I made a big mistake having a stopover in Athens on the way back to Australia after a holiday in the UK. Trouble was I had read the ads, saw the photos and marvelled at Greece’s ancient history. So I too wanted touch the past. Did I make a mistake! Perhaps I should have done that first at the start of the vacation. But I didn’t and with the wind rumpling my hair in the cold Attic wind staring at crumbling temples, listening to the prattling of the guides about the beliefs of the past as well as the boring tourists who I regretfully formed a part, just about drove me out of my mind. I was glad to board the plane home for the festive season with my family. Once in a while you have to splash out and I had invested in a business class round trip and that has spoilt me for any future travel abroad.
There was an empty seat by my side so I was pleased that I would not have the flicker of their screen all night as they watched some dumb movie while I was trying to sleep. Just as we were in the middle of the safety instructions a late passenger was escorted down the aisle. It was a rather disorganized young girl who tripped and stumbled her way along and then was directed to the window seat alongside me. She had virtually no hand luggage, just a large red leather handbag which presumably contained all she needed.
I nodded a hello, and settled back down again. She in her turn looked all around her, checked her seat controls and was about to recline her seat so I tried to dissuade her until after take off. She complied but grinned at me cheekily and said “So you are a Taurus too.” I nodded an agreement in puzzlement as the plane taxied out from the terminal.
“We’ve met before.” She said.
“We have?” I queried.
“You were looking at the temples weren’t you? I saw you at the Acropolis as well as Olympia.”
“Sorry, I never noticed you. Don’t you think the temple of Hera at Olympia was a little sad though, being so ruined, but at least it is there that they light the Olympic flame isn’t it? It is like a link with the past.”
“That bitch! They should have pulled the whole lot down.”
“Well that is what the gods were like, always fighting each other, luckily they doesn’t influence us anymore or at least I hope not.” I responded jokingly.
“That is what you think. Why do you think I am on this plane?”
At this point I thought I had better introduce myself. “I’m Robin, just going back home to Australia.” I held out my hand to shake hers. She looked a little doubtful but placed her hand in mine. I was electrified. What a fantastically beautiful hand it was. It fitted right into mine soft, warm and ridiculously sexy. I had never thought of hands as that sexy before. Pretty yes, but sexy?
I looked up into her eyes, they were smiling seductively. She clearly was thinking hard before she said anything else but then blurted out “Io” with a tiny shrug of her shoulders.
“From Iolanthe? Were your parents fond of Gilbert and Sullivan?”
“No, just Io.”
“Oh it’s a Greek name isn’t it? I am sorry I never though that you were Greek.”
“I am not, I am a Naiad.”
At this point, the stewardess came round with an offer of drinks. So while we were choosing our tipple, it suddenly dawned on me she was pulling my leg. I grinned back at her, quickly trying to remember my Greek mythology.
“Oh yes your Dad’s name was Inachus wasn’t it, can’t remember your mum’s name though.”
“Was it? Well you’re Greek you should know.”
“I am not Greek!’ She was getting a bit worked up again. “I am Arcadian.”
“Yes, right. So, you’re going to Australia?”
“Is that where we are going?”
“How did you get on this plane without knowing where you are going?”
“I followed you. It is all finished back there.” She gestured behind us and I naturally assumed she meant Greece, the Euro and the financial crisis.
“I had to choose someone that could help me. So you’re it. You will help me won’t you?”
Her smile was so seductive, and at that point she placed a hand on my thigh and looked at me with pleading eyes. I was electrified. I can’t mention what else was happening to me.
With my last fragment of sanity I said “You probably don’t need me at all.”
“You’re right,” she said removing her hand, “But I thought it might be fun with a younger man.”
“Io,” I stuttered, “I am over seventy. I am not a younger man.”
“How old do you think I am then?’” She replied flicking her ten fingers up at me what appeared to be hundreds of times, finishing with just four on the right hand. “It will work out.”
I don’t know why, but I had an uneasy feeling about this, she must be about 3500 years old. No, I forgot those last four fingers, make it 3504.