of the movie theater.
When the movie is over, they walk outside and struggle for a moment to adjusting to the sunlight again, but they are soon distracted by the ice cream cones their dad buys them, which they relish down to the last lick. There are a lot of people on the promenade, strolling from one side of the harbor to the other, and the boys and their parents slowly make their way to the White Tower where the boys play with other children their age while the parents rest on benches nearby and keep a close eye on them.
When evening arrives and the sun is almost on the western horizon, they climb the road to Sikies. Nicolas holds his father’s hand and Eteocles his mom’s. It’s a warm evening and Eteocles feels sweaty. He rubs his face on his mom’s arm, absorbing a little of the coolness of her skin, and she looks at him and says to her husband, “He’ll be a woman’s man when he grows up.” His father only smiles, walking proudly, happy to be with his wife and his children again, far away from the difficult days in Crete where he was tortured almost every night by the local police to pressure him to spy on the customers coming and going at his popular café, which he steadfastly refused to do.
And now it’s a pleasant day of April, and Eteocles and Nicolas are at school in Salonica. They have lived two months in this northern city now. It’s recess, and all the kids are playing in the schoolyard, some playing tag, others agiouto, a game in which two teams take turns throwing a ball at the opposing team’s players to try and eliminate the players one by one. It takes flexibility and fast reactions but both Nicolas and Eteocles are good players.
Today, under the half-sunny sky, the boys go to the west side of the yard, where there is a thicket of eucalyptus trees and a well that the teachers have forbidden them from going near, but Nicolas, who likes to defy anything the teachers say, has ganged up with a few other kids and leads them there to play Tarzan. They climb the trees and jump from branch to branch and even from tree to tree, and Eteocles, of course, follows his older brother and competes with the older boys in jumping between the slender eucalyptus branches.