I’ll be posting a short story on this page from time to time. My offering today is a short story of our time on the Greek island of Mykonos.
MORNING ON MYKONOS
I awoke early, dust motes dancing in a beam of light through a crack in the curtain. I could hear the coo of doves foraging for scraps on the ground outside. Another sound, a scratching at the door and a miaow heralded the arrival of Gata, the white kitten that had adopted us.
Guy was still asleep as I got out of bed, wrapped a sarong around my sunburned body and opened the door. An excited Gata greeted me as I walked onto the balcony, rubbing against my legs, demanding his breakfast. I stooped to pick him up, holding his warm, furry body against my chest as I enjoyed the view, one I could never forget.
Our stone cottage was perched on the edge of a steep hillside looking over the Aegean Sea, which stretched to the horizon and merged with a cloudless azure sky. Whitewashed cottages similar to our own dotted the stony landscape, softened by grapevines and the lush purple of bougainvillea. Goats moved amongst the rocks, nibbling the harsh grasses. At the bottom of the hillside was the port of Platys Gialis, where the rich anchored their boats and came ashore to play. A helicopter was lifting off from one such luxury yacht to carry passengers ashore for breakfast at a beachside cafe.
Gata wriggled to attract my attention. Scenery was all very well but he was more interested in a bowl of fresh milk. Putting him down, I went inside to fill an earthenware dish with milk, which I placed on the floor. Within seconds, he was hunched over the bowl, pink tongue lapping up the creamy goodness.
Now that the cat was content, I turned to our own breakfast. We had developed a taste for real Greek coffee and for authenticity I’d purchased a briki, the special pot used to make coffee on the hotplate. I rinsed out the pot with warm water and added several scoops of ground coffee before adding more water. It came to the boil rapidly and the heavenly scent filled our tiny room. I walked back onto the balcony to pick some pungent basil from the large pot beside the steps. As I returned to our room, I heard Guy stirring and a moan as he was given an enthusiastic good morning from Gata, now full of milk and ready for fun.
‘Get off my face!’ he protested.
I rinsed the basil leaves in the sink and shook them dry before getting the rest of the breakfast ingredients from the fridge. Yesterday we had purchased some goat cheese feta and half a dozen fresh eggs from a farmhouse and then walked to the village to purchase the most amazing tomatoes I had ever seen, large red globes of ripe lusciousness, ready to explode in the mouth.
‘Mmm, that coffee smells amazing!’ Guy dropped a kiss on my shoulder as he made his way to the bathroom. ‘What’s for breakfast?’
‘Omelettes,’ I replied. ‘Coffee’s ready. I’ll pour it when you get back.’
I whisked the eggs in a bowl until they were full of airy bubbles, then added a little water, a trick I’d learned when I was a waitress in a Greek café in Sydney. Putting the bowl to one side, I cut up the tomatoes and tore the basil leaves to make a salad.
Guy returned from the bathroom, rubbing his face dry with a towel. He reached for a cup from the rack above the sink and poured himself a cup of strong black coffee.
‘Go outside and sit down,’ I said. ‘The omelette will be a few minutes.’
He took the hint and coffee in hand, found himself a seat on the balcony.
I cut a piece of salty butter into the frying pan. As it sputtered and melted, I poured in the egg mixture and ground some black pepper over it before I started dragging the mix in from the sides with a spatula. Tipping the pan from side to side, I slid raw egg under the edges of the mix until it was almost cooked through. Crumbled feta cheese was scattered on top and then I flipped the omelette in half. Turning down the heat on the stove, I poured myself a cup of coffee and took it out to the balcony, together with the salad.
‘Omelette on the way,’ I said. ‘Do you want more coffee?’
Guy didn’t answer, lost in a trance as he stared out at the never-ending blue of the ocean. Gata was curled up on his lap, licking the last trace of milk off it’s whiskers.
I took Guy’s cup and refreshed it whilst serving up the omelette –two thirds for him, one third for me – and walked back to the table. ‘Breakfast.’ I slid the plate under his nose and sat down beside him with my own plate.
Guy leaned forward, breathing in the amazing aroma. ‘Mmm, that smells so good. I can never get enough of this farm produce. It tastes so fresh.’
Gata jumped off Guy’s lap the instant I sat down, gently nipping my ankle to let me know he was ready for omelette. After a few breakfasts with us, he knew who was more likely to share with him.
I cut a tiny piece of omelette and blew on it to cool it. Holding it with my fingertips, I offered him the titbit, feeling his raspy tongue as he took the morsel and sat in a corner to enjoy his breakfast.
Having settled the cat and the husband, I could now address my own breakfast, eyes closed as the rich eggy goodness, the sharp feta cheese and the pungent pepper filled my mouth with flavour. I helped myself to salad and sighed contentedly.
‘How good is this!’ I exclaimed.
‘Great work on the omelette,’ Guy said, ‘and great work on finding this rental. Just look at that view. I don’t think we should leave Mykonos. I want to stay here forever.’
Copyright Alene Ivey 2021