Home Truths (Flash Mob 2013)

Home Truths

“Spoon sweets are the best. Have you ever had spoon sweets?” She looks at her customer with such intensity from behind the counter that I am surprised to hear the woman find the strength to answer.

“Pardon, spoon sweets?” she replies in her phrasebook Greek.

The shop owner reaches for a jar from a bulging shelf – the cherries preserved in syrup clearly visible.

“Here, this is it; this is a cherry spoon sweet. Here, present for you,” she says, sliding the jar across the counter.

The woman receives it with both hands and a big smile.

I try to decipher the patisserie owner’s expression. She is not smiling, her face pulled into what I read as contempt. I could be wrong, of course. So many years away from this country, I can no longer claim insider knowledge. Still, witnessing the scene the day after my return home, I shudder from shame and envy, in equal measure. The directness of the shop owner embarrasses me; she shows the worst of herself to a stranger: the impetuousness, the loud, gestural arrogance that goes with this kind of self-assurance. I blush on her behalf. At the same time, I envy her unselfconscious manner of being. She’ll never know how she comes across, while I am forever stepping back for fear of appearing wrong, or appearing confident about the wrong things. Something inside me snaps,

“I hate spoon sweets!” I say, “hate them!” Both women turn, their eyes wide.

“Mind your business, Kyria,” the proprietor says. “I’ll be with you in a minute.”

I know she will. But I have made up my mind, and turning swiftly, I walk out. In my head, the lines of a haiku appear:
……………………………spoon sweets / tangy taste of a song / long forgotten

2 thoughts on “Home Truths (Flash Mob 2013)”

Comments are closed.