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The sweet smell of memories

I put the bread in the toaster, put the saucepan on the hob and whilst stirring I was instantly distracted… thinking of the day I had, the great people I met, friends I’m seeing this week after a long time, worrying about things, how fast time goes, life and then suddenly, the smell of the forgotten, almost burnt toast…

And just like that I was back, back in my great grandma Annou’s home. I must have been around 6 or 7 years old, I had just started school and I loved it. I loved my teacher, who had the same name as me, Mrs Eleni Iakovou, my uniform, my new friends, I loved learning, I loved everything about it. But what I loved most was my afternoons with my favourite cousins Georgia and Andreas and my dear dear grandma Stella who never hid the fact that I was her favourite grandchild.

Every day, before going to giagia Stella we’d pop to giagia Annou first who permanently lived on the first floor of her house. She was, in her nineties, too old for those old creaking stairs to be going up and down, so she stayed in this big room, full of her favourite things. She had a little old toaster right next to her and what I remember most of her was offering us toast every time we went to see her. And the toast, almost always slightly burnt, but not quite. That’s how I like my toast to the day.

My mind then wandered to my grandma Stella. I spent most of my time with her until she died when I was 9. I remember her making me chunky, delicious, greasy fries when I didn’t want to have the healthier lunch my parents prepared for me.

I remember the smell of roses. The smell of the rose water she often asked me to sprinkle her hair and face with on those hot, summer days, back when air conditioning was not common in every house. I remember how I loved to smell my hands afterwards, the delicious, sweet smell of roses, that I love so much I can’t use any other smell for my perfume, because it will always remind me my time with my grandma.

I only have an old, half-ruined from a flood picture of us together, still in my school uniform, happily, proudly kneeling next to her, smiling.

Giagia Stella

I smiled. And then I cried. I cried tears of nostalgia but also joy, gratefulness, love.

Blessed I was so dearly, unconditionally loved by my great grandma, my grandma, my cousins. Blessed I had an amazingly, crazy childhood full of smells, food, love, adventures, bruised knees, dirty clothes from playing outside, people, beautiful, pure, kind-hearted people.

I finished dinner and sat on my guitar for hours. Playing the same song, again and again.

Let these fools be loud, let alarms ring out, ’cause you cut through all the noise…Bring me some hope, by wandering into my mind, something to hold on to, morning, noon, day or night. You are the light that is blinding me, you’re the anchor that I tie to my brain, ’cause when it feels, like I’m lost at sea, you’re the song I sing again and again, all the time, all the time, I think of you all the time…

And that’s how I put all the worrying, stressful, painful thoughts aside for a night.

Whatever the future holds for me, I’ll always have the memories and I’ll always have my loved ones, the light blinding me, the anchor that I tie to my brain.

Namaste

Eleni

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