Lambros could no longer move as nimbly as he had years before when first coming to trust the young boy at the seawall. Yet, even as he aged, the snake was drawn out of his den the minute the stirring sounds of Loukas’s flute came to him on the drift of a gentle sea breeze.
As Loukas came within months of his eighteenth birthday, his features still held the same wide-eyed curiosity he had carried throughout his youth. Framed by a shock of tangly black hair, his face bore a perpetual tan. His green eyes were darker. These were eyes that glanced about for fear of missing out on whatever was happening within his line of vision.
Loukas was more likely to be found smiling shyly than frowning. While his short, thickset body stood firmly grounded, he always appeared restless and weightless, as though ready to spring into action the moment the need arose.
On the very day Loukas celebrated his eighteenth birthday, his mother and father announced that Thera, a young and beautiful seamstress, had gladly accepted Loukas’s offer to marry him.
Thera had a thick thatch of wavy blond hair and lightly lashed bright blue eyes. “Thera’s eyes,” Loukas told his friends, “are as blue as the sea.”
Thera often pulled her hair back from her face. She kept it in place behind her ears with a silver barrette inlaid with amber gemstones. The barrette was a gift from her grandmother.
Like her father, Thera was tall and slim. Like her mother, she had a pale complexion and long, thin fingers ideal for a seamstress’s work. From her mother, she had a nose with a straight bridge and narrow nostrils.
Islanders were drawn to Thera’s shop. They said she always treated her customers with respect, took special care in making and mending their clothes, and was known for putting a fair price on their finished pieces.
Thera loved music. Islanders passed by her shop, often stopping to listen to her singing songs that told of love and loss and forgiveness.
As it happened, Thera’s sister brought to Loukas’s family her mother and father’s approval of Thera’s marriage to Loukas. Her sister announced that the families would soon meet to issue a formal agreement as to the suitability of the couple’s union. They would discuss the terms and duration of the courtship. Thera’s dowry would be decided. The family the married couple would live with would be debated, and the village priest would be called upon to bless the union.
Dare I ask Lambros if someday soon I might invite Thera to the seawall and introduce her to my faithful friend? Loukas gave thought to what he might say the next time he came to the seawall to charm the snake.
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