juno & athena

The Anastos sisters have always lived together. They were young women when the family came over from Cyprus in ’74, only intending to stay for as long as it took for the situation to stabilise. But one thing led to another – or didn’t – and now here they are, two elderly sisters sharing a house in the middle of town.
Twelfth night has gone now, but whether it’s because Juno hasn’t been well, or whether they’re always a little tardy taking the decorations down, still the Anastos’ Christmas window display burns on, out dazzling the lights of the five o’clock traffic splashing home past their window. It hurts to look at it, the haphazard religious figures, farmyard animals, 3D pictures of Padre Pio, all with radiation burns from the fairy lights.
‘That’s quite a display!’ I say as Athena opens the door.
‘Thank you! I think this year is our best. Come in! Come in! It’s Juno you want to see.’
And there she is, sitting on a pile of cushions on an old church pew.
‘How are you, Juno?’
She turns her palms up and glances at the ceiling.
‘Sorry to hear you haven’t been well,’ I say, starting to unpack my things. ‘Just fill me in a little, could you? I know you had a fall, but that’s about it.’
Juno starts to talk rapidly in Greek, and I look to Athena for help. They swap a huge volume of words, gesturing at each other, shaking their heads, tutting, sighing, straightening their skirts – until it passes and Athena looks at me again. ‘Her back hurts,’ she says.
‘Okay. And what are you taking for the pain?’
Juno shakes her head sadly and winces as she leans across to pull a bag of meds in my direction. Athena jumps up and takes it from her, cursing, swatting her hands away. Juno pinches her side. The two of them squabble and fight, and then Athena passes me the meds.
‘Here,’ she says.’
I smile at Juno, who sadly shakes her head.
I open the bag and poke around inside.
An assortment of meds, a couple for analgesia. There’s one I don’t recognise, though, and I make the mistake of pulling it out and showing it to Athena.
‘What’s this one for?’ I ask.
‘Okay!’ she says. ‘I’ll call Crystal. Crystal is at college. She’s a smart girl.’
‘Is she a pharmacist?’ But Athena is already too busy concentrating on the dial tone.
Juno sighs and rearranges her skirt.
The moment Crystal picks up, Athena launches into a monologue just as energised as the one she shared with Juno. I’m amazed Crystal doesn’t drop the phone, but instead she’s straight there, spelling out the name of the drug, and Googling it (some words I get). I want to tell Athena I could’ve done that, but it’s too late. After a few minutes of frantic debate, Athena suddenly hangs up.
‘Blood pressure,’ she says, tossing me back the packet.
Juno shakes her head, and presents her palms to heaven again.

2 thoughts on “juno & athena

  1. Handy to have the blood pressure tablets there Jim.For you,that is.I love the idea of a five minute Greek monologue followed by a two word answer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s