Parga – people and landscapes I

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     I wake up in the dark, looking for my cell phone on the night table to see what time it is. It’s past 8 AM. I get out of bed carefully, trying not to wake him up. Barefoot, I walk towards the window. It’s open, but with shutters closed. Quietly, I try to unfold them enough to see the table on the terrace and flowers beneath it. It seems they’re gone.

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Photo by Nenad Matić

   I put my flip-flops on and leave the apartment to check if they’ve hidden in the flowers. At the same time, the cleaning lady appears from behind the corner. She greets me. Quickly, I stop searching for bees. I sit down, saying hello. Hoping that she won’t notice stamps on my legs, I cross them and hide beneath the table.

  • Do you mind if I …? – she askes.
  • No, no…
  • In the morning I have to clean because of the flowers. – She points to the floor covered with petals and leaves.
  • Yes, of course. Still, these flowers are beautiful.
  • Your legs. Um, um… mosquitoes? – she remembers the word in English.
  • Yes, mosquitoes. – I smile. I’m not comfortable with the fact that she has noticed it.
  • I am Aferdita.
  • Aferdita – I repeat after her – like the goddess?
  • The goddess with the broom! – She laughs loudly.
  • You’re certainly not a witch – she is sweet – Where are you from?
  • From Albania.
  • I am from Serbia. – I say immediately, she notices.
  • Oh… And what is your name?
  • Sanja – I smile.

     I ask her why she has come to Parga. She has left Albania because of money (Well, money – she says). She has come here with her husband and mother. Her mother is taking care of her child while she works. She’s so young and honest and restless spirit. Her eyes are moving from one thing to another.

     I watch her, while she is cleaning. The broom is not for her. She wants to talk, to see, to live.

     For a moment, I am distracted by the cat walking by the fence. God, how big these Mediterranean cats are! Parga is full of these lazy, fat cats with blissful hair. They are watching you all the way until you get behind the corner. So steady and lazy that they are disturbing the nature of Parga. They are in the grass, between colorful flowers, and on lemon trees. You can’t escape from their eyes. They are calling for you.

    I am back to Aferdita, knowing that she probably hasn’t noticed that I haven’t been with her for a moment. She loves to live in Parga. Her boss is a good woman, but she minds when she talks with guests. But she likes to talk. She laughs at her need. I don’t interrupt her, not even when I hear him waking up, dressing, putting water for coffee to boil.

    He gets out and she stops talking. First, she looks at me, then again at Nenad. I introduce her to him, and then I leave to finish making coffee and prepare for the beach.

     I come back to them, and then she askes:

  • Are you married?
  • No. – We reply.
  • Do you have kids?
  • No.
  • Your kids would be beautiful. Having your hair and her eyes.

     Well, maybe she is a witch. I am laughing. Sweet witch, eager for life. But that broom keeps her on the ground.

  • Well, I am going now. Enjoy your holiday, and sorry for bothering.
  • Thanks! You did not. – We both wish her the best.

He is waiting for her to get away, and then he says in Serbian:

  • She’s too friendly.
  • I don’t know… She is cute.

     We are drinking coffee, in a peaceful surrounding, without bees and mosquitoes. The day may begin.

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Photo by Sanja Grujić

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