What do you want in our country, you sons of Turks?
Eventually Spiros was offered a part-time porter’s job at the docks. When not working, he fixed Eleni’s shack, began adding a room for himself. Evenings he dropped into Mr. Stavros’ pub where he drank, played cards, and joined in other men’s boasts about former glittering lives, until all subsided in drunken grunts.
Spiros, still conscious of time passing, his father’s eyes on him, went hungry in order to save money. What he saved was never enough; he’d be dead before he’d accumulated a few drachmas. On a cold winter’s morning he leaned up against his doorjamb, his eyes scanning the street: a line of ugly little houses. Shapeless women wandering it. Angrily he stubbed out his cigarette. He’d failed himself. Worse, he’d failed his father. Remnants of the once wealthy merchant family from Smyrna now lived in a miserable dump; they got no respect. Still the local people spat and muttered: What do you want in our country, you sons of Turks? Raising a fist he shouted, “Damn all you Gods and all the filthy scoundrels.” He walked, kicking at neighbours straw doormats and cursing as he passed the Church of the Apostles, then mumbled, “Sorry,” at Father Meneghini in its doorway. Feeling rejected, diminished, trying to forestall self-pity, he walked to the sea front, and kept walking right into the central city. Climbing the steps to the upper city, he ranged his eyes over its magnificent houses.