The island of Cyprus has always kept its secrets
Guilty words of little kids, sentences of the elder,
in sealed lips they were trapped of sovereign crowds.
The story we are about to tell took place in a Mesaoria village
but the wind that blew along
took it to all the island’s cape legs.
A mother and a father both in unity and agreement
Have kept their only daughter jailed
in their backyard
In an adjacent barn
This started when she was fourteen, indeed an innocent child
But she sincerely fell for the village’s most admired guy.
They eloped in secrecy to be together away of all
But it was no time until Eleni’s father caught her
And in one night from midnight to dawn he
-killed Sophocles with an axe-
-and beat Eleni to the brink of death-
-and locked her in the barn taking out the goats-
Eleni forgot everything from the same moment
They even say she suffered amnesia from the hits
And in the barn she knew nothing of who she was
Or why she was there,
Or of her soul’s torment.
The barn had been her little world, of hay for a nap
Of little food like beans and fried legumes
Of little light from a tiny window
and Bible tales from her mom.
There were no chains around her ankles,
No rinks around her wrists,
Just a half-kilo padlock outside the one metre door.
Window on the door and rust had been Eleni’s friends,
And as the rust was coming in, expanding on the inside,
“What are you?”
-But no answer-
She imagined a snug dust of hope.
the shimming smells of the carnations invading every morning
Were no friends of hers, as they disturbed her gothic fiction.
In her immaculate riddles she always answered back to the world outside
with her smell of the enclosure
Familiar smells, of mold, waste and ammonia.
-years had passed-
Than the priest started suspecting of all these twenty years later,
when all the neighbours knew
And all agreed -but one- that it was best for all
That she was kept inside.
Sophocles had a trusted friend
Who took an oath for revenge
And that Eleni would be free
To live and love somebody.
He was the one who made the priest suspect
When all the others had been tricking him
about all the smells and cries,
about the secrecy of 13, Acheloou Str.
With him the kids sometimes made up sounds
like the ones Eleni made
But they were always told off by their fathers
And so the story went on,
Until one day eleni heard a passing Caravan
Announcing a children’s play of three acts.
(In the barn, mother outside unlocking the door in difficulty, the padlock is very heavy)
Eleni: (weakly) Mum, is it you, mum?
Mother: Yes, hold on a second to get this lock down, if I break it your dad’s gonna kill us both!
Eleni: did you bring me food?
Eleni: and milk?
Eleni: what food?
Mother: it’s Friday. We fast.
Eleni: Mum, you know I don’t like beans.
Mother: You always eat them.
Eleni: I don’t like beans!
Mother: You always eat them and you never complain!
Eleni: I don’t like beans at all! (intensely) I hate them!
Mother: no you don’t! You don’t hate them! I watch you eat them every time with such passion!
Eleni: I heard something today…
Mother: What is it with you today?
Eleni: (repeating in internal tone and moving her head back and forth) I heard something today, I heard something today, I heard something today, I heard something today
Mother: Stop it! I don’t see you eat, I’ll go and get you some bread today, drink your milk and I’ll be right back
Eleni: I heard something today, (fading as the mother leaves) I heard something today…