Leaving youth

True stories from Greece in crisis

Dimitra Gkifa Jul 11. 2017
by Dimitra Gkifa

At my birthday’s eve, Stella told us she is leaving home.

Her face was shining from the joy that this prospective gave her. Her application had been accepted and she did well at the interview. Now, after four weeks on hold, she finally had a job. «It’s only few hours away from London by train. It won’t be so bad. We could go on a trip at the meantime.»

She was so excited. She loved England since she was a little child. 

I didn’t say anything. I knew only two things were happening at the moment. One, that all the doors abroad were closed for me since money needed to go there were a lot and I was unemployed. Two, Stella could go to the place that we were both dreaming of when we were younger, it was one of the reason that brought us closer together when we met. 

After that the crisis started.
We were university students, a phase we didn’t really understood. Four years went by, but crisis stayed. 
«I don’t know if you can realise that we cannot exactly fly to England just for a coffee break » Sotiris, the most reasonable of us, said.

That of course didn’t matter at all to Stella, who was still listening the bells of her glory. Everything about this job sounded perfect. It was at her field, she would have a place to stay, insurance and a salary that would get her by normally. Everything someone of our generation, who had plant for the future, would want. 
«Are you going to leave us here? » I asked after all.
«Come on, it’s for a year. It will pass before we notice it» Marios said.
A quite moment came as Stella took her time to answer.
«It has been discussed to expand my contract permanently» she said.

That’s what everybody did. They made you sign contract for a year and then they decided if they are going to keep you as a lasting associate. Most of the times they wouldn’t keep you. But if they did, means that you don’t have to worry, at least for the next years to come.
«So, there is a high chance of you living there? » 
«Yes. Isn’t it perfect? » Stella staid with the smile returning weak to her face.
«And are you going to leave our apartment? » I asked. I imagined the answer and it was not something that I could avoid. But a part of me wanted Stella to lie to me. 
«I cannot take it with me. But I’ll call you and you could come visit for 4 days or so »
«You know that we don’t have 1K per person to go on a trip wherever you are» I yelled. «Just leave and stop saying that all the time like it’s something that could actually happen! »

Stella did not answer. Then she left and went to her room, in the house she was soon leaving.
Marios went to the balcony to smoke. Sotiris started talking to me.
«You didn’t have to speak to her like that. You know she didn’t have a choice. » said calmly. 
«How is she going to leave us? Who is going to pay the rent? »
«Rent is not your problem. And you didn’t ask her if she cares» he said. 
«Why her? Why not me or anybody else? »
«Why not? Is the universe owning something to you? Cause she stole your dream? Can’t anyone have the same dream with yours and make them happen? » asked.
«No» I said.
«Then do something good for you both and tell her you are proud of her. She deserves it as she did the same effort as you»

I sat there thinking his words. I couldn’t force her to stay, it would be stupid and selfish. Then I went to talk to her. I didn’t want her to leave with the weight of our argument.
She was sitting on her bed with her hands crossed over her knees.
«You know, I said quietly, I’m not mad at you. I think you’ll do well».

Stella looked at me and she was almost smiling. She knew how hard it was for me to say sorry.

«I’ll miss you too» she said.

Photography: pexels

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