Thursday, September 28, 2006

What is remembered: Athens.

From my six months in Athens as a young adult, two people and incidents strike me as memorable now. One was a tiny crooked lady who appeared at the Piraeus underground station one day. She was the colour of dust all over - hair, skin, clothes - wrinkled and extremely small. She walked right to the centre of the station, chucked down the dust-coloured sack she had been carrying, threw back her head, and shouted in a voice as broken as it was loud: "Sika freska sika! Sika freska sika!" - a fig seller.

I had never seen fresh figs; I had to go and get a closer look. Her sack was full of figs, deep purple in colour, dusty, onion-shaped. I bought a small paper bagful of them, out of curiosity, although I didn't know how to eat them. I don't remember how much she asked for the figs she had dragged on her back from God knows where. I believe it was ridiculously little, even when measured against my vanishingly small Athenian wages. Somehow I managed to peel the fig - with my fingers? With the Swiss Army knife which got lost in Athens but which I might still have had in my pocket then? In any case, the taste was delicious, the whole fruit out of this world, alien, from another planet.


nmj said...

'colour of dust all over' that is a nice image, anna mr, i love fresh figs though they don't look very nice!

Anonymous said...

Mmmm, yummy. Fruit, like wine, tastes so much better in its country of origin.