Eudoxia had forgotten he was coming and was surprised to see him as he walked through the garden to where she was chopping aubergines, but she had space and offered him Room 3 for 25 euros a night. Since it was a cash transaction he assumed he could do pretty much what he liked, so long as he cleaned up.
The lost ink roller had turned up the day before. It was lying behind the wall at the top of the old mule track. This steep path, connecting village to beach and tracing the side of the volcanic hill, is now intricately paved with wide marble steps that were ceremonially celebrated by the community when the final slab was laid in 1983. With the arrival of the cheap moped it’s become almost redundant. Lone figures slowly pass each other, struggling with the steady incline. The ruins of the Disco On The Rocks are at the halfway point, a languid and enticing reminder of this thoroughfare’s former place in the life of the island. He returned many times to where he’d last used the roller, just below the museum, searching amongst figs, ashes, leaves and ledges, confused and helpless. Developing an increasing intimacy with the sprawling fig tree, on one of these fruitless visits he sat, palms open, waiting for the fall, dozing off at the moment of the single drop of the day, which landed silently, bruising and bouncing, beginning its transformation from fig to festering organic matter, to join the putrid pungent mess in the dark recesses of the steps. Slow down, look down, watch your step. They will stick to your sandal shoes and ooze, disorient you and fill you with regret and longing, but they will resist making a mark on your expensive Zerkell paper, so don’t make any assumptions. They will not comply, mule fodder for absent donkeys or lonely children, fruits for finches no longer visiting, seeds to fry and chutney, dark and moist, then dry as parchment.