Southampton was the boat’s name and that’s where it had come from.
The five men on board were a Swiss kidney doctor, a French stockbroker (he was the captain of the boat), a man from Ukraine who owned trucks, and a couple from Belgium, one ran a bar near Place Saint-Géry in Brussels, the other designed clothes.
All of them were wearing flip-flops after a day of sailing.
Leonidas was the name of the restaurant in the harbour where they were going to have dinner but that was probably not the name of the man in that worn, black outfit who said something to them in Greek as the group passed him.
That suit, the lines in his sun-worn face, his words no one understood (for he was making no sense, as any speaker of Greek would have confirmed), the years and the changing of the seasons that he carried, the smell of Jasmine all around (against the stink of Diesel the fishing boats gave off), that sense of non-belonging despite the time that had elapsed — his almost-entire life spent in that same village, “population 155 off season” — that dogged will to depart and leave all that was before behind.
And where he’d got his suit from was a mystery for all.
Then more white wine, tzatziki and chicken souvlaki after horta for appetiser: the crew had fun and lost sight of the man in the harbour, as he, too, forgot that chance encounter with the strangers.
People that meant no more to him than the noise from the industrial refrigerator next to the wooden shed he called home.
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