Demetra (dmarnerou) wrote,

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Childhood recollections

As a child I had trouble opening up to other people, talking about my problems, my concerns and my frustrations. I guess I never wanted others to think of me as a crybaby, a weak and defenseless child. So, I developed this technique, which helped me to keep any trouble from banging my door. I wished to have no contact what so ever with my surroundings. That is, I spoke to only an ‘elite’ group of people and only when I wished to. There were times when I did not respond to people’s questions, including my parents as well. Through my childhood, I can name only three people who had an immense impact on me and whose company I thrived, for I did not have to put up any act in order to please them. They loved me for what I was.

The first person is my mother’s sister. My aunt Loulla was like a mother to me. She practically raised me. Due to the fact that she got married when I was about six years old and that I was to her the daughter she did not have at the time I was growing up, we bonded in an inconceivable way. She taught me how to sing and how to paint. My aunt had a beautiful voice and was a natural talent in painting. She used to tape me singing and she used to tape our conversations – where I may add she asked me the most bizarre and funny questions! I do not have a single memory of her getting mad at me or judging me for something that I did wrong. I do recall that she got mad at my mother once for picking on me.

It was when I went to junior school. My teachers called my parents to the school to point out to them that I presented signs of not adjusting to the school environment. I did not participate in the class even though I knew the answers, I did not talk to the other children and what’s 'worst': I could not write with my left hand like the other children! They said that I did all that in order to stand out from the rest of the class and to make the other children feel uncomfortable. From that point on my life became a living hell. My parents up to that moment did never have enough time for me. My father was just setting up his business and my mother was helping him out so I was practically raised by my aunt, as I mentioned above. As soon as they got called by the school and found out what was going on, they thought it was wiser for my mother to spend some time with me and try to fix all those signs of misbehavior. For starters, I was forced to learn how to write with my left hand. That was a terrible and painful experience. Secondly, she invited home all those children with their mothers and she forced me to play with them – even if they did end up wrecking my toys, which I loved and always took care of. That’s when my aunt came in. I never cried in front of anyone and she knew it. She knew I always cried at night under the covers or in the closet, quietly so that no one would listen to me. She asked my mother if she realized what this crusade of hers to make me congenial, was actually doing to me. My mother came to my room that night and when she found me crying in the closet she apologized and promised to back off and let me do things my way and on my time.

I never admitted this to anyone up to now but I never wanted my aunt to get married and leave me. The day I found out that she was getting married, it filled me with grief, for I thought that I would loose the one person that stood by me through all my childhood. I still envy my uncle for taking her away from me. I only wish that he realized he married a gem, a wonderful, caring and understanding person.

The second person is my father’s sister-in-law. Despite the fact that my aunt Androula lived in another city and I did not get to see her much often my mind is filled with memories of me and her. As a child, I often accompanied my father on his trips to Larnaka, in order to spend some time with my grandparents while he completed his business. I was awfully bored with them because they were no fun at all – especially my grandfather. My aunt used to come and pick me up and we had such a great time together. We went to the shops and she always bought me presents, despite of my father’s disapproval. In the afternoon we would go by the salt lake, near the airport and we would feed the ducks, or we would go the florist and buy a lot of flowers, which we later planted in her garden. I loved spending time with her, talking to her. I loved being around her and she loved having me around. Her daughter once confided in me that when the results of the University Entrance Exams were broadcasted on the radio she cried tears of joy when she heard my name amongst those who succeeded and that she kept the newspaper page with the results that had my name on, in her jewelry box. My aunt left us on December 18, 1999. She suffered of breast cancer, which eventually spread to all her body, thus destroying all her vital organs resulting to her death. A painful and excruciating death, which drained all her energy and vitality. A death she was not worthy of…

The third person is my cousin Elena. The description ‘cousin’ does not actually fit here. That girl is practically my sister. We grew up together and did everything together. We went to the same English tutoring school, we went to the same ballet class, we went to lyceum together, we went to a club for the first time together, we bailed each other out of trouble from time to time, we covered each other’s ass, we went on a lot of holiday trips together and so many other things. Despite the fact that we are two totally different characters, we bonded through the years in a way that cannot be altered or diminished by nothing and nobody. The night before her deperture to England where she would study, I did not realize that she would go away for such a long time. Only when it was time for her to leave did I realize that she would actually go away for more than a week. Up to that day the longest period of time before seeing her again was only a week. Now she would be away for a whole year. Who would I talk to now? Who would I visit in the weekend? Who would I go out with? Who would cover my ass now? We both cried in each other's arms that night and I felt then that the whole world collapsed. I always took her presence for granted and I never realized that eventually each one of us would follow a different course. We will not be able to do everything together anymore, but we will still have each other. I know that I can always confide in her and that there’s absolutely nothing that I would not tell her. I know that come what may, she will always be there for me as I will always be there for her.

What I am today, my character, my beliefs and my behavior are mostly owed to the above and the difference they made in my life. I could say that I love them but that would barely describe what I really feel for those people. May god bless you. Wherever you are, you are always in my heart.
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