The plight of animals in Athens is obvious to anyone who bothers to look. There are some people, however, who have become animal guardians, feeding and sheltering those animals that have been bought and then abandoned. I have 2 such neighbors. One is the guardian of felines. The other one, my friend, is protectress of canines. And I get on well with both of them.
The Cat woman always pecks me on both cheeks when she sees me and lives on the same floor as I do. And she has always shown an interest in engaging, curious about what I do, and who I am. But I pretty much keep to myself. I always am friendly, however, whenever I see her, and chat briefly, before going about my routine. One day we almost engaged in a spat, however. But because we are both respectful of each other, I did nothing more than scratch—unintentionally, of course—her.
I had returned from my trip to the mountain that Sunday evening when the sun was still shining and Athens was refreshing herself before night settled in. And there she was, the Cat woman, sitting outside with a friend, doing the same.
She pulled me over and we began talking about our day. And then she admired how I dressed. I was fashionably correct, she said.
Then she turned to her friend and said, “Not like that other woman who is 80 years old (she was exaggerating here) and who walks down the street and whose ass hangs from her skirts. This is the nice. Short, but not too short. Nice show of leg. Compressed.”
I looked at the Cat woman, and then I looked at her friend, and then after a brief reflection, an impulse came over me, which I could not resist.
“Hm,” I said to both of them. “It seems to me that when a person reaches that age they have the right to wear whatever they want.”
I saw a smile crawl over the younger woman’s face.
But not the Cat woman.
Her eyes rolled in their sockets.
She had been…