The Taygetos Mountains and Social Discord 

#taygetos #mistras #road-trip 

We set off early from Methoni. We actually had to sleep early Friday night for our 6 AM departure. It was me, Steve, Donna, Xena, and Pete. It was going to be about a 2-hour drive to get there before the touring would even begin. We had 2 destinations in general, but no agenda per se. 

Donna always slept at the same time as her parents, early. Maybe 11 PM or so. So she looked perky, spunky,  energetic, in her unmatching khaki shorts and striped black and white blouse. She had hair a bit longer than the average man. It was much shorter than mine. I was in my Eddie Van Halen phase at the time.  

Pete sat in the passenger’s seat next to Steve. To my left was Xena. A tall, slim, cute girl;always smiling and never a bad word to say. She and Donna were summer friends. They had already climbed the Taygetos peak 2 winters earlier.  Xena talked about it excitedly. Donna nodded and looked out the window. Xena was always informing me to her capacity. She’d have made a great tourist guide. Donna had very clear skin. Like a zitless teen boy. Or like the smooth butt of a toddler. She had a curl over her right eye. She avoided eye contact. I had to make sure I answered Xena when she asked me a question. 

“A bit quicker and less intrusively, ” Donna whispered in my ear.  She kept a straight face on. It took 30 minutes but Donna was finally satisfied. Xena was asleep with her head on my left shoulder. Pete shared his army stories. Steve played some  “amazing ” songs. All was well in the car. 

It was beautiful driving through roads like the ones above. More army stories. Music now down to an acid jazz lull. The clouds were really coming in. Pitch black. There would be no avoiding the rain. Donna woke up and sucked my ear. Xena was awoken by a sharp turn. We were almost at the most popular town of the twin peaks, the ancient fortified city and heritage site of Mystras. It was a beautiful place. We stopped at the kiosk in town and also picked up some tiropites because we were hungry. 

Xena took me to this view. The others were going through mazes nearby. The rain and height had cooled the temperature considerably. There were black clouds overhead. 

“Gothic, ” Xena said.

“Yes,” I agreed, “a veritable Scotland. 

“You’re very interesting. It’s the way you don’t say things. ”

“I see.”

“Do you? Do you see? What exactly do you see?”

“That I don’t say unnecessary things. I’m mysterious. ”

“Yes. Do you see that. ”

“No. You told me. ”

“I’ve always wanted to do it on that big rock there. We’ve got 15 minutes. ”

We proceeded. 

Xena had that love-afflicted schoolgirl look on her face. Donna noticed this as we traveled through some wilder areas. 

“Did you fuck her?” Donna asked. 


“I guess I win the bet. Look at her face. ”

“How did you know this would happen? ”

“Part of her neediness. I let her move in on my guys. But she doesn’t swing the other way. Then she has this desperation about her the rest of the day. Maybe she’ll even cry. But she asked me last night. She begged even. It’s like a drug. And I haven’t been able to find any underlying issues. No trauma. Great family. Just her lack of self-confidence, I guess.”

The result was having to hold both of the girls’hands and being nice with both of them without acting very familiar. 

“Don’t fuck with me. You guys can go ahead alone.” Xena proceeded to join the guys. 

All seemed well again on our back. It was like a script in Xena’s life had been played out again, I thought, looking at the beautiful mountains and valleys. We would all go home. Take a nap. Wake up. But it would just be the guys meeting that night. I’d find out later that Donna had been there that night for Xena. She comforted her. Yet she let her act out.  I didn’t know whether that was the right thing to do or not. 

My grandmother had sat me down about 20 years earlier and said, “things don’t need to be as they seem. They need to be. That is existence. But it is not our business how they really are. Sometimes you’ll see that not knowing is the best thing. ” She was speaking of my grandfather’s shortcomings, but it is something universal. In this rare case, ignorance would have been bliss. 

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