On Monday B went to Livadia for some shopping.
After half an hour, the phone rings and it is B saying: “I’ve lost my car keys.”
“Where are you?”, I ask.
“At Seva’s shop. I’ve done all the shopping, or most of it. I’ve picked up the mail, it’s in the car – but I can’t find my keys.”
“Pavlos – meaning: the bus – has just gone past”, I say. “But don’t worry, I’ll start walking towards Livadia and I’ll catch the next one as it goes that way in about an hour. I’ll be there in about an hour, don’t worry.”
“Hm”, says B.
“I’ll bring my keys for the car so we can get back. I’ll call you if anything changes.”
“I liked the key ring”, says B. Then, after a pause: “I haven’t got my mobile phone on me.”
“Where are you calling from?”
We hang up and I’m prepared to walk when I says: “Why don’t you take the van? You’ve got two cars, for God’s sake! What do you want to walk for?”
I is right. So I call B back at the shop and announce I’ll be coming with the van. Seva laughs as I’m on the phone and shouts for B. There is Giorgos’s voice in the back.
“What’s going on there?”, I ask, as B answers.
“All of Livadia is looking for my keys”, says B, slightly bemused. “We are looking in Seva’s potato box right now…” But still no sign.
As I drive into Livadia, the sun glistens on the bay, streets are empty and I roll down towards the square. Under the Benjamin Fig Tree there is a table with four people and the same amount of coffee cups. B comes out of Seva’s shop, waving.
“Geia sou, Zibilla (that’s me: Sibylle)!” shout Pavlos the bus driver and his brother Nikos at the same time.
“Did you find them?”, I ask. Everyone is shaking their heads, laughing.
“It’s a mystery”, B says. And Giorgos nods and crosses himself.
I park at the police station and have a look at B’s car near-by. The window is slightly ajar, so I can open the door and look on the floor. The house keys are there. No car keys.
B walks down the road to meet me, Nikos behind. As B turns and says: “We’ve searched there. They are not in the car. Here, Nikos was there”, Nikos behind her stumbles and bends down.
Suddenly he jumps up and shouts: “B, look! Look, here they are!”
He’s found the keys.
We all flock around him. Indeed, B’s keys.
“We’ve been here. We’ve looked at the road five times!”, B remonstrates.
“You must have had them in your clothes. I’ve been saying that all the time”, shouts Nikos. Giorgos comes and crosses himself again. Everyone’s got their own opinion.
“Thank you, Saint Anthony!”, says B.
“It’s Agios Fanouris here! Saint Anthony doesn’t work in Greece!”
“Bake a cake for Agios Fanouris”, we’re advised.
In Seva’s shop, everyone is grinning.
“Zibilla, hand me that cloth over there”, says Seva and points at a knotted rag near the door. “I threw that there.”
If little surprised, I still oblige and Seva continues: “I said to Giorgos before: Look at B! That shows that the xenoi are really different to us. B is all smiles, and laughing and says: it’s a mystery! If this was one of us, we’d be shouting and furious: Where’s the keys? Where are my keys? But you know what. Agios Fanouris.”
“You know what I did?”, asks Seva, shrewdly. I shake my head. “When B was looking here, and Nikos was sorting the potatoes from one box into the other and Giorgos was saying: a mystery, I remembered what my mother always said. If you lose something, you make a knot and throw it into the middle of the house.” She brandishes the rag in her hand. “I did it! And that brought back the keys! That and Agios Fanouris… Here, have some chocolate. It was the name-day of my Nikos yesterday and of Sevoula the day before!”
I chew my chocolate and marvel.